AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (4 / 2014)

AfterDawn: News

Google unveils Docs, Sheets, Slides apps for iOS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2014 14:09

Google unveils Docs, Sheets, Slides apps for iOS Just a month after Microsoft launched their Office suite for iPad, Google has responded by releasing Google Docs and Google Sheets for iOS.

Until now, any productivity content you may have had was restricted to Google Drive or the Web browser, which were not overall great experiences. Additionally, Google's PowerPoint-equivalent Slides is "coming soon" but has not reached the App Store like its brothers.

Google has had dedicated apps for Android for some time.

Reads the release for Docs:

Create, edit & collaborate with others on documents from your iPod, iPhone, or iPad with the free Google Docs app.

With Google Docs you can:

-Create new documents or open and edit any that you started on the web or another device.
-Share documents and work together with others in the same document at the same time
-Get stuff done anytime–even without an internet connection
-Add and respond to comments
-Never worry about losing your work–everything is automatically saved as you type

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Novell loses antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft over word processing software

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2014 12:31

Novell loses antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft over word processing software The U.S. Supreme Court has sided with Microsoft in a case in which it was accused of antitrust practices nearly twenty years ago.

Novell, which once developed word-processing program WordPerfect, accused Microsoft of witholding key software components while building Windows 95, thus making it much harder for rivals to build software that could run smoothly on the operating system.

By doing so, WordPerfect had its development severely slowed, said Novell, causing Microsoft Word to move forward and become the dominate word processing program. Novell had claimed that Microsoft "made its own operating system less attractive to consumers in order to crush competition and protect its operating system monopoly."

The Supreme Court Justices rejected the appeal and did not make any comment.

Source:
Bloomberg




AfterDawn: News

Gamers already reporting issues and bugs with PlayStation 4 v1.70 firmware

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2014 11:51

Gamers already reporting issues and bugs with PlayStation 4 v1.70 firmware Last night, Sony released v1.70 firmware update for the PlayStation 4, adding numerous key features including HDCP disabling and the addition of ShareFactory.

Unfortunately, users have flocked to Reddit to note issues and bugs they are having with the update.

One Reddit user reported a black screen bug upon disabling HDCP. After disabling HDCP and launching SHAREfactory, the user wrote: "After playing around with a BF4 clip for a few minutes, and being quite impressed I realized I couldn't hear any sound. So I backed out, went to Amazon to quickly play some TV to check that sound was working (quicker than loading a game, or so I thought) and went straight to a black screen. Despite numerous reboots, I've since been unable to connect directly from PS4–>HDMI–>TV. I just get the black screen."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

DreamWorks CEO: In the future, movies will be priced by size of screen it's being viewed on

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2014 11:37

DreamWorks CEO: In the future, movies will be priced by size of screen it's being viewed on Jeffrey Katzenberg, CEO of DreamWorks Animation and longtime movie industry veteran, had a few interesting proposals for the future of movies.

Katzenberg says in the future, you will be able to pay for movies according to the size of the screen you want to watch them on. After a quick run in theaters, the exec says you will be able to purchase the movie or rent, depending on the display size. Says Katzenberg: "A movie screen will be $15. A 75-inch TV will be $4. A smartphone will be $1.99," for example.

Extended movie theater runs will no longer be necessary if the new model is adapted. "I think the model will change and you won't pay for the window of availability. A movie will come out and you will have 17 days, that's exactly three weekends, which is 95% of the revenue for 98% of movies," he explains.

As far as the future of the industry is concerned, the CEO admits that "movies are not a growth business" and that the whole industry will need to "reinvent the enterprise of movies" over the next decade.

Source:
Variety




AfterDawn: News

Office for iPad adds printing feature, more

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2014 11:19

Office for iPad adds printing feature, more Last month, Microsoft unveiled their suite of Office applications for iPads. The popular apps saw 12 million downloads in their first week.

Today, the software giant updated the apps, adding the ability to print along with some other improvements. Microsoft says printing was the top requested feature since launch.

Says Microsoft: "Your top request is here! You can now print Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations to an AirPrintTM printer. In Word for iPad, you can choose to print a document with or without markup. In Excel, print a selected range, a single worksheet or an entire spreadsheet. Of course, you can select the pages or slides you want to print."

Additionally, the company has added "SmartGuides" in PowerPoint to help align pictures, shapes, text and more within the slide. The update also fixes some bugs and improves overall performance.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Hulu to allow some TV shows for free on mobile devices without Plus subscription

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2014 11:05

Hulu to allow some TV shows for free on mobile devices without Plus subscription Hulu has announced that they will be opening up some content to free users via mobile devices.

Normally, you need to be a Hulu Plus subscriber at $8 per month to have access to Hulu on your mobile devices or TV. Otherwise, the shows and movies are available for free on desktops.

CEO Mike Hopkins says the free episodes will begin over the summer and will first be available to Android users, followed quickly by iOS with the release of a new iPhone app. Currently, free users can only access some clips via mobile devices but no full-length content.

The executive also noted that Hulu is still in negotiations with cable providers to integrate the service into their cable boxes, similar to what Netflix has done overseas and recently here in the U.S. with some small providers.

Finally, Hopkins boasted about Hulu Plus' growth, stating: "Hulu Plus is now accessible on more than 400 million internet-connected devices in the United States, including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Chromecast, and most recently, Amazon's new set-top box, Amazon Fire TV. After redesigning our living room devices such as Roku and Wii-U, we saw average-minutes-viewed increase by over 30%. And out of our tens of millions of viewers, there are 3000 unique ways Hulu viewers access content on Hulu and Hulu Plus (for example, I watch on my iPad and Apple TV)."




AfterDawn: News

Android Silver program to replace Nexus line of devices?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2014 10:46

Android Silver program to replace Nexus line of devices? According to multiple reports, Google has an "Android Silver" program in the pipeline, one that will replace their own Nexus devices.

OEMs invited to the Silver program will build reference devices (like the Nexus 5 and Google Play Edition devices) and the partnerships will be incentive-driven.

Reportedly, the incentives include indirect payments through marketing and in-store displays with trained Google employees. To be part of the program the devices must be as close to stock as possible, or potentially if there are apps pre-installed, that they can be uninstalled easily.

For consumers, this means that Android updates will come a lot quicker than current methods, where some smartphones and tablets needs months if not years to receive the latest Android operating system update. Additionally, Google is said to be spearheading hardware advancements, as well, including better water proofing, better voice recognition and improved display resolutions.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

It's official: Sprint reveals partnership with Spotify including six free months of streaming service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2014 0:10

It's official: Sprint reveals partnership with Spotify including six free months of streaming service Sprint has officially announced a partnership with Spotify for its Framily plan customers, as leaked two weeks ago.

The carrier is offering six free months of Spotify for its Framily plan customers, followed by a $7.99 monthly price (compared to $9.99) if your plan has one to five lines attached. If you have over 5 lines, the price is $4.99, a nice fifty percent discount.

Spotify CEO Daniel Ek noted the obvious, calling the partnership the "biggest deal we've ever made." The executive confirmed that Sprint customers will get the deal starting on May 9th.

Spotify has 8 million subscribers around the globe, and Sprint has 54 million subscribers, making it the third largest carrier in the nation.




AfterDawn: News

'To Kill a Mockingbird' finally goes digital, officially

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2014 23:53

'To Kill a Mockingbird' finally goes digital, officially Harper Lee, author behind the literary classic "To Kill a Mockingbird," has finally made the book available digitally through legitimate channels.

"I'm still old-fashioned. I love dusty old books and libraries," Lee said on the eve of her 88th birthday. "This is Mockingbird for a new generation."

The classic book, written in 1960, follows the relationships of a Southern white attorney as he defends a black man accused of rape in the 1930s. The book is one of the top selling of all time, having moved over 30 million copies in English alone. The book is now available in over 40 languages.

Both an ebook and digital audio companion will be released on July 8th.

Source:
CNN




AfterDawn: News

LG G Watch gets price, release date

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2014 23:29

LG G Watch gets price, release date LG's upcoming G Watch smartwatch has finally been given a release date and price, at least for the European markets.

The watch will be the first to the commercial market using Google's Android Wear operating system for wearables when it hits in June. The watch has been priced at €199 for Europe, with an expected $199 price tag for the U.S., as well.

LG's new endeavor features a rectangular face, a 1.65-inch screen and 4GB internal storage.

Among the specs and features we know about is the fact that the device will have an "always-on" screen, will be dust and water proof and will be available in both black and champagne gold.

Android Wear, introduced by Google earlier this year, is built around the Google Now user interface and includes access to Google Maps and built-in voice controls.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Xbox One headed to China in September

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2014 23:04

Xbox One headed to China in September For the last decade China has had an inexcusable ban on consoles, but that ban was finally lifted in January, paving the way for Nintendo, Microsoft and Sony to get into the nation and access its massive population.

It appears that Microsoft may have the first major console to reach China since 2000, with the company expected to begin selling the Xbox One in September thanks to a partnership with Chinese company BesTV.

By joining up with BesTV, Microsoft is ensuring that that all compliance requirements are hit and that the consoles are produced in the Shanghai free trade zone.

An official announcement is expected tomorrow, but the media spoiled the surprise today. Microsoft executive Yusef Mehdi says the Xbox One will offer "an amazing array of experiences for gamers in China."


Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Firefox 29 has a new look, improved Sync feature

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Apr 2014 8:33

Firefox 29 has a new look, improved Sync feature Mozilla has released Firefox 29.0 for Desktop PCs, packing a new UI look, a new menu and a new improved Firefox Sync feature.

The new interface is definitely easy on the eyes, particularly how the open tab is more prominent at the top of the screen while background tabs fade. The old Firefox button has disappeared and has been replaced with a new menu button, like that seen in Google's Chrome browser.

When you click the button in Chrome, you get a text drop-list of options you can click, but Firefox 29.0 goes a step further with a new improved menu that includes icons you can click.

Also on the menu is an option to Sign in to Sync. Mozilla has improved the Sync feature by making it account-based so you can now easily retain all of your settings, bookmarks, history and also sync tabs across PCs and other devices.

Under the hood, Mozilla has finalized and enabled the GamePad API which it has been working on since Firefox 24. The GamePad API will make it possible to control games within Firefox using a proper controller.

You can download Firefox 29.0 FINAL for Windows from AfterDawn now.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Netflix inks deal with Verizon, should improve streaming for subscribers

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Apr 2014 7:46

Netflix inks deal with Verizon, should improve streaming for subscribers Netflix has signed a deal with Verizon to pay for direct access to its network, easing congestion concerns and improving quality and performance for subscribers.

The deal is very similar to the one stuck between Netflix and Comcast recently. It means Netflix will pay Verizon for direct access to its broadband networks, avoiding more congested routes that can lower the quality of service for Netflix users trying to stream films and TV shows.

Such deals are signed by Netflix reluctantly, and the service still maintains it is not its responsibility to pay for bandwidth usage of broadband provider's customers. In the past, Netflix has even offered to pay for equipment to help deliver videos more efficiently but broadband companies want them simply to pay for prioritized access.

Verizon, Comcast and others say that Netflix puts considerable strain on the "last mile" connections to customers' homes. This has been growing problem as bandwidth usage in the United States increases with more digital content delivery services being used, and that leaves open the question of who is responsible for paying for necessary upgrades.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Windows XP risk highlighted by serious Internet Explorer flaw

Written by James Delahunty @ 29 Apr 2014 6:43

Windows XP risk highlighted by serious Internet Explorer flaw The revelation of a vulnerability affecting all supported versions of Internet Explorer this week highlights the risks of continuing to run Windows XP without Microsoft's support behind it.

Earlier this month, Microsoft finally ended support for the Windows XP operating system after close to 13 years since it was first released. Coming up to that date, the Redmond-based giant persistently warned users clinging to the OS that it will be become far more risky to keep running Windows XP going forward.

Many home users, and even corporate/governmental networks still run Windows XP on systems. The UK government even paid Microsoft millions to provide extended support to avoid upgrading thousands of PCs that still run XP. For consumers and most businesses running XP though, there is no extended support.

This week, Microsoft has revealed a major vulnerability in Internet Explorer affecting all supported versions across all client operating systems, and didn't rule out an out-of-cycle update to fix the problem. Such an update is likely to be released with reports of the vulnerability being exploited in the wild, and with Patch Tuesday still a couple of weeks away.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft confirms exclusive 'Xbox Originals' programming coming in June

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2014 1:08

Microsoft confirms exclusive 'Xbox Originals' programming coming in June As expected, Microsoft has announced original content for the Xbox, including what the software giant calls "premium dramas, comedies, documentaries, animation, unscripted shows, and live events."

Dubbed Xbox Originals, the content is available only on Microsoft devices including the Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Besides the Ridley Scott/Steven Spielberg 'Halo' project, there will be original programming about international street soccer, robotic servants, and the previously reported documentary about the discarded Atari games recently unearthed in a landfill.

"We are developing premium, original content for the Xbox community which is an audience we are incredibly respectful of," said Nancy Tellem, President of Xbox Entertainment Studios. "We believe Xbox Originals should embrace the way our fans think about traditional TV."

"Microsoft has a long and rich legacy in the content business," added Jordan Levin, Executive Vice President of Xbox Entertainment Studios. "Games have been part of our DNA for at least the last 15 years, and creating original TV content is a logical next step in our evolution."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Angry Birds maker Rovio sees profits fall by 50 percent

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Apr 2014 23:57

Angry Birds maker Rovio sees profits fall by 50 percent Rovio, the gaming company behind the blockbuster Angry Birds series, saw its profits fall almost 50 percent in 2013, on Rovio that barely grew.

The Finnish gaming co. had $215.9 million in revenue for 2013, just 2.5 percent higher than the $210.6 million in sales it saw for 2012.

Profits collapsed to $37.3 million from $76.8 million in 2012 almost entirely due to having 800 employees compared to 500 the year before.

Rovio collects most of its revenue from sales of the games and merchandising and licensing of their characters into toys and cards and more. Additionally, the company has an animation studio and is working on TV shows and a film.

Here's an interesting look at some other casual gaming hit makers, all from Nordic nations:




AfterDawn: News

Yahoo announces TV length online original programming

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Apr 2014 23:33

Yahoo announces TV length online original programming Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has announced the company's first full-length original programming, two comedies that will play exclusively via its portal and mobile apps.

The move will instantly give Yahoo a few very powerful rivals including Netflix, Microsoft, Amazon, HBO and Hulu, all of which now offer original (and sometimes expensive) content.

In addition, Yahoo has partnered with Live Nation (the U.S.' second-largest concert promoter), in which Yahoo will stream one live concert every day for the next year.

"Users expect online content to be as good as, if not better than, TV," Mayer added. The company has also committed to digital magazines. The first comedy is called "Other Space" and features the 'adventures of a misfit spaceship crew in an alternate universe.' The other show, "Sin City Saints," takes place in the front office of a "fictional pro basketball expansion team owned by a Silicon Valley billionaire."

Yahoo has 800 million monthly visitors and a large advertising budget so it is not a stretch to believe the company can have decent success if the shows are actually good.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Disney tried to buy BuzzFeed, but the Web co. wanted $1 billion

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Apr 2014 22:46

Disney tried to buy BuzzFeed, but the Web co. wanted $1 billion According to sources, Disney tried to acquire online content provider BuzzFeed but was rebuffed over price, with BuzzFeed seeking over $1 billion.

The valuation is higher than anything previously reported on, with the company last raising venture capital funds at the beginning of 2013 at a valuation of just over $200 million.

Disney normally acquires intellectual property that can then be exploited in TV, gaming, animation, theme parks and toys. Recently, however, the company has expanded into other types of content, most recently purchasing video network and YouTube star Maker Studios for $500 million plus incentives.

BuzzFeed certainly gets eyeballs, at 85 million monthly uniques, and the company recently became profitable while expecting over $120 million in revenue in 2014. It is not clear if those types of numbers warrant a 10-figure buyout, however.

Source:
Tech Fortune




AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry Z3 finally up for sale, full specs revealed

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Apr 2014 21:59

BlackBerry Z3 finally up for sale, full specs revealed BlackBerry has finally put their Z3 smartphone up for sale in Indonesia, after unveiling it at the Mobile World Congress earlier this year.

The device is available through carriers Indosat and XL, with a launch date of May 13.

Z3s have a 5-inch 540 x 960 display, a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 processor, 1.5GB RAM, 8GB internal storage and dual 5MP/1.1MP cameras with a 2500mAh battery.

Those low end specs come with a low price, as well, at IDR 2,199,000 (about $190).

The fully touch design will run on BlackBerry OS 10.2.1.

Source:
GSMArena




AfterDawn: News

Kantar: Windows Phone continues gains in Europe

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Apr 2014 21:10

Kantar: Windows Phone continues gains in Europe Global research firm Kantar Worldpanel has released their quarterly smartphone market share report this week, showing some interesting trends once again in the industry.

Most of the more interesting data came via the European markets, which Kantar defines as the EU5 of Spain, Italy, France, Germany and the UK.

For the EU5, Windows Phone saw continued growth, up to 8.1 percent share for the quarter ended March 31st 2014 from 6.5 percent for the same period in 2013.

Android remained king, at 70.7 percent, followed by iOS at 19.2 percent. BlackBerry and all other operating systems have almost disappeared, down to just 2 percent of overall market share.

Windows Phone had its biggest share in Italy, at 13.9 percent share. Spain had the largest Android population, at an astonishing 88.6 percent, although that figure was down significantly from the 93.7 percent share it controlled in 2013.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Lenovo unveils ThinkPad 10

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Apr 2014 21:50

Lenovo unveils ThinkPad 10 Lenovo has a new addition to their ThinkPad line of tablets, a 10-inch device aptly named the ThinkPad 10.

Under the hood is a 1.6GHz quad-core Atom processor with 2GB RAM, and the display has a nice 1,920 x 1,200 resolution. The device will have 64GB internal storage and dual 2MP/8MP cameras. The tablet has a 33Whr battery with 10 hours claimed life. An active digitizer is native and there is support for digital pens. Connectivity includes Bluetooth 4.0, a mini HDMI port, 4G LTE, NFC and Wi-Fi 802.11n.

When it launches, only a Windows 8.1 32-bit model will be available, but a Pro 64-bit model will be available later in the year. Additionally, a 128GB model with 4GB will also be available later in the year.

As with most Windows tablets, Microsoft Office Home & Student 2013 will come pre-loaded.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Chinese government orders web sites to stop streaming 'Big Bang Theory,' others

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Apr 2014 21:26

Chinese government orders web sites to stop streaming 'Big Bang Theory,' others The Chinese government has demanded large streaming sites in the nation stop streaming popular American TV shows including "The Big Bang Theory."

Among the other shows are "The Good Wife," "NCIS" and "The Practice."

A spokesperson for major video site Youku confirmed the demands, although the Chinese State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television did not give a reason for the order.

Sites like Youku, Sohu, Tencent and others started with roots in piracy and YouTube-esque clips, but have expanded to include domestic and international licensed movies and TV.

Many are free to watch with ads, but it appears the government may not necessarily approve of the content.

Source:
Yahoo




AfterDawn: News

Here is the awesome interactive trailer for the upcoming Evolve video game

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Apr 2014 21:07

Here is the awesome interactive trailer for the upcoming Evolve video game Turtle Rock Studios has released an awesome interactive trailer for their upcoming cooperative shooter, Evolve, using YouTube.

Making the clip interesting is that it follows four players in their quest to defeat a massive monster, and you can switch between the player's perspectives using YouTube's annotations feature.

The video isn't short at 52 minutes, but certainly worth trying out.

Check it here:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sorry Apple: ComiXology updates iOS app removing in-app purchases

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Apr 2014 20:37

Sorry Apple: ComiXology updates iOS app removing in-app purchases Comixology, the popular comic book reader and store app recently purchased by Amazon, has updated the iOS app to remove the ability for in-app purchases.

The app will serve only as a reader now, and you will have to head to the company's website to purchase new ones. Free comics and the ability to browse within the app are still functional, as well. You can add books you want to a watch list to make purchases at home easier.

Says the company: "As we move to complete the acquisition with Amazon, we are shifting to the web-based purchasing model they've successfully used with the Kindle, which we expect will allow us to strike the best balance between prices, selection and customer experience.

There are many advantages to shopping at comiXology.com. Because of the content restrictions our mobile partners have, shopping on the web provides even greater selection of comic books and graphic novels. iOS customers will now be able to save money with comiXology's exclusive web-only Bundles, take advantage of Subscription features and enjoy eGift Cards. We also made our website more tablet/mobile friendly on all devices to make the purchasing process that much easier. And in Safari on iOS, customers can easily save a shortcut to our webstore with the "Add to Home Screen" feature.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

RadiumOne CEO fired after conviction for battery, domestic violence

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Apr 2014 19:56

RadiumOne CEO fired after conviction for battery, domestic violence One of the top stories of the week has been the story of RadiumOne founder and CEO Gurbasksh Chahal, who was accused of hitting his girlfriend 117 times, with a security video seemingly proving that case.

This weekend, the board of directors has fired the longtime executive, replacing him with current COO Bill Lonergan. The board did not cite a reason for the termination, but it is most likely due to Chahal's conviction for battery and domestic violence.

The move comes at a perilous time for the advertising tech company which is planning to raise $100 million and go public this year. RadiumOne builds software that automates media buying, making big data actionable for digital marketers.

Sources claim the board took so long to make a decision due to Chahal's massive stake, control and power within the company and the legal complexity of the move. It was even unclear if the board could fire Chahal.

Chahal wrote an aggressive blog post defending himself earlier in the weekend. You can read that here.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft confirms massive Internet Explorer vulnerability, hundreds of millions at risk

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Apr 2014 19:27

Microsoft confirms massive Internet Explorer vulnerability, hundreds of millions at risk Microsoft has confirmed a zero-day vulnerability that has put a large portion of the world's computer users at risk.

The exploit affects Internet Explorer 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11.

Microsoft explains that "the vulnerability is a remote code execution vulnerability. The vulnerability exists in the way that Internet Explorer accesses an object in memory that has been deleted or has not been properly allocated. The vulnerability may corrupt memory in a way that could allow an attacker to execute arbitrary code in the context of the current user within Internet Explorer. An attacker could host a specially crafted website that is designed to exploit this vulnerability through Internet Explorer and then convince a user to view the website."

The software giant is preparing a patch and it is so critical that it could be provided out-of-cycle.

Internet Explorer is used by about 55 percent of the world as their preferred browser, leavings hundreds of millions vulnerable.

Read more here: Vulnerability in Internet Explorer Could Allow Remote Code Execution




AfterDawn: News

Spotify adding users at brisk pace in UK

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Apr 2014 0:52

Spotify adding users at brisk pace in UK Streaming music giant Spotify has announced it is adding users in the UK at a very brisk pace.

In the UK alone, the company added 1 million active users since the beginning of the year, and executives believe they can surpass iTunes as the largest digital music service in Europe before the year is out.

"Some of our partners are saying Spotify is now generating more revenue each month across Continental Europe than iTunes," Spotify's head of label relations in Europe, Kevin Brown, said. "Given that download sales are declining and Spotify is growing rapidly, particularly in the UK, it is only a matter of time before Spotify is bigger than iTunes across Europe as a whole."

As far as revenue is concerned, Brown says a "significant" portion of the 1 million users in the UK are paying subscribers, either to the unlimited ad-free premium Web service or the full premier account that offers mobile access, as well. A lot of the growth came via a marketing partnerships with Vodafone and the Sunday Times.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Chart of the Day: A great look into how Apple and Google became a smartphone duopoly

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 17:36

Chart of the Day: A great look into how Apple and Google became a smartphone duopoly PayPal president David Marcus posted a great chart today via his Twitter feed that we feel deserved a little more attention.

Via comScore MobiLens, the chart shows off the market share for the top mobile operating systems in the U.S. beginning in 2005 and ending at the end of last year. The chart effectively shows how a fragmented and diverse market slowly but surely became a duopoly entirely populated by Apple and Google.

Additionally, the chart shows the rise and fall of BlackBerry, the once immensely popular Canadian smartphone maker that has now all but left the consumer handset market. The now defunct Palm is also prominently displayed, as is Nokia's one-time hit Symbian operating system. Nokia killed off the OS a few years ago and their hardware fate is now in the hands of new owner Microsoft.

By the end 2005, Palm was the proud owner of 30 percent market share of the fledgling smartphone market, followed by BlackBerry and Symbian each at 25 percent and Microsoft's original mobile OS Windows Mobile controlling the remaining 20 percent.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony makes Xperia Z2 available in U.S., but only through their own online store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 17:13

Sony makes Xperia Z2 available in U.S., but only through their own online store Sony's latest flagship still does not have any carrier support.

The Xperia Z2, Sony's new and powerful smartphone, is headed to the U.S., but you will have to get it unlocked and directly through the company. In fact, there isn't expected to be carrier support "in the near future," confirms the company.

Compared to their Z1, the display of the flagship has been increased to 5.2 inches, with the same 1080p resolution. The new IPS Triluminos X-Reality display has Sony's new Live Color LEDs, which the company says offers the widest color gamut on the market.

Internals have been improved significantly, as well, to a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon processor, 3GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, a microSD slot, Android 4.4.2, IPX5 and IPX8 waterproof/dustproof certification and new stereo speakers.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google's hotel and restaurant search integrated to Android

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 16:37

Google's hotel and restaurant search integrated to Android Google has updated its search engine for Android, better integrating the company's hotel and restaurant search features.

For example, typing or using voice to ask questions like "show me restaurants in New York City" should lead to a list of restaurants near you.

The move follows Google's integration of flight search into its voice search for PCs and Android.

So far, the search features work reasonably well, and will place higher rated hotels and restaurants up near the top of results.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Urban legend confirmed as E.T. Atari games are exhumed

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Apr 2014 15:53

Urban legend confirmed as E.T. Atari games are exhumed After lying buried for 30 years, a documentary film crew has dug up copies of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial for Atari 2600 from an Alamogordo, New Mexico landfill.

The 1982 E.T. title was developed for the Atari 2600 games console and is considered to be one of the biggest commercial failures ever in the video games industry, and one of the worst video games of all time. The game itself was developed in only a matter of weeks after the rights were secured in order to be available for sale during the busy holiday season.

Atari suffered massive financial losses during the next two years and E.T. The Extra Terrestrial has been cited as a major source of those losses, and for contributing to an industry slump throughout 1983.

For the past 30 years, it was understood throughout the industry that millions of copies of the failed game were buried in a landfill in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and later covered over with concrete. In 2013, plans were revealed to dig up this piece of video games history.

Today, those copies of that terrible video game have finally seen light again. Fuel Entertainment (the documentary crew), Xbox Entertainment Studios and LightBox Entertainment were given permission to excavate the site several weeks ago, and that digging is currently underway.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to distribute AOL videos

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 15:26

Microsoft to distribute AOL videos Microsoft and AOL have announced a new pact in which the software giant will distribute many of AOL's videos via some of their Web properties.

All videos in AOL's library are included, including home grown clips from Huffington Post and TechCrunch, as well as videos being distributed through other content makers, such as clips from TMZ and ESPN.

Among the properties making the videos available are the MSN Web portal, and the Bing apps on Windows Phone devices. Microsoft gets to keep 50 percent of ad revenue, and will sell the ads for the videos.

The MSN portal has a large reach, with over 450 million users accessing it. Microsoft continues to reach for premium content to engage its audience better, and the deal for AOL is a no-brainer following their similar deal with YouTube.

Source:
re/code




AfterDawn: News

Netflix now available directly via cable box from a few small cable companies

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 13:49

Netflix now available directly via cable box from a few small cable companies Netflix has announced that its streaming service will be available via the cable boxes of Atlantic Broadband, Grande Communications and RCN subscribers.

If you have a TiVo DVR from one of those companies, starting on Monday you will be able to access the streaming service through your TV without the need for an extra device or downloaded app. Of course, you will need a Netflix subscription, as well, which is $7.99 per month currently and eventually will increase to $8.99.

The cable companies are small, but the deals mirror similar pacts Netflix has in Europe.

"Now, watching Netflix is as easy as changing the channel," said David Isenberg, chief marketing and strategy officer, Atlantic Broadband. "The ever-expanding selection of titles on Netflix is a tremendous complement to Atlantic Broadband's existing portfolio of Live TV, HD channels and On Demand programming. Integrating the world's leading Internet TV network with the world's best DVR platform underscores our commitment to delivering customers what they want – instantly."

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AfterDawn: News

Mandatory PlayStation 4 update 1.70 coming April 30th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 13:09

Mandatory PlayStation 4 update 1.70 coming April 30th Sony has confirmed that mandatory PlayStation 4 firmware update 1.70 will be released on April 30th.

1.70 will add the ShareFactory video editing app and also will give gamers the ability to disable HDCP video signal copyright protection, a highly anticipated move.

ShareFactory allows gamers to add audio, filters and more to their gaming and other videos.

In addition, the update will let users save screenshots, photos and videos to USB drives.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to unveil at least two new original shows for Xbox next week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 12:43

Microsoft to unveil at least two new original shows for Xbox next week According to sources, Microsoft will unveil at least two new original programs that will be exclusive to the Xbox.

Besides the previously announced Halo series, the company is working on a reality series about soccer players and a documentary about the alleged landfill that holds millions of discarded E.T. games for the Atari 2600.

Microsoft needs original programming if it hopes to differentiate its streaming services from major rivals. Netflix has spent hundreds of millions on hit original shows like 'Orange is the New Black' and 'House of Cards' and Amazon recently launched their first original program 'Alpha House' along with an exclusive deal for older HBO content. Hulu Plus has a number of exclusive original shows, as well, although of a less splashier variety.

The software giant first announced its own content 19 months ago, but so far has nothing to show for it. There is not even a true business model or strategy in place, say the sources, and it is unclear whether the content will be packaged as part of the Xbox Live subscription or if it will be separate.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google buys communications technology patents from Foxconn

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 11:27

Google buys communications technology patents from Foxconn Foxconn has confirmed the sale of numerous communications technology patents to Google, although figures were not disclosed.

The major Taiwanese manufacturer is well known for building the most popular devices in the world, including the iPhone, iPad and Sony PlayStation consoles. Less known about Hon Hai (the parent of Foxconn), is its significant patent portfolio, which is now above 64,000.

Google, another one of the world's largest patent holders, is always in the market to bolster their portfolio, especially from ongoing legislation from other giants like Microsoft and Apple. The search giant purchased head-mounted display patents from Foxconn last year, and has a good business relationship.

As part of their press release, Foxconn says it will continue to invest in R&D and "transforming such investments into valuable intellectual property assets."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Why the FCC's net neutrality plan is under fire

Written by James Delahunty @ 26 Apr 2014 10:02

Why the FCC's net neutrality plan is under fire The FCC has come under fire this past week with the emergence of proposals to allow Internet Service Providers to charge fees for access to 'fast lanes' on their networks.

It was as recent as December 2010 when the FCC put forth its proposals to preserve the free and open Internet by way of regulation that would, undoubtedly, nip any such two-speed system in the bud. U.S. service providers would like to be able to charge bandwidth-hungry services like Netflix to provide them with prioritized access to their network's users, and it seems that until now the FCC has been completely opposed to such access fees.

The FCC's Open Internet Order, dated December 23, 2010, spells out three basic rules which were Transparency, No blocking, and No unreasonable discrimination.

"Fixed broadband providers may not unreasonably discriminate in transmitting lawful network traffic," it reads.

The key word may be "unreasonably", but later on in the same document, the FCC makes clear its disagreement with the main arguments in favor of paid prioritization (e.g. that third party paid prioritization would aid network investment, while regulating against it would hurt investment) and states that, "it is unlikely that pay for priority would satisfy the 'no unreasonable discrimination' standard."

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AfterDawn: News

Is Netflix investing in massive scale P2P technology?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 9:41

Is Netflix investing in massive scale P2P technology? Netflix appears to be hiring an engineer to help the company at least begin testing using a massive scale peer-to-peer (P2P) architecture for streaming video.

The senior software engineer would be working on Netflix's Open Connect content delivery network and helping to explore the P2P route.

Reads the job posting: "Netflix seeks a seasoned Senior Software Engineer with a special focus in peer-to-peer networks. Duties include: Research and architecture of large-scale peer-to-peer network technology as applicable to Netflix streaming. Liaise with internal client and toolkit teams to integrate P2P as an additional delivery mechanism. Design and develop tools for the operation of peer-to-peer enabled clients in a production environment. The successful applicant is required to have 'At least five years of relevant experience with development and testing of large-scale peer-to-peer systems.' Preferred qualifications include 'Knowledge of and proven experience with P2P, CDN/HTTP cache/proxy technology.'

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sorry, privacy fans: Hulu now blocking VPN users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Apr 2014 0:36

Sorry, privacy fans: Hulu now blocking VPN users The streaming video service Hulu has begun blocking users accessing the site through VPNs in an effort to block international users from seeing videos available only in the U.S.

As of this weekend, VPN users, including Americans trying to access the Web legitimately, will receive an error message.

The message reads: "Based on your IP-address, we noticed that you are trying to access Hulu through an anonymous proxy tool. Hulu is not currently available outside the U.S. If you're in the U.S. you'll need to disable your anonymizer to access videos on Hulu,"

Hulu's updated blocklist covers a huge range IPs from of all major VPN providers.

While such a move makes sense for Hulu and other streaming companies that do not want give unlicensed access to domestic shows, American users have rightful complaints as many are using the VPN to browse more securely, and not to see unauthorized content.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple will fix your faulty iPhone 5 sleep button

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Apr 2014 23:26

Apple will fix your faulty iPhone 5 sleep button Apple has launched a new replacement program for users that have an iPhone 5 with a faulty sleep/wake button.

Says the company: "Apple today launched a program to replace the sleep/wake button on a small percentage of iPhone 5 models where the button may stop working or work intermittently. Apple will offer the service free of charge to iPhone 5 customers with models that exhibit this issue and have a qualifying serial number."

In addition, Apple revealed a new Web site with details on how to get your device fixed, if you are one of the few unlucky ones.

Apple noted that this is free even if the phone is out of warranty.

Source:
The Loop




AfterDawn: News

HTC's head of design latest executive to leave company

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Apr 2014 22:57

HTC's head of design latest executive to leave company Another key executive has left the struggling Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC.

Scott Croyle, the company's head of design for the One smartphone line, will be leaving to build his own projects. HTC says the move will be a "long-term transition" where the exec will still stay involved with product design over the coming months.

"HTC remains at the forefront of smartphone innovation. Scott Croyle will be focusing on special projects and dedicated on next generation developments," adds the company.

The day to day responsibilities will likely fall to lieutenant Jonah Becker and the company also promoted Drew Bamford to head of HTC software and services. The executive was previously head of the Sense user experience.

"Drew Bamford is an experienced and talented leader at HTC with solid track records in leading and building our user experience team. Effective immediately, in addition to his current duties in product development and user experience, Drew will lead HTC Creative Labs and focus on innovative new products and user experience strategies," read an emailed statement from HTC.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe settle over wages scandal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Apr 2014 21:52

Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe settle over wages scandal Tech giants Apple, Google, Intel and Adobe have settled and will pay $324 million over accusations that the companies conspired to keep wages/salaries down in Silicon Valley.

Had the companies not settled, a trial would have begun next month and damages could have potentially been higher.

The class action lawsuit was filed in 2011 by tech employees who accused the companies of conspiring to "refrain from soliciting one another's employees" in order to keep salaries down and avoid bidding wars that would have raised wages.

In the suit, the plaintiffs were seeking $3 billion in damages, and that figure could have ballooned to $9 billion if it was determined that the group violated antitrust law.

The case was based mainly on emails from Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt and others that revealed the companies would not court employees from rivals. One such example showed that a Google recruiter tried to solicit an Apple employee and former Google CEO Schmidt told Jobs the recruiter would then be fired. Many of the emails were even worse.

A settlement helps the companies avoid an embarrassing jury trial in which the executives would certainly look unsympathetic. The class action is on behalf of 64,000 workers.




AfterDawn: News

Porn streaming set-top FyreTV maker sues Amazon over FireTV trademark

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Apr 2014 19:50

Porn streaming set-top FyreTV maker sues Amazon over FireTV trademark In 2008, WREAL LLC created a porn streaming set-top box called the FyreTV, along with a dedicated website at FyreTV.com.

This week, the company has sued Amazon for five counts of alleged trademark infringement, following the release of the new Fire TV set-top media streamer. The company claims the trademarks were registered six years before Amazon unveiled their new hardware.

Almost comically, the company's court documents claim that "Amazon's continued use of the "Fire TV" moniker has caused, and will continue to cause, serious irreparable harm to Wreal's established business, necessitating this action."

In their complaint, WREAL claims both products are identical (for the most part) and that the "FireTV is nothing more than a proprietary STB that performs a substantially similar, if not identical, function to the proprietary STB marketed under the FyreTV trademark."

Currently, FireTV.com redirects to FyreTV.com, so there are likely some consumers who have been unwittingly led to a porn-based site when looking for more information about Amazon's set-top. The market for the original FyreTV is likely non-existent, and the hype from Amazon may have possibly even helped bring awareness to the porn box.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy S5 hit with 'Camera Failed' flaw

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Apr 2014 15:58

Samsung Galaxy S5 hit with 'Camera Failed' flaw Unlucky owners of Samsung's shiny new Galaxy S5 have reported a major problem with the device, which renders the 16 megapixel camera disabled.

As usual, the first reports of the flaw emerged on Internet forums and social media and all seem to be the same story, including a message being displayed on the device reading: "Warning: Camera Failed." After receiving the error, the Galaxy S5 camera is disabled permanently. DIY solutions, such as flashing new software, have failed to fix the problem.

Owners have been taking their phones back to stores and have, in cases, received replacement devices to rectify the problem.

"Samsung is committed to providing the best experience for customers. We have learned that a limited number of Galaxy S 5 devices may have an issue that causes 'Camera Failure' pop-up error message. We ask that customers affected call 1-888-987-4357 or visit their carrier for service under Samsung's standard limited warranty," Samsung said in a statement obtained by Droid-Life.

Verizon Wireless has acknowledged the issue and urged affected customers to get in touch.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Facebook buys 'Moves' fitness app

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Apr 2014 9:28

Facebook buys 'Moves' fitness app Facebook has acquired the popular Moves fitness app for iOS and Android, according to developer ProtoGeo Oy.

Moves tracks your physical activity throughout the day, telling you how many steps you have taken, how many minutes you cycled for and how far you ran, and so forth. It is intended to offer a clean activity diary, and has been downloaded over four million time.

"We're joining Facebook's talented team to work on building and improving their products and services with a shared mission of supporting simple, efficient tools for more than a billion people," a blog post on the Moves app website reads.

It promises users that the Moves experience will not be changed and will continue to operate as a stand-along app.

As of now, there are no plans to change that stance of commingle data with Facebook.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft snaps up Nokia's devices and services business

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Apr 2014 9:07

Microsoft snaps up Nokia's devices and services business Satya Nadella welcomes the Nokia Devices and Services business to the Microsoft family as the multi-billion deal announced in September 2013 is completed.

Nokia shareholders had previously given the nod of approval to the deal, and regulatory bodies around the world also signed off on it. Stephen Elop, who served as President and CEO of Nokia, is the executive vice president of Microsoft Devices Group, overseeing an expanded devices business that includes Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel (PPI) products, and accessories.

"Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation," said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

"Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world."

As announced previously, Microsoft will not acquire the factory in Masan, South Korea, and the factory in Chennai, India, will stay with Nokia due to the tax liens on Nokia's assets in India that prevent transfer.

Microsoft will continue to provide support for feature phones, the Asha family, and the Nokia X family of devices, announced at the Mobile World Congress in February.




AfterDawn: News

Amazon to pay $300 million to stream HBO shows

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Apr 2014 8:46

Amazon to pay $300 million to stream HBO shows According to a report, Amazon will pay $300 million over three years to stream several of HBO's older, successful shows.

Amazon and HBO announced a deal that will bring some of HBO's catalog of shows to Amazon's Prime service from May 21 this year, marking the first time the premium cable channel has licensed its programming to a third party.

Included in the deal are past hits like "The Sopranos," "The Wire" and the first seasons of current hits like "True Blood." For Game of Thrones however, that will still be limited to HBO Go.

According to a report from Re/code, the deal will cost Amazon $300 million over a three year period, which is well within Amazon's reach having generated sales of $75 billion last year.

Amazon is reportedly spending at least $1 billion per year to build up its streaming choices for customers, as it battles for a larger share of the space.


Sources and Recommended Reading:
HBO's Amazon Haul Is Big -- But Not as Big as You Might Think: www.recode.net




AfterDawn: News

Google refunds Android users of Fake AV app

Written by James Delahunty @ 25 Apr 2014 8:34

Google refunds Android users of Fake AV app Google has given a refund to Android users after a paid Anti-Virus app in the Google Play store was shown to do nothing.

Virus Shield claimed to offer one-click virus protection for Android users, promising to prevent the installation of malicious or risky apps on a device. It climbed up the downloads chart with over 10,000 downloads.

However, when Android Police decompiled the app and had a look at what it does, it turned out to be completely useless. For $3.99, the app only switched to a new icon when it was activated, and did nothing else.

"We're reaching out to you because you recently purchased the 'Virus Shield' app on Google Play," Google wrote to buyers of the dud app, via e-mail.

"This app made the false claim that it provided one-click virus protection; in reality, it did not. Google Play's policies strictly prohibit false claims like these, and in light of this, we're refunding you for your 'Virus Shield' purchase. You should see funds returned to your account within the next 14 days."

In addition, Google will give affected customers $5 credit to be used in the Google Play store.


Sources and Recommended Reading:
Google refunding buyers of fake anti-virus app: www.bbc.com/news/
Virus shield is 'a total scam': www.androidpolice.com




AfterDawn: News

Update: Google Glass is definitely not available to the public

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 21:40

Update: Google Glass is definitely not available to the public Earlier today, consumers got a rush when it appeared that Google Glass headsets were available to the public, without need for an invite.

The page remained up allowing for would-be owners to purchase the glasses without signing up for the Explorer program, at the standard Explorer price of $1500.

Unfortunately, later in the day Google apologized for the mistake, saying they just neglected to pull down the URL from the April 15th one-day sale. The site should be down soon, they added, and anyone who ordered will most likely not get a device as the search giant noted that any customer not already "in the pipeline" will not receive a unit.

Google has not set a release date for the device, which has received rave reviews from techies but criticism from the media.

If you want to get notice of when the devices will really be available to all, check here.

Source:
Engadget




AfterDawn: News

Nest smart thermostat now available through Google Play Store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 21:29

Nest smart thermostat now available through Google Play Store Earlier this week, Google made their smart thermostat Nest available for sale via the hardware Play Store.

The learning thermostat is selling for $250 and will ship within 2 business days, according to the page.

Nest's Learning Thermostat "programs itself and automatically helps save energy when you're away. And you can control it from anywhere using your smartphone." It does so by creating a personalized schedule based on the temperature adjustments you make and continually adapts to your changing life. The whole process takes just a week.

The device features a 320x320 LCD display.

Google acquired Nest Labs in January for over $3 billion.

Check the device here: Nest Learning Thermostat at Google Play Store




AfterDawn: News

Accessories for alleged Microsoft Surface Mini appear on Amazon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 21:08

Accessories for alleged Microsoft Surface Mini appear on Amazon Microsoft has never officially confirmed it but more and more evidence is mounting for a Surface "Mini," an 8-inch version of the company's flagship Windows tablet.

The tablets would be compliments to the company's Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 tablets, which have 10.6-inch screens. Apple and Google have been very successful with their smaller tablets, the Nexus 7 and iPad Mini, and Microsoft will need to eventually launch one if it wishes to remain relevant at that form factor.

Amazon is the source of the latest piece of evidence, where accessories maker VSTN has listed multiple cases and attachments for a Surface Mini.

Among the listings are a Bluetooth keyboard case and a smart cover, which promise to "only fit Microsoft Surface Mini 8-inch tablet." The accessories go on sale on May 18th, which could imply an upcoming release for the tablet.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

LulzSec informant Sabu led cyber attacks against Pakistan, Syria, others

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 20:36

LulzSec informant Sabu led cyber attacks against Pakistan, Syria, others Hector Xavier Monsegur, aka Sabu, reportedly led cyber attacks against Syria, Iran, Pakistan and possibly other nations.

Sabu, best known for turning on LulzSec and Anonymous as an FBI informant, also directed attacks against the Polish Embassy in England and Iraq's Ministry of Electricity, read the newly released court documents. At the time, Sabu was already an FBI informant, following his arrest for multiple high profile cases.

Intelligence firm Stratfor was among the most notable attacks, and Sabu's testimony was key in convicting hacker and activist Jeremy Hammond.

It remains unclear whether the attacks were part of a broad plan to entrap Anonymous hackers, as Sabu recruited plenty, or if the FBI (or other agencies) were directing attacks on other nations using the talented hacker.

Source:
New York Times

Pic via Ars




AfterDawn: News

Tim Cook: Apple is closer than ever to unveiling a new product line

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 20:16

Tim Cook: Apple is closer than ever to unveiling a new product line Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that the company is "closer than it's ever been" to launching a new product line, following years of the executive claiming that a new product is finally coming.

Of course, Cook reiterated that "you want to take the time to get it right," when asked why the process has taken so long for a new product. "To do things really well, it takes time," Cook said in his interview. "You can see a lot of products that have been brought to market where the thinking isn't really deep and, as a consequence, these things don't do very well."

Among the most rumored products are an Apple-powered HDTV, a smartwatch with fitness focus, or a full fitness band. Cook did not mention any specific products or leave any hints as to a time frame.

Additionally, mobile payments have been oft-rumored as an industry that Apple could take over, due to having hundreds of millions of customers signed into iTunes with a credit card attached. Cook said the Touch ID fingerprint scanner could be integrated into a mobile payments platform but that the whole industry is "an area where nobody has figured it out yet. I realize that there are some companies playing in it, but you still have a wallet in your back pocket and I do too which probably means it hasn't been figured out just yet."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Vic Gundotra, head of Google+, is leaving the company

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 19:52

Vic Gundotra, head of Google+, is leaving the company Longtime Google executive and Google+ boss Vic Gundotra has confirmed he is leaving the company.

"Now is the time for a new journey," said Gundotra, via his Google+ page. "A continuation."

Reportedly, the search giant's social network will now be headed by Google VP of engineering David Besbris. Gundotra joined the company eight years ago after leaving Microsoft and was recently responsible for many of Google+'s features including "circles."

While the social network never caught on like Facebook, it does have over 540 million active users, and Google says 300 million regularly visit the Plus homepage.

Reads the rest of his post:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy Tab4 line goes on sale May 1st in U.S.

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 19:36

Samsung Galaxy Tab4 line goes on sale May 1st in U.S. Samsung has announced that their low and mid-range Galaxy Tab4 line of tablets will be headed to the U.S. on May 1st.

Three devices are in the lineup, the Galaxy Tab4 7.0, Galaxy Tab4 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 4 10.1, each differentiated in name by the size of the display.

The design of the tablets is certainly improved from previous models, and has thinner bezels and a lighter form factor. The design is reminiscent of the company's high-end Galaxy TabPRO and NotePRO series.

Under the hood is a different story, as the devices are not packed with high-end specs. The devices have 1200x800 resolution displays, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.4 with Samsung TouchWiz, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB internal storage as a base, a microSD slot for expanded storage, LTE support, and dual cameras: 1.3MP/3MP.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

AT&T building its own streaming video service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 19:15

AT&T building its own streaming video service AT&T and media powerhouse the Chernin Group have invested $500 million in building a new streaming video service.

The venture will specifically acquire content before launching a video streaming service that could rival Netflix and Amazon. The Chernin Group will contribute their majority stake in Crunchyroll, a niche subscription VOD service, to the new venture.

Reads the joint press release: "'A critical part of The Chernin Group's strategy has been our significant focus on the online video industry, and joining forces with AT&T only further underscores our strategic commitment in this area as operators, investors and programmers,' said Peter Chernin, Chairman and CEO, The Chernin Group. 'Consumers are increasingly viewing video content on their phones, tablets, computers, game consoles and connected TVs on mobile and broadband networks. AT&T's massive reach on those platforms across mobile and broadband and their commitment to the online video space make them the perfect fit for this venture with us.'"

There will certainly be more to come about the venture, especially because it is unclear what content AT&T is looking to offer, and what kind of business model will be employed.




AfterDawn: News

Apple has stellar quarterly earnings, despite iPad, iPod sales falling off cliff

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 18:56

Apple has stellar quarterly earnings, despite iPad, iPod sales falling off cliff Yesterday, Apple reported its quarterly earnings while also announcing a stock buyback and a stock split. Investors loved the report, and the company saw its shares fly today.

However, despite the stellar report, there were a few interesting numbers on the hardware side.

iPad sales were down 16 percent year-over-year, and fell well below analyst expectations. The company sold 16.3 million iPads, which it claims was on the high-end of its internal projections, but far behind the 19.8 million expected consensus.

The company's ancient iPod line, which was not even refreshed last year, continued its quick fall to obscurity, with just 2.76 million sold during the quarter. Eventually that figure will fall to sub-1 million, and could be a minor drag on earnings.

Otherwise, the company reported massive numbers, as usual, earning $10.2 billion in profit on $45.6 billion in revenue. The company sold 43.7 million iPhones, up from 37.4 million YoY, and they sold 4.1 million Macs, up from 3.9 million YoY. Macs remain a small player in the industry but appear to at least be seeing small growth compared to declines in other PC areas. Gross margins were a ridiculous 39.3 percent, higher than expected.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Vevo sees monthly traffic jump nearly 50 percent from 2013

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 18:30

Vevo sees monthly traffic jump nearly 50 percent from 2013 Music video giant Vevo has announced that monthly average traffic topped 6 billion in December, a huge 46 percent rise from the same month in 2013.

Rio Caraeff, CEO, Vevo, confirmed the figure, and also noted that over 65 percent of the videos were being viewed on mobile devices like phones and tablets.

"On a global stage, it's really all about mobile," says Caraeff. "Mobile and tablet and television are where the majority of the views are happening."

Vevo was founded by Universal Music and Sony Music, and has Google (through YouTube) as a minority owner. Almost all of the company's revenue comes via YouTube, as does most of its traffic. Vevo has been looking to expand and has already had early conversations with potential new investors. "We are continuing to speak to investors as we try to find the right partners to grow the business more rapidly than we've been able to do so far," Caraeff noted. "We're still very active in that process."

The service is available in 13 countries, and about 5 billion of the views occur outside of the U.S., most notably in Germany.

Source:
Reuters




AfterDawn: News

LG G Watch is water resistant, always on

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 20:26

LG G Watch is water resistant, always on While not revealing too much, LG has provided more information about their upcoming G-Watch.

The smartwatch will be the first to use the Android Wear operating system, followed later in the year by other devices from Motorola and Samsung.

Among the new revelations is the fact that the device will have an "always-on" screen, will be dust and water proof and will be available in both black and champagne gold.

Android Wear, introduced by Google earlier this year, is built around the Google Now user interface and includes access to Google Maps and built-in voice controls.

Source:
LG G Watch




AfterDawn: News

The Pirate Bay reaches 10 million torrent milestone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 19:28

The Pirate Bay reaches 10 million torrent milestone Earlier this week, The Pirate Bay reached a new milestone when its 10 millionth torrent was uploaded to the tracker.

Comically, the site needed to update its code to assist with an extra digit moving forward.

The 10 millionth upload was a pirated copy of the latest in the "IntimateLesbians" porn series, and it was uploaded by a popular VIP uploader known as "Drarb."

While the video was the 10 millionth ever uploaded, there are currently only 3.05 million active torrents in the database. The other torrents have been deleted for one reason or another.

The Pirate Bay says many of the torrents that have been deleted were fake, contained malware or were uploaded by anti-piracy firms. Additionally, if the content does not match the description, moderators will delete it, as well.

As of now, over 10,000 uploads are added daily to the site, meaning the next big milestone will be sooner rather than later.

Source:
TorrentFreak




AfterDawn: News

U.S. regulators: Facebook is okay to buy Oculus VR

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 18:31

U.S. regulators: Facebook is okay to buy Oculus VR A month after announcing its acquisition of virtual reality startup Oculus VR for $2 billion, the deal has been approved by U.S. regulators.

The company makes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset which has just been sent out to developers and is ushering in a new generation of gaming.

Both the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice approved the deal, which was not expected to have any regulatory hurdles.

The social networking giant purchased the company for mostly stock, just after purchasing giant instant messaging service Whatsapp for $19 billion.

Source:
Reuters




AfterDawn: News

Amazon strikes gold and will exclusively offer older HBO content free with Prime

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 17:47

Amazon strikes gold and will exclusively offer older HBO content free with Prime Amazon has announced a blockbuster deal today with original programming king HBO in which Amazon will offer older content for free via its Prime streaming catalog starting May 21st.

The move marks the first time the premium cable channel has licensed its programming to a third party. The company currently allows subscribers to watch content via their own HBO Go streaming app.

Most notably for Amazon, the deal is exclusive and leaves rival Netflix out in the cold. The deal does not include any current seasons or episodes from shows that ended within the last three years. A few other older hits (like Sex and the City) are also excluded because they are currently under contract for syndication deals with cable TV networks.

Included in the deal are past hits like "The Sopranos," "The Wire" and the first seasons of current hits like "True Blood." "Game of Thrones" fans will have to wait a little bit longer.

For fans that purchased Amazon's Fire TV streaming set-top box, there was also some good news, as the HBO Go app will finally make its way to the device in the coming months.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to complete Nokia devices and services acquisition on April 25th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 23:49

Microsoft to complete Nokia devices and services acquisition on April 25th Microsoft has confirmed that their acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Service business will close on April 25th.

Reads the company's press release: "Today we are excited to share that we have completed the steps necessary to finalize Microsoft's acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. The transaction will be completed this Friday, April 25, when we'll officially welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business as part of the Microsoft family.

The completion of this acquisition follows several months of planning and will mark a key step on the journey towards integration. This acquisition will help Microsoft accelerate innovation and market adoption for Windows Phones. In addition, we look forward to introducing the next billion customers to Microsoft services via Nokia mobile phones."


There had been roadblocks overseas, most notably in China, which were recently resolved.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Powerful Sony Xperia Z2 tablet now available for pre-order at $500

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 22:39

Powerful Sony Xperia Z2 tablet now available for pre-order at $500 Sony has confirmed that the Xperia Z2 IP55/58 waterproof tablet is now available for pre-order at $500 for the 16GB base model.

The device features a 10.1" tablet display with Full HD TRILUMINOS and Live Color LED technology and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3 Ghz quad-core processor and 3 GB RAM. Android 4.4 is loaded right out of the gate, along with Sony's Xperia UI.

Additionally, the tablet has S-Force Front Surround audio, Clear Audio+ and digital noise cancelling support, a 6000mAh battery and an8 MP camera with Exmor RS image sensor and Superior Auto mode.

Finally, Sony has pre-loaded media offers including six movies from Sony Pictures (including new films like Captain Phillips and American Hustle), a free trial to Music Unlimited and eight free PlayStation Mobile games.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Amazon Fire TV to add Netflix to universal voice search later this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 22:10

Amazon Fire TV to add Netflix to universal voice search later this year Netflix has confirmed that Amazon will be adding the company's full streaming catalog to its Fire TV's universal search feature.

CEO Reed Hastings said "we expect to support voice search later this year," a move that will greatly improve the functionality of the box.

Besides Netflix, Amazon announced recently that there would be support for Crackle, Showtime Anytime, and Hulu Plus in the near future.

Read our review of the set-top box here: Review: The powerful streaming, gaming set-top Amazon Fire TV




AfterDawn: News

AT&T shows off potential new launch areas for gigabit fiber Internet service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 21:38

AT&T shows off potential new launch areas for gigabit fiber Internet service AT&T is preparing a true rival for Google Fiber, showing off potential launch sites for expanding their gigabit speed fiber Internet service, GigaPower.

The service is currently only available in Austin and has been announced for Dallas, Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham.

With today's announcement, the company has now identified 21 new candidate metropolitan areas including: Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, and San Jose.

"We're delivering advanced services that offer consumers and small businesses the ability to do more, faster, help communities create a new wave of innovation, and encourage economic development," said Lori Lee, senior executive vice president, AT&T Home Solutions. "We're interested in working with communities that appreciate the value of the most advanced technologies and are willing to encourage investment by offering solid investment cases and policies."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Netflix to raise prices for new subscribers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 18:31

Netflix to raise prices for new subscribers Following their quarterly earnings report this afternoon, Netflix has announced it will be raising the price for new subscribers to its streaming catalog.

Currently at $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming and multiple profiles, the price will increase by $1 or $2 depending on where you live in the world. The new price change goes into effect later in the quarter, most likely in June.

Netflix says current users will get to keep their grandfathered pricing for a "generous time period." The company previously tested pricing variations in Ireland.

The company justified the small price increase by noting how much content they have added in the past year, especially in original programming. The added revenue will go towards more acquisitions and to "deliver an even better streaming experience."




AfterDawn: News

Analysts: Have iPad sales peaked?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 21:13

Analysts: Have iPad sales peaked? As a group, analysts appear to have called for the peak in iPad sales.

Consensus for the Q1 2014 is that iPad sales will fall year-over-year (YoY) by 0.7 percent.

Such a drop would be surprising for Apple, which saw over 20 percent growth in the last quarter for its refreshed iPad line.

Across the industry, the consensus is 19.3 million units sold, compared to 19.5 million YoY. Noted Apple enthusiasts Horace Dediu, Peter Misek and Gene Munster all had estimates at the high end of the range, above 21 million. Braeburn Group's Matt Lew came in with the low print at 15 million, although that is likely to get more visibility to the firm rather than a real estimation.

Unless Apple blows away these estimates, growth will have slowed significantly. Customers are likely waiting for the updated iPad Air and Mini with Retina models to be released in the Q3.

We will learn more this week following Apple's earnings report.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Toshiba shows off 'world's fastest' microSD cards

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 15:19

Toshiba shows off 'world's fastest' microSD cards Toshiba has just unveiled the world's fastest microSD cards, cards that the company claims can handle 4K video.

Available initially in 32GB and 64GB versions, the cards are rated at UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and they are the first to use the new UHS-II interface standard.

Notes Toshiba: UHS-II with U3 means support for "high-quality 4K video capture at constant minimum write speed of 30MB/S. This means that 4K2K video, live broadcast, and content can be recorded on high-performance cameras."

The new announcement is of great significance to the industry, given that product makers will no longer have to sacrifice valuable space to accommodate bigger cards, like full sized SD.

Toshiba claims the 64GB card has a max read speed of 260MB per second and write speed of 240MB/s while the 32GB has 145MB/s and 130MB/s, respectively. Compared to previous cards, the new specs "represents an 8x write speed improvement and 2.7x read speed improvement when compared to Toshiba's current 32GB MicroSD UHS-1 card."

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AfterDawn: News

LinkedIn reaches 300 million users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 14:32

LinkedIn reaches 300 million users LinkedIn has announced this week that the professional social network now has 300 million registered users, with 100 million residing in the U.S.

Reads the blog post: "We are excited to announce that we reached a big milestone today: there are now more than 300 million LinkedIn members in the world! More than half of these members come from outside of the U.S., while there are 100 million members in the U.S. While this is an exciting moment, we still have a long way to go to realize our vision of creating economic opportunity for every one of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce."

The company has plans for major expansions into Asia and mobile devices, with the ultimate goal of expanding their user base into the billions.

Of course, the registered userbase is much higher than the active users, with uniques totaling 187 million last quarter.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung fixes Smart TV app, website outages following fire

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 13:49

Samsung fixes Smart TV app, website outages following fire Yesterday, Samsung device owners had many of their services unavailable for some time, with even Samsung.com down for a time.

Apps were unavailable on Samsung Smart TVs, as well, thanks to a large fire at a Samsung SDS building in Gwacheon, South Korea.

Earlier this morning, access was restored and Samsung confirmed the fire as the culprit.

There were no fatalities.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Pew research: Americans are still wary of drones, robots, wearables

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 13:02

Pew research: Americans are still wary of drones, robots, wearables According to a new Pew research survey, Americans remain wary of technology that could power the future, including drones, robots and even wearable devices like Google Glass.

1,000 US adults were surveyed, and 59 percent expressed optimism that upcoming tech would positively benefit society and their lives, while a full 30 percent believed society would be worse off.

There were some mixed results in other areas. 80 percent believe lab-grown organs will be a mainstay, while 50 percent believe that computers will be able to produce art on the same quality as humans.

One worrying figure was that 39 percent of those surveyed believe scientists will be able to teleport objects within the next 50 years. There have been no breakthroughs in such an endeavor, and many believe teleportation is hundreds of years away, if it is possible at all.

53 percent of respondents were worried about wearables and think society will be worse off if "most people wear implants or other devices that constantly show them information about the world around them." 37 percent believed society would be better off. Only 48 percent of respondents would take a ride in a driverless car. 63 percent are concerned society will be worse off if drones are allowed to operate in commercial airspace. 65 percent are against robots as caregivers for the eldery and 66 percent are against DNA alteration for babies to include specific traits. The largest number, 78 percent, had no interest in eating lab-grown meats.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

AT&T increases data for free on no-contract GoPhone plans

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 12:28

AT&T increases data for free on no-contract GoPhone plans Starting next week, AT&T will boost their pre-paid GoPhone plans with additional data, with no additional change in price.

The base GoPhone plan will still cost $40 per month for 500 minutes and unlimited texting (including international for certain countries), but data will be bumped to 500MB from the current 250MB.

If you pay up for the unlimited talk and text plan at $60 per month, data will be boosted to 2.5GB from 2GB and Wi-Fi hotspot capability is added for free.

For new customers, and available exclusively at Walmart, there is a third plan with unlimited text and talk with 1GB data for $45 per month, a stronger value than the base plan as long as the $5 isn't a deal breaker.

"We're giving customers more for less, and making it even easier for them to enjoy their smartphones the way they want - all on a superior, reliable network," said Mark Collins, AT&T Mobility senior vice president of data and voice products.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Heartbleed fallout: If you signed up for Obamacare, it's time to change your password

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 11:50

Heartbleed fallout: If you signed up for Obamacare, it's time to change your password Government officials have confirmed that the HealthCare.gov website is indeed vulnerable to the Heartbleed bug, and those that have signed up for Obamacare should change their passwords.

There was no indication that the site had been compromised, but officials still recommend changing the password to be safe. Other government sites may have been vulnerable, as well, but a full review is still ongoing, say the officials.

Heartbleed, which is a massive flaw in the OpenSSL website encryption technology used by a major portion of the Web, has been dominating headlines recently as major companies rush to patch their services and recommend to users that their passwords and other info be changed.

"While there's no indication that any personal information has ever been at risk, we have taken steps to address Heartbleed issues and reset consumers' passwords out of an abundance of caution," reads the website.

Phyllis Schneck, Department of Homeland Security deputy undersecretary for cybersecurity and communications also added: "We will continue to focus on this issue until government agencies have mitigated the vulnerability in their systems. And we will continue to adapt our response if we learn about additional issues created by the vulnerability."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Beats Music adds ability to purchase subscription through iOS app

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 11:32

Beats Music adds ability to purchase subscription through iOS app Beats Music has bitten the bullet and has added in-app purchasing for subscriptions of the streaming service through the iOS app.

The service launched in January and has been modestly successful due to its high reviews.

Apple takes 30 percent of all in-app purchase revenue, which is significant but should also open up the service to more users. Beats Music costs $10 per month.

Beats Music is available in the U.S. on iPhone, Windows Mobile, Android, PC and Mac. The headphone company, run by music industry exec Jimmy Iovine and famous producer Dr. Dre, says all U.S. consumers can try the service for free for 30 days and can download or stream unlimited music for $10 per month afterwards. For $15 a month, a family of five can access the service through a deal will AT&T. The charge will be part of your regular monthly bill.

Unlimited downloads will allow you to listen to music offline, but the downloads expire and disappear when your membership ends.

Read more...


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."

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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 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' without 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

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.

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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:

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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




AfterDawn: News

8GB iPhone 5c goes live in more European nations

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 10:38

8GB iPhone 5c goes live in more European nations Apple has made their 8GB model of the iPhone 5c available in a few more European nations.

After a quick maintenance and downtime, the Apple Store came back up yesterday adding the device to the stores for the Netherlands, Italy, Sweden, Belgium, Ireland, Portugal, Poland and the Czech Republic.

For most of the countries, the 8GB model offers a €50 savings from the 16GB (former) base model. In the Netherlands, Ireland, Portugal and Belgium it costs €549, and €579 in Italy.

The Czech Republic and Sweden each had equivalent price drops.

In March, Apple made the 8GB model available in th UK, France, Germany, Australia and China.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

LaCie hit by major credit card, personal info breach

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 10:03

LaCie hit by major credit card, personal info breach LaCie, the French maker of hard drives and other storage media, is the latest victim of an attack that has exposed customer information and credit card information.

The company confirmed that the FBI notified them on March 19th that "an unauthorized person used malware to gain access to information from customer transactions that were made through LaCie's website." The company has shut down its online store and has hired a private investigation firm.

Shockingly, the company says all transactions made from March 27th, 2013 to March 10th of this year could be affected and the info stolen includes usernames, passwords, full names, addresses, emails and credit card numbers including expiration dates.

To get back on the site you must reset your password, and it is unclear how many consumers are affected.

Krebs on Security first wrote about the breach three weeks before LaCie began sending out emails to affected customers on April 11th, which is equally as shocking and appalling.

Source:
Lacie




AfterDawn: News

Google sells out of stock in special one-day Glass sale

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 9:40

Google sells out of stock in special one-day Glass sale Google has announced that it sold out of Google Glass stock that was made available to consumers for the first time yesterday.

As part of its tax day one-day-only sale, anyone in the U.S. could purchase the $1500 eyewear on a first-come, first-serve basis. New "Explorers" received a free pair of glass or sunglass frames.

Google did not reveal how many units were up for sale, and everyone who wanted to get one appears to have been able to. The white colorway sold out first, followed by grey, black, red and blue.

Posting a bit past midnight, Google wrote: "Welcome to our new Explorers! All spots in the Explorer Program have been claimed for now, but if you missed it this time, don't worry. We'll be trying new ways to expand the Explorer program in the future. You can sign up below to stay updated. That's all for now, folks."

The limited rollouts are expected to continue before a full launch either later this year or early next year. Currently, Explorers must apply as developers.


Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung announces full device support list for Gear 2, Neo, Fit smart devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 9:12

Samsung announces full device support list for Gear 2, Neo, Fit smart devices Samsung has announced a full compatibility list for its new Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit smart devices.

As of writing, the devices will be compatible with twenty Galaxy devices, the full list of which is posted below.

12 of the devices are smartphones and the other 8 are Samsung tablets.

Looking forward, the Gear and Fit have their own SDKs and all "resources you need to develop apps for Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo are already available in Tizen SDK for Wearables and Samsung Mobile SDK(Accessory package)," says Samsung.

Full list:

Phones

Galaxy S5
Galaxy Note 3
Galaxy Note 3 Neo
Galaxy S4
Galaxy Note II
Galaxy S III
Galaxy S4 Active
Galaxy S4 mini
Galaxy S4 zoom
Galaxy Mega 6.3
Galaxy Mega 5.8
Galaxy Grand 2

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Court rules that Kim Dotcom can have seized assets returned

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 8:48

Court rules that Kim Dotcom can have seized assets returned Thanks to a new ruling by the High Court in New Zealand, Kim Dotcom can have his seized personal assets back, including a garage full of luxury cars, millions in cash, and other items taken from the raid of his mansion.

The mansion was raided in 2012 when authorities took down file storage locker Megaupload and arrested its larger-than-life owner, Dotcom. Before the raid, the authorities were granted foreign restraining orders that allowed for the seizure of his assets, but those orders expire on Friday and have not been renewed nor extended.

While Dotcom is certainly excited (see the Tweets embedded below), the authorities have two weeks to file an appeal and given the high profile nature of the case, almost certainly will.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Here are leaked photos of the 3D capable Amazon smartphone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Apr 2014 1:36

Here are leaked photos of the 3D capable Amazon smartphone Earlier this week we reported that Amazon was working on its first smartphone, a 3D device that could be unveiled in June for a launch in September.

This morning, pictures emerged purporting to be the alleged Amazon phone, showing off the multiple cameras on the front as rumored to make the device 3D capable without the need for glasses. There are four corner cameras alongside the standard camera.

There is little to see of the design as the company has protected it with a case while still in prototype.

Sources say there will be two handsets released, a high-end and a mid-range model, each with different features and specs. The mid-range device will not have 3D capabilities or the added cameras.

Other than the camera, the phone will have a disappointing 4.7-inch 720p display and a Snapdragon processor, says the sources. The real selling point will be the 3D technology, which means text and images can move as a person head moves (or the phone moves), and could certainly be ideal for visual gaming, thanks to the added depth perception.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Rovio brings Bad Piggies to Windows Phone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Apr 2014 16:11

Rovio brings Bad Piggies to Windows Phone After launching the game for iOS and Android in late 2012, Rovio has brought their hit 'Bad Piggies' to Windows Phone.

The pigs, villains in all the Angry Birds games, get the lead in this one, with gamers needing to build different vehicles to get the pigs across the landscapes to steal eggs from the birds.

For the Windows Phone version, the game will have over 200 levels with unlockable content, as well.

Reads the post:

Create the ultimate flying/crawling/rolling/spinning/crashing device and pilot the pigs safely to the eggs!

The Bad Piggies are after the eggs again - but as usual, nothing is going according to plan! Can you create the ultimate flying machine and steer them safely to their destination? Those tricky pigs have a few objects they can use, but they need your help to turn these into the perfect transportation!

With more than 200 levels, and free updates coming up, you have hours and hours of pig-crashing, exploding, and flying fun! Get three stars on every level to unlock 36 more puzzles!




AfterDawn: News

RIAA files civil suit against Megaupload

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Apr 2014 15:48

RIAA files civil suit against Megaupload The music industry trade group RIAA has added to Megaupload and owner Kim Dotcom's woes, filing a new civil lawsuit.

Megaupload was shut down two years ago after a U.S. raid, and Dotcom was arrested, as well. At the time, the site was bringing in over $25 million per year in ads, and over $100 million per year from premium account subscription fees.

As part of the suit, the RIAA has accused Megaupload of "allowing users to engage in rapid, unrestricted downloading of popular, infringing content."

The RIAA has also been providing the media with a data sheet that shows a drop in piracy since the site shut down, thanks to "an analysis by the RIAA of third party-provided data." These "facts" have often been heavily skewed in the past, and likely do not take other factors into account, like the rise of Spotify and other unlimited streaming services.

Last week, the film industry trade group MPAA filed a similar suit against Megaupload.




AfterDawn: News

'Age of Empires' headed to mobile devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Apr 2014 13:30

'Age of Empires' headed to mobile devices Microsoft Studios has confirmed that 'Age of Empires' will be headed to mobile devices this summer.

Headed to iOS, Android and Windows Phone, there is little else known about the game, which will be a spin-off of the popular series.

Dubbed Age of Empires: World Domination, the game will look similar to its console and desktop counterparts, at least from what we can see in the short trailer.

The studio says there is more info here: AOEWD

Check it here:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Turkish Prime Minister threatens Twitter again, this time over tax evasion

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Apr 2014 0:22

Turkish Prime Minister threatens Twitter again, this time over tax evasion Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened microblogging site Twitter again, this time accusing it of tax evasion.

The PM recently tried banning Twitter in the nation, but the ban was overturned by the nation's highest court. Information about a major corruption scandal involving Erdogan's inner circle was broken and disseminated via the service.

In his latest tirade, Erdogan says "Twitter, YouTube and Facebook are international companies established for profit and making money. Twitter is at the same time a tax evader. We will go after it. These companies, like every international company, will abide by my country's constitution, laws and tax rules."

Erdogan then criticized the court's decision, claiming it was "advocating commercial law of international companies instead of defending the rights of its own country and its own people. This amounts to interference in politics. We abided by the (court) ruling on (Twitter), but I say it again, I don't respect it."

A week after blocking Twitter, the government also blocked YouTube, after videos were uploaded of a secret meeting between the country's top civilian and military officials.

Source:
Yahoo News




AfterDawn: News

IRS misses Windows XP upgrade deadline, must pay millions to Microsoft for security patches

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Apr 2014 23:39

IRS misses Windows XP upgrade deadline, must pay millions to Microsoft for security patches The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has confirmed that it could not migrate all of its computers from Windows XP in time for the April 8th support end-of-life, and will now have to have Microsoft millions of dollars for security patches.

Microsoft ended public security patches for the 13-year-old operating system last week, but will still offer private patches for companies that pay for extra support. Without the patches, systems running XP are vulnerable to being exploited and attacked.

Of the IRS's 110,000 computers, 52,000 have been upgraded to Windows 7, but the agency could not raise the additional $30 million needed to migrate the rest. Microsoft announced the end-of-life dates for XP back in 2008.

The new commissioner of the IRS, John Koskinen, said the agency had $300 million in IT projects on hold due to budget cuts in the past years, including the migration to Windows 7. Because they could not complete the upgrades, the IRS will likely have to pay near $10 million for just one year of Microsoft "Custom Support" for the operating system.

As of now, Koskinen says they will take money from their enforcement budget to complete the move by the end of 2014.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Weev goes free after hacking convictions get thrown out

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Apr 2014 23:18

Weev goes free after hacking convictions get thrown out Last year, Andrew Auernheimer aka 'Weev,' was convicted and sentenced to 41 months in jail for exploiting AT&T and revealing data from over 114,000 iPad 3G owners.

This week, an Appellate court has tossed the conviction, on the grounds that he was prosecuted in the wrong state. Weev was tried in New Jersey federal court, despite living in Arkansas. All of his crimes, including violations of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act and thousands of charges of identity theft, had no connection to NJ, added the court.

Weev has spent the last 20 months in Allenwood Federal Correctional Complex in Pennsylvania, well known as a "Club Fed" white collar prison. The felon is said to be spending nearly all his time in solitary, however, and his attorney claims he has been treated poorly.

Original Crime



Weev was sentenced for being found guilty on one charge of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and one charge of fraud in connection with personal information. In addition to the prison time, he was also set to serve three years probation and pay $73,000 to AT&T.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy S5 first day sales surpass predecessor's by 30 percent

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Apr 2014 22:54

Samsung Galaxy S5 first day sales surpass predecessor's by 30 percent Reports out of Korea seem to confirm that the Samsung Galaxy S5 is selling well, or at least significantly better than its predecessor, the S4.

Setting a Samsung record for first day sales, the smartphone has topped the previous mark by 30 percent.

In some key European markets, the S5 doubled the first day sales of the S4, and would have likely been even higher had there been more supply to keep up with demand, says the report.

Launching in 125 nations, with 25 more to join in the coming days, the S5 was the biggest launch for Samsung, ever.

The S5 features a 1080p 5.1-inch display and runs on Android 4.4.2 + TouchWiz. Under the hood is a 2.5GHz Quad core processor, 2GB RAM, 16/32GB internal storage, microSD slot, dual cameras, 16MP (rear) with 4K video support, 2.0MP (front), LTE Cat 4, 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac MIMO(2x2) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 BLE, NFC and a built-in IR remote to control TV and other devices.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

'Brightest Flashlight' Android app that stored location data without user consent gets no FTC fine

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Apr 2014 21:54

'Brightest Flashlight' Android app that stored location data without user consent gets no FTC fine Back in December, we reported that one of the most popular apps in the Google Play Store, "Brightest Flashlight," which has been downloaded over 50 million times and reviewed over 1 million times, had been sanctioned by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission for sneakily selling your personal information to advertisers.

The app, built by GoldenShores, sent your location and a unique ID to advertisers who could then better target their marketing. Users were aware of this, but opting out through the application's settings did not change whether data was sent or not.

At the time, the FTC proposed a settlement with GoldenShores, run by just one individual (Erik Geidl), and the final terms have been revealed this week.

Geidl and GoldenShores are banned from collecting app user's geolocation data without a very clear explanation that they are doing so and who will be seeing such information. Additionally, the company will have to keep records that the FTC can inspect at any time, and the FTC must be notified of any new business Geidl starts in the next decade. Most importantly for phone users, all the data already collected must be deleted in the next ten days.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Report: Amazon to unveil first smartphone in June for release in September

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Apr 2014 1:32

Report: Amazon to unveil first smartphone in June for release in September Amazon will unveil their first smartphone in June, with an expected release in September, say sources, yet another timeframe for the oft-rumored device that has never been officially confirmed.

The device has been demoed to developers in the past weeks, say the sources, and when launched will compete directly with Apple, Samsung and other high-margin OEMs.

As previously rumored, the device will have a 3D-capable display without the need for glasses, using four front-facing cameras for retina tracking.

Using the technology, text and images can move as a person head moves (or the phone moves), and could certainly be ideal for visual gaming, thanks to the added depth perception. The smartphone will most likely run on the Android-forked Fire OS, and have access to Amazon's curated version of the Google Play Store.

Amazon has reportedly set up an initial order of 600,000 units, with mass production slated to begin in May. While consumers may not want to try a smartphone run directly on Android or iOS, Amazon will have the ability to price their device with no margins, as CEO Jeff Bezos has long said the company would rather make money on content via their ecosystem rather than on the hardware.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sprint preparing to offer free trials to Spotify plus carrier billing, 'Framily' discounts

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Apr 2014 22:34

Sprint preparing to offer free trials to Spotify plus carrier billing, 'Framily' discounts According to a new report, Sprint and Spotify are preparing to team up in an effort to get the carrier's customers set up with the unlimited streaming music service.

The wireless carrier will start off with free trials to Spotify for its subscribers, allow for paying via their monthly carrier bill, and will also offer discounts to the streaming service for some of its users. Spotify Premium costs $9.99 per month and allows for streaming on mobile devices.

If you are on a "Framily" plan, you can get Spotify Premium at a discount, to be shared between the group.

Reportedly, Sprint and Spotify will jointly announce the partnership at a press event on April 29th. Any such deal would require record label approval, so the 29th date is tentative.

Spotify has 8 million subscribers around the globe, and Sprint has 54 million subscribers, making it the third largest carrier in the nation.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nearly half of Twitter's registered users have never tweeted

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Apr 2014 22:10

Nearly half of Twitter's registered users have never tweeted According to a new report, 44 percent of Twitter's registered users have never tweeted, a huge number that cannot make the microblogging service happy.

The WSJ claims that the company has 974 million accounts, meaning a full 429 million accounts have never been used for actual tweeting. There is a good chance that millions of these accounts are used to read and follow others, with no need for their own input and there is also a good chance that millions of accounts have lost or missing passwords that cannot be recovered by the original owner.

Twitter, by its own admission, has nearly 250 million active users, but "active" means that they at least log in a couple of times a month.

Other data has shown that only 13 percent of accounts have over 100 tweets over their lifetime, and 30 percent have between just one and ten tweets.

As Twitter continues to evolve, and continues to search for more ad revenue, it is clear it will have to find a way to engage all of its dead accounts.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

DreamWorks Animation is looking to purchase a stake in music video giant Vevo

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Apr 2014 20:42

DreamWorks Animation is looking to purchase a stake in music video giant Vevo DreamWorks Animation (DWA), is reportedly looking to buy a stake in music video giant Vevo, expanding outside of its blockbuster animated movie business.

Sources say CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg wants part of the service that is currently owned by Universal Music, Sony Music and Abu Dhabi Media. It is unclear how big of a stake the company is looking to invest in.

Vevo is very popular, generating 55 billion views last year, mainly through YouTube. The service does have its own site and other platforms can traffic Vevo, as well, like the Xbox, Roku set-tops and smart TVs.

The company is valued at over $600 million and it generated over $250 million in revenue last year. Investors need be weary, however, as YouTube, music publishers and the video's owners take 90 percent of any revenue generated from the videos being played.

If a move is made, it will be the second time in the last year that DWA has expanded outside of their core business. The studio purchased YouTube channel AwesomenessTV for $100 million last year, expanding into content.

Source:
Re/code




AfterDawn: News

PowerPot charges your smartphone using boiling water

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Apr 2014 20:23

PowerPot charges your smartphone using boiling water Billionaire and 'Shark Tank' investor Mark Cuban has put forward $250,000 of his own money to help the "PowerPot" succeed, a pot that lets you charge your smartphone with boiling water.

Cuban paid $250,000 for a 12 percent stake in the company, a seat on the board of directors and 3% in "adviser options." With the investment, the company is worth over $2 million, seemingly a good value given that they have supposedly already sold $300,000 worth of the devices.

The founders have been marketing the device towards campers, but have also been testing it in developing nations in Africa, where villagers have been using it to light their huts.

A 5-watt model and 10-watt model are available, starting at $149.

Check the pot in action:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Android app security gets upgrade with malware installation scans from Google

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Apr 2014 16:55

Android app security gets upgrade with malware installation scans from Google Google is making installing apps on your Android device a bit more secure by offering malware scans during installation for apps installed from outside of the Google Play Store.

Moving forward, the service will also continuously scan to ensure that all apps are "behaving in a safe manner, even after installation."

Chrome users will be familiar with continuous app checks, as their Chrome-based apps use the same scans from Google.

Google's current "Verify Apps" service has been used over 4 billion times, says the company and only 0.18 percent of installations occurred after seeing the warning, making them very effective.

Of course, you are not likely to ever get these warnings if you download directly from the Google Play Store, which accounts for only 0.1 percent of all malware. Most of the malicious apps come from third-party stores or from pirated downloads.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

LG's upcoming G3 flagship specs leaked by Sprint

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Apr 2014 16:21

LG's upcoming G3 flagship specs leaked by Sprint After weeks of rumors, LG's upcoming flagship (likely the G3) has been unwittingly confirmed by Sprint.

Even though the company already released the G Pro 2 this year, it was always supposed to be place marker for the company's real flagship and successor to the G2.

Leaked by Sprint through a User Agent Profile XML document, the LS990 (G3) will have a QHD screen at 2,560 x 1,440 pixel resolution. So far, no major manufacturer has reached such a resolution for their smartphones, but Oppo and Vivo recently unveiled new phones with QHD for release in the coming months.

The screen's size is unknown, but the specs reveal 3GB RAM and a quad-core Snapdragon 800, which could be inaccurate given how old that chip is. The device runs on Android 4.4, has 32GB internal storage and on the camera side, dual 13MP/2.1MP sensors.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Study: 99 percent of ads on piracy sites are considered 'high risk'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Apr 2014 15:56

Study: 99 percent of ads on piracy sites are considered 'high risk' A peer reviewed study from the Federation University in Ballarat has confirmed what nearly everyone knew, that ads placed on piracy sites are high risk and should never be clicked on.

As defined in the study, "high risk" categories are pornography-based (sometimes child), malware or complete scam and fraud sites.

The study had researchers analyzing the "top 500 Google-upheld copyrighted complaints for movies and TV distributed by major Hollywood studios and then analyzing 10 sites from each complaint sampled for all ads displayed," notes Mumbrella.

Only one percent of ads on the illicit sites were found to be for mainstream brands such as banks and retailers, with the most often found advertiser being Quibids.com, the legitimate auction/bidding site.

To avoid re-targeting during the study (where a user's cookies and other past history helps bring up targeted ads), the researchers did not store cookies. "We eyeballed all the ads and classified it as either mainstream or high risk. In terms of methodology every time we took a new page capture we didn't store any cookies. There was nothing in a virtual browser which recorded where we had been eliminated that potential for retargeting by Google etc."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung offering tons of freebies with Galaxy S5

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Apr 2014 15:37

Samsung offering tons of freebies with Galaxy S5 As demand for its high-end devices stagnate, Samsung is offering up to $600 worth of freebies with its new Galaxy S5 flagship device.

Among the offerings are a PayPal voucher, a LinkedIn premium account and multiple fitness apps. In addition, other packages include six months free to the WSJ, 12 months free for Bloomberg Businessweek and other applications, as well.

Samsung says it expects S5 sales to hit 10 million units within 25 days, basing that figure on its pre-orders.

"The Galaxy S5 was designed to offer consumers the most advanced tool to help improve their everyday lives," Shin Jong Kyun, CEO Samsung Mobile, said in a statement. "These new partnerships perfectly compliment this mission with a comprehensive offering of some of the world's best mobile resources to suit people's active lives."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft's Surface Mini is ready to ship, but the company can't figure out how to market it

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Apr 2014 0:42

Microsoft's Surface Mini is ready to ship, but the company can't figure out how to market it Last year, it was reported that Microsoft was working on a "Mini" version of their Surface tablet, one that would be between 7 and 8 inches in size, just like the standard bearer in the market, the 7.9-inch Apple iPad Mini.

According to a new report, the new Surface is already produced and ready to ship, but Microsoft is still working on how to market the tablet.

The device will look just like the full-sized 11.6-inch Surface tablets, potentially even including the built-in kickstand that allows for easier viewing.

While other tablets in the size range market themselves as media consumption devices (think iPad Mini, Nexus 7), Microsoft is said to be considering marketing the device as the "ultimate" in note-taking, adding OneNote and digital pen support.

It is unclear when the device will be officially launched, it is a safe bet that it Microsoft decides to go with the note taking route, then it will be available in time for the fall college semester.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

LG's own ARM-based octo-core SoC headed into mass production

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Apr 2014 21:46

LG's own ARM-based octo-core SoC headed into mass production For at least the last three years, LG has been working on its own ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SoC), and it appears that the chip may finally be headed to market.

The "Odin" octo-core SoC is rumored to run on four 2.2 GHz Cortex-A15s, along with an additional four Cortex-A7s, clocked at 1.7 GHz or lower.

LG is said to be using TSMC for production of Odin, which will use the standard 28nm manufacturing process.

If accurate, the company will send the chip into "mass production soon," although that time frame is unclear. The company supposedly had some issues with the final design, and stayed away from including the SoC with its flagship G3.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Downloading pirated content is now officially illegal in the Netherlands

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Apr 2014 21:18

Downloading pirated content is now officially illegal in the Netherlands The Dutch Ministry of Security has ruled that downloading content from unauthorized sources is illegal, and does not fall under the Netherland's private copying regulations.

Downloading pirated content causes damages to copyright holders and also encourages broader sales of pirated works, says the court.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) was asked to make the decision after the Netherlands introduced a new levy on blank DVDs/Blu-rays, smartphones, set-tops and tablets as a way to compensate content holders for when consumers do private home copying of copyright protected content. The levy is three cents on discs, and up to €5 for devices.

Dutch film makers have argued that the levy is a good start, but cannot reverse the damages caused by unauthorized downloading and sharing. Film makers applauded the new ruling.

As of today, all downloading from illegal sites and other sources is now banned in the nations.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Limited quantities of Google Glass to be made available to public next week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Apr 2014 20:46

Limited quantities of Google Glass to be made available to public next week Google is using tax day to offer up its Glass Web-connected eyewear to the public for the first time.

On Tuesday, April 15th, the company will make a limited quantity available to the public, the first time the glasses are available to anyone outside of the Glass Explorer program.

"Every day we get requests from those of you who haven't found a way into the program yet, and we want your feedback too," Google said. "That's why next Tuesday, April 15th, we'll be trying our latest and biggest Explorer Program expansion experiment to date. We'll be allowing anyone in the U.S. to become an Explorer by purchasing Glass."

Google has never given a set time frame for a full consumer release of the glasses, but they are expected to launch the headset this year.

The launch should be a boost for manufacturers like Himax, who build the LCOS micro-displays used by Glass.




AfterDawn: News

Nikon is updating its Android digital camera line

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Apr 2014 20:19

Nikon is updating its Android digital camera line Nikon will be updating last year's first try at an Android point-and-shoot digital camera, showing off the new Coolpix S810C.

The camera is a successor to the S800c, and it should be an overall upgrade to its older brother. The new S810c runs on Android 4.2.2, has a 300mm equivalent zoom, 16MP sensor, a slimmer design and a larger 3.7-inch touchscreen display. The device also has a headphone jack

Most importantly, the camera can access the Google Play Store, giving users the ability to download apps, play games, check their emails, and edit photos easier (or upload them to Instagram).

In its previous incarnation, Nikon put forward a lackluster effort, with most consumers claiming the lag of the screen and the apps was intolerable. Hopefully, the company has executed better this time around.

The device will sell for $350 starting next month.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sonos support now native for Google Play Music on Android devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Apr 2014 19:58

Sonos support now native for Google Play Music on Android devices Google has announced that its Play Music service on Android devices now has native Sonos integration and support.

The new integration should allow for even easier streaming of your tracks to the hi-fi speaker system. Previously, you had to download the Sonos Controller app to cast the tracks directly to the speakers, so the new move should eliminate one step in your hectic day.

Sonos confirmed Google is the first major service to offer the native support, but there are likely to be more in the future if the feature becomes popular. "As we continue to invest in the way you experience and control your music at home, curating and managing an array of services across multiple rooms, the benefits of playing your music to Sonos directly from these very services is clear. In Google Play Music, we've found a great partner to bring this vision to life for the first time on a global scale. Together, we've created a music experience that shows how media, devices, and sound can seamlessly work together in the home," reads the Sonos blog post.

Google did note that you will still need the Controller app installed, even though you are not using it to control your music. Google Play will give you the option to select which speaker you want to the music to come from, and also which system you want it to play from, if you have a multi-room setup.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Ming Chi Kuo: Here is Apple's product roadmap for 2014

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Apr 2014 19:33

Ming Chi Kuo: Here is Apple's product roadmap for 2014 If KGI Securities analyst Ming Chi Kuo is to be believed, Apple may be headed for a huge upgrade and new product cycle this year.

Kuo, in a note to clients, provided an expected product roadmap for the year, which includes a handful of new devices. Kuo has connections in Apple's supply chain, and has been relatively accurate in the past with his notes, at least compared to most.

If true, Apple will release two iPhone 6, one at 4.7-inches and the other at 5.5-inches, huge upgrades from the current 4-inch screens of its iPhone 5, 5c and 5s.

The iWatch, rumored for over three years now, will finally be released, as well, in two sizes. Most likely this means men and women will have slightly different models.

Finally, the Apple TV will be upgraded, as will the iPad Air, iPad Mini, iMac and MacBooks, which will allegedly be getting slimmer.

All of the products are slated for the end of the Q2 all the way until the end of the Q4.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

New 'Super Smash Bros' headed to Nintendo 3DS, Wii U this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Apr 2014 19:13

New 'Super Smash Bros' headed to Nintendo 3DS, Wii U this year Nintendo has revealed narrower time frames for the release of the new Super Smash Bros on its consoles.

The company revealed more info during a 39-minute Nintendo Direct presentation earlier this week.

Smash Bros. creator Masahiro Sakurai confirmed that the 3DS version will be released ahead of its console counterpart, with the handheld game reaching shelves over the summer compared to the Wii U version hitting sometime during the winter.

Between the game, there will be some differences, most notably the stages. Additionally, the 3DS will have a 'Smash Run' mode, but the rosters are completely the same.

There will most likely be added features for the Wii U console given its later date and to incentivize gamers to possible wait for it.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nokia unveils the extremely thin, cheap Nokia 225 Internet phone for emerging markets

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Apr 2014 23:23

Nokia unveils the extremely thin, cheap Nokia 225 Internet phone for emerging markets Nokia has unveiled its new 225 phone for the emerging markets, a device the company calls its "slimmest Internet phone" to date.

Selling for just EUR39 ($54), Nokia is making the device available in five colorways starting in the Q2.

The phone has a 2.8-inch screen and will come pre-loaded with the company's Xpress Browser, which is based in the cloud and helps to optimize sites for speedier performance on 2G/3G networks. The phone has a 2MP camera, a microSD slot, a dust and splash proof keymat, and dual band 900/1800MHz network support.

In addition, the device will come with Facebook and Twitter apps and five older games: Block Breaker 3, Asphalt 6, Assassins Creed 3, The Avengers and Real Football 2012.

Nokia has promised single and dual SIM models and up to 36 days of standby time. The operating system is Series 30+, meaning Nokia has stayed away from Windows Phone here.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Motorola Mobility names Rick Osterloh as new president, COO

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Apr 2014 22:46

Motorola Mobility names Rick Osterloh as new president, COO Motorola Mobility, which was recently sold by Google to Lenovo, has named its new president and Chief Operating Officer (COO).

The executive will replace Dennis Woodside, who was CEO for MM while it was owned by Google. Woodside recently moved to Dropbox to become COO for the cloud storage startup.

Osterloh has been leading product management at Motorola for the past two years, and joined the company seven years ago via Motorola's acquisition of mobile security solutions provider Good Technology in 2007. The executive then worked at Skype overseeing design before it was acquired by Microsoft, when he then returned to Motorola.

"Since his return, Rick's had a key role in the company's reinvigoration," reads a Google post. "He's been a guiding visionary on the entire product front and a passionate advocate for our philosophy to focus everything we do on the consumer experience.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile's new Simple Starter plan offers unlimited talk, text and 500MB data for $40 per month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Apr 2014 22:33

T-Mobile's new Simple Starter plan offers unlimited talk, text and 500MB data for $40 per month T-Mobile, in their ongoing efforts to turnaround the U.S. carrier market, has offered a new plan for budget-conscious consumers.

The new "Simple Starter" plan offers unlimited text, talk and 500MB of 2G/3G/4G data for just $40 per month. The data is a strong cap, unlike T-Mobile's other plans which offer unlimited data but the speeds are throttled to 2G after the stated amount.

If you reach 500MB, you will be prompted to purchase additional data via a day or week pass, but you will not be able to use any more mobile data.

Besides the cap, there are a few more limitations, as well. The Simple Starter cannot be added to family plans, and you will not have access to T-Mobile's new, free global roaming and international texting. You can, however, use the Jump program for quicker handset upgrades, and the plan also qualifies for zero down interest-free financing like T-Mobile's other plans.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple iOS UI boss leaves company after infighting with Jony Ive

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Apr 2014 22:08

Apple iOS UI boss leaves company after infighting with Jony Ive Jony Ive, Apple's SVP of Design, may be behind the departure of another high-ranking Apple executive.

Human Interface VP Greg Christie will be leaving Apple after over twenty years, reportedly because of intense infighting between himself and Ive. Ive was also reportedly behind the firing of Scott Forstall in 2012, another executive that was close to former CEO Steve Jobs, but was said to have had friction with many co-workers.

Christie led the design of the new iOS 7 interface, and also played a prominent role in the "Slide to Unlock" feature of the iPhone.

While Christie was in charge of Apple software design, Ive received an expanded role in late 2012. The two did not agree on the direction of iOS 7, however, and Ive then reportedly took control of the design himself, undermining Christie's leadership.

Apple confirmed the move: "Greg has been planning to retire later this year after nearly 20 years at Apple. He has made vital contributions to Apple products across the board, and built a world-class Human Interface team which has worked closely with Jony for many years."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Windows Server Update Services makes Windows 8.1 Update 1 unavailable to businesses, temporarily

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Apr 2014 21:51

Windows Server Update Services makes Windows 8.1 Update 1 unavailable to businesses, temporarily According to Microsoft, if you are a business trying to update Windows via the Windows Server Update Services, you will temporarily be unable to do so due to a new bug.

The bug was preventing business users from seeing future updates when using the service, so Microsoft deciding to rollback the update for the time being.

Says the software giant of the issue: "There is a known issue which causes some PCs updated with the Windows 8.1 Update (KB 2919355) to stop scanning against Windows Server Update Services 3.0 Service Pack 2 (WSUS 3.0 SP2 or WSUS 3.2) servers which are configured to use SSL and have not enabled TLS 1.2."

Of course, you can still get the update manually, through the Windows Update Catalog or via standard MDSN. Naturally, Microsoft does not recommend getting the update until it is patched.

If you still want the update, you can avoid the bug by disabling HTTPS on WSUS and then re-enabling it once the patch is finally released.

Source:
WSUS Product Team Blog




AfterDawn: News

Google announces new Chromebook promos for businesses following death of Windows XP

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Apr 2014 20:04

Google announces new Chromebook promos for businesses following death of Windows XP Following the death of Windows XP, Google has announced a number of promotions for enterprise customers that could be willing to move to Chrome OS.

Says Google in their post: "Today marks the end of an era for computing, as Windows XP meets its maker. I remember when XP was released in 2001--it seemed like a revolution that introduced computers to a whole new generation. But fast forward 13 years and we live in a very different world--one in which we expect the latest and greatest software, and the ability to access our stuff from anywhere. Even Microsoft admits: it's time for a change."

From now until June 30th, if you buy a Chromebook for Business you will get $100 off each managed device for your company. The biggest downside risk for businesses is the fact that many employees need access to desktop apps.

Taking that into account, Google is offering $200 off Chromebooks for Business if you purchase them with VMware Desktop as a Service (DaaS). Additionally, you can get 25% off Citrix XenApp Platinum Edition, which includes AppDNA software for accelerating Windows XP migration.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Chinese regulators approve Microsoft acquisition of Nokia device and services division

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Apr 2014 23:14

Chinese regulators approve Microsoft acquisition of Nokia device and services division Last year, Microsoft announced it would be acquiring Nokia's device and services division for $7.2 billion as long as significant regulatory hurdles across continents were leaped.

Today, one of those major hurdles has been jumped as regulators in China have approved the deal.

"Nokia and Microsoft have now received regulatory approvals from the People's Republic of China, the European Commission, the U.S. Department of Justice and numerous other jurisdictions. Nokia and Microsoft continue to expect the transaction to close during April 2014, as communicated in our press release from March 24, 2014," said the Ministry of Commerce.

Microsoft had originally planned for the deal to close in the Q1, but it will miss that original deadline by a few weeks.The U.S. DOJ approved the deal back in December.

Additionally, Microsoft will license and use Nokia's mapping services. Microsoft is making a large, bold investment in the future of Windows Phone, expanding their partnership with Nokia from early 2011 that saw the start of the Lumia brand of smartphones. Microsoft is looking to "accelerate the growth of its share and profit in mobile devices through faster innovation, increased synergies, and unified branding and marketing."




AfterDawn: News

Israel sees a new cyberattack by pro-Palestinian 'Anonymous' hacktivists

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Apr 2014 22:18

Israel sees a new cyberattack by pro-Palestinian 'Anonymous' hacktivists The infamous hacktivist group Anonymous has launched another attack on the Israeli government, a year after their first such attack.

Under the group name AnonymousOpIsrael, a number of Israeli government websites were attacked, including sites for the Israeli Education Ministry, the Postal Service and the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The group, which is pro-Palestine, also posted threatening messages on YouTube demanding that our "brothers and sisters to hack, deface, hijack, database leak, admin takeover and DNS terminate the Israeli cyberspace by any means necessary."

AnonymousOpIsrael says the attack was retaliation for alleged "crimes against humanity" by Israel against the Palestinian people.

Last year's attack took down and defaced websites, and the hackers also released credit card numbers and info.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Report: Comcast wants to launch its own wireless mobile phone service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Apr 2014 19:52

Report: Comcast wants to launch its own wireless mobile phone service According to a new report, Comcast is actively considering launching its own wireless mobile phone service, one that would have to compete with massive players like Verizon, T-Mobile, Sprint and AT&T.

The service would need to used leased cellular network capacity and Wi-Fi and the service would likely be bundled with the cable provider's TV, Internet and legacy landline phone services. Such a package could certainly be attractive, especially if the prices are discounted for adding more to the bundle.

For now, any plans are in the concept stage, but it could come to fruition in the near future thanks to a deal Comcast struck with Verizon in 2011. Comcast has the right to buy access on Verizon's CDMA networks, and that could certainly provide solid network access when traffic cannot be handled on Comcast's Wi-Fi networks.

These major plans will complement their recent proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable, the U.S.' second-largest cable company, for $45 billion.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Peter Molyneux: Kinect for Xbox One is an 'unnecessary add-on'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Apr 2014 19:16

Peter Molyneux: Kinect for Xbox One is an 'unnecessary add-on' Outspoken British video game programmer Peter Molyneux has made some interesting comments about the Xbox One, which has been struggling against rival Sony's PlayStation 4.

Always known for his bold (and sometimes controversial) statements, Molyneux says that he wishes "Kinect wasn't a requirement as it feels like an unnecessary add-on" for the Xbox One. The Kinect motion control system is one Microsoft's highly touted features for gaming and gamers overwhelmingly approve.

"Maybe it's because we're in England, and it doesn't really use the TV stuff, but it feels more and more like a joke. My son and I sit there saying random things at it, and it doesn't work," added the designer when asked his thoughts on Kinect.

In the UK, the Kinect has certainly had its issues. Being able to control your TV is not possible due to poor upscaling and framerate problems.

Molyneux previously worked for Microsoft, as a producer for Lionhead Studios (acquired in 2006) and then later as the Creative Director of Microsoft Game Studios in Europe.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung sees profits fall again as demand for devices, components stagnates

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Apr 2014 18:42

Samsung sees profits fall again as demand for devices, components stagnates Despite being wildly profitable, Samsung has seen its income fall for the second straight quarter.

Operating profit fell to 8.4 trillion won (~$8 billion USD) for the quarter ended March 31st, down from its then record 8.8 trillion for the same period in 2013.

Demand has stagnated for the company's components and devices businesses, causing Samsung to move further into the mid-range tier for smartphones and tablets.

Overall sales were 53 trillion won ($50.3 billion) for the quarter, lower than the 54 trillion won expected.

The company's most profitable division was also its biggest, the mobile unit, with an estimated 5.9 trillion won in profit. This was down from 6.7 trillion won in the Q3 2013, which was a record.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

The U.S. model of the Oppo Find 7a goes up for pre-order with free gifts, quickly sells out

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Apr 2014 22:48

The U.S. model of the Oppo Find 7a goes up for pre-order with free gifts, quickly sells out Oppo made the Find 7a superphone available for pre-order today, and it quickly sold out but there appears to be some back in stock as of writing.

In addition to the great spec sheet, Oppo is also including a free blue Easy-Cover (similar to Samsung flip covers), an extra 2,800mAh battery and a 32GB microSD card (valued together at $80).

The Find 7a has a 5.5-inch 1080p display, a 2.3GHz Snapdragon 800, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage and a 2800mAh battery. The device has Gorilla Glass 3, a microSD slot (expandable up to 128GB), LTE, MaxxAudio plus Dirac HD audio enhancement and VOOC rapid charging promising "zero to 75 percent" in just 30 minutes.

At launch, the device runs on Android 4.3 (with Oppo's Color OS 1.2 user interface) and has 13MP Sony CMOS sensors that can take 50MP shots thanks to Oppo's image signal processor dubbed Pure Image 2.0. The device takes 10 quick shots, picks the best four, and combines them into a 50MP shot (8,160 x 6,120).

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

HTC posts another quarterly loss, turnaround hopes turn to M8

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Apr 2014 22:19

HTC posts another quarterly loss, turnaround hopes turn to M8 HTC has posted another quarterly loss, its second in three quarters after nearly five years of profitability.

The company's loss was NT$1.88 billion ($62 million) as sales slowed down before the launch of the flagship One (M8), a thorough upgrade from last year's smartphone of the same name.

Released on March 25th, the M8 is the centerpiece of the company's turnaround efforts, which will also include more low and mid-range range phones that can appeal to larger groups of consumers.

Chief Financial Officer Chang Chialin added that revenue fell to NT$33.1 billion ($1.1 billion) from NT$42.8 billion year over year, below expectations and forecasts.

"The company expects to see positive trajectory of its revenue in April from March and forecasts quarter-on-quarter revenue growth in the second quarter," HTC said, based on sales of the M8 and the new Desire 816.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Confirmed: Google paid $1.15 billion for Waze

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Apr 2014 21:33

Confirmed: Google paid $1.15 billion for Waze Waze, the social mapping application acquired by Google last year, sold for $1.15 billion says the company's CEO.

The Israeli startup sold for $1.15 billion says CEO Noam Bardin. Previous reports had said Facebook was also a likely suitor, and that there had been a bidding war.

Most interestingly, Bardin admitted that the founders of the company diluted their stakes in the company during funding rounds with investors. The venture capitalists and other investors took over real control of the company, and over time forced them to make some costly mistakes.

Reads the post: "There has been some speculation that we sold due to investor pressure. That was never a factor in selling! The point is that since we owned so little of the company at that point, we felt that we were "working" for our board and not ourselves and so decided we would rather work for Larry Page than our investors."

The full post is an excellent and interesting look into the startup world, and I recommend it: A Unicorn in Israel




AfterDawn: News

Twitter purchases Android lockscreen app Cover

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Apr 2014 21:10

Twitter purchases Android lockscreen app Cover Twitter has confirmed its acquisition of Cover, a lockscreen app for Android devices that lets users customize what applications and shortcuts they want to see when the phone is locked.

Cover founders Todd Jackson, Gordon Luk and Edward Ho says the app will remain live in the Google Play Store, but that could change. "If that changes down the road, we'll provide another update here," reads the blog post.

While it is unclear what Twitter will do with Cover, or what the companies are working on, the deal will certainly help Twitter to integrate better with Android. "Twitter, like Cover, believes in the incredible potential of Android," reads the post. "They share our vision that smartphones can be a lot smarter -- more useful and more contextual -- and together we're going to make that happen. We'll be building upon a lot of what makes Cover great, and we're thrilled to create something even better at Twitter."

Twitter, which is primarily a mobile-based service, makes most of its ad revenue from its mobile users and having Twitter prominently in the lockscreen is a good way to make sure users don't forget about the service. Cover was moderately popular, with over 300,000 users.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Windows Phone exec confirms version 8.1 developer preview is coming next week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Apr 2014 20:29

Windows Phone exec confirms version 8.1 developer preview is coming next week Windows Phone's Joe Belfiore has confirmed that Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview will be available next week, during the "first part of April."

All registered developers (or anyone who has registered at App Studio) will have access, but it will be notably missing some Nokia features like Cyan bits and hardware drivers for Miracast.

Among the new features not previously known, Local Scout will be available in Maps, Bing Vision is available via the native camera app, and QRcode reading is its own separate application.

Cortana, the voice-activated assistant, will also have Bing Music built-in.

The full software update will be available over the summer.

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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.

Read more...


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

Review: The powerful streaming, gaming set-top Amazon Fire TV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 17:43

Review: The powerful streaming, gaming set-top Amazon Fire TV Earlier this week, Amazon broke its silence on its long-awaited set-top box: the Fire TV.

The device, which rivals a growing amount of consumer set-tops and HDMI dongles including those from Apple, Roku, WD and Google, is another gateway to Amazon's ever growing ecosystem of applications, games, movies, TV and cloud storage.

In differentiating itself from other similar devices, Amazon has promised better gaming, better voice search and of course, the easiest access to your Amazon life. It succeeds in may of its endeavors, but the biggest question remains whether the device is worth shelling out $99 for a set-top so similar to what you may already own.

Design, Remote and Set Up




The Fire TV is as plain as you can get, but it remains sleek, at least compared to rival boxes. The tiny black box is thin, perfectly square and does a good job of hiding its port on the back. There is a small LED light on the front that lets you know the box is turned on, but other than that there is nothing else to speak of. It blends perfectly into your entertainment center, or will subtly complement your TV.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Plex is coming to the Xbox One via a third-party developer

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 16:00

Plex is coming to the Xbox One via a third-party developer Thanks to the Xbox One's independent developer program, it appears that a Plex client is on the way for the console.

Developer Tyson Edwards says he has been approved by Microsoft to develop a Plex client, which could be a game changer for the console that currently lacks decent streaming from home servers with dedicated apps.

Edwards says the client will be based off the current Windows 8 Modern UI Plex app and will also include voice and motion control via Kinect.

Universal Windows apps will not be available until the launch of Windows 8.1 later this year, so the Plex client is probably a few months away at best.

Regardless, the developer says the platform has been quite easy to develop for, which is a good sign.

Source:
Plex for Xbox One is a Go! Plex




AfterDawn: News

Google Play Store adds section letting you know what your friends are downloading

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 15:11

Google Play Store adds section letting you know what your friends are downloading Google has added a new section to its Play Store, "People," which shows off what your friends and other users are downloading.

The move comes just days after the search giant added an activity feed to the mobile app,

In the activity feed, you can see your recent reviews, ratings and of course purchases. The People section will show off what friends have recently downloaded or reviewed.

Google says the People feed will be closely tied to Google+, allowing for easier following on the social network and their full profiles.

If you are running Android, you most likely have the feed now.

Source:
9to5Google




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

Old school gaming fans play Tetris on 100,000 square foot 'display'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 12:39

Old school gaming fans play Tetris on 100,000 square foot 'display' Hundreds of old school gaming fans got a treat yesterday when they were able to play Tetris on the side of the 29-story Circa Center in Philadelphia.

Images of the giant, colorful Tetris shapes were created by the building's embedded LED lights in its external glass facade.

Anyone looking to play used joysticks to maneuver the giant lights. The game was part of the citywide series of events dubbed Philly Tech Week.

Tetris was also chosen to celebrate the upcoming 30th anniversary of the game. Frank Lee, an associate professor of digital media at Drexel University, oversaw the project. "This project began as a personal love letter to the games that I loved when I was a child - Pong last year, Tetris this year. But it ended up as a way of uniting the city of Philadelphia," Lee added.

Lee, who is already the Guinness World Record holder for the world's largest architectural video game display, made a similar stunt by playing Pong last year on the Circa Center.

Read more...


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




AfterDawn: News

Retailers sell Titanfall for Xbox 360 early; requires 1GB install on HDD

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Apr 2014 12:06

Retailers sell Titanfall for Xbox 360 early; requires 1GB install on HDD The Xbox 360 version of Titanfall has already been on sale for a couple of days from some retailers, though the copy will be useless until launch day.

Titanfall is an online-only multiplayer game, so unless you are connected to the servers while playing there is nothing you can really do with it. While some retailers broke the street date for the game by a few days already, customers will be disappointed when the put the disc in an Xbox 360 console and find that the servers won't be online until Tuesday, April 8.

The Xbox 360 version of Titanfall was supposed to be released in early March, but EA pushed back the launch until April 8.

On Xbox One and PC, Titanfall is developed by Respawn Entertainment, while the Xbox 360 version is developed by Bluepoint Games. The developer and publisher are promising as good an experience as possible on Xbox 360. It requires a 1GB install on Xbox 360 consoles with a HDD.




AfterDawn: News

Sony files DMCA takedown against Creative Commons video

Written by James Delahunty @ 06 Apr 2014 11:57

Sony files DMCA takedown against Creative Commons video Sony Pictures has filed a DMCA takedown against 'Sintel', a 2010 short film released by the Blender Foundation with all materials available under a Creative Commons Attribution License.

The Blender Foundation develops and promotes the open source 3D graphics program Blender. It is a non-profit organization, funded by donations with the stated goal of providing the Internet community with access to 3D technology.

To showcase what you can do with Blender, the Blender Foundation has released several movies since 2006 that were developed with the system.

The latest movie is Sintel, which was released in 2010 and has been available on YouTube ever since, until now. Trying to view the video on YouTube now results instead in a notification that the video contains content from Sony Picture Movies and Shows.


Of course, there is one slight problem; Sony Pictures does not own the film or anything in it. All the materials used to make the short film were original materials, and have been licensed as Creative Commons Attribution 3.0, so you can freely share the material.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

15 new types of advertisements are headed to your Twitter feed

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 11:54

15 new types of advertisements are headed to your Twitter feed Twitter, in their ongoing efforts to monetize the platform and bring in revenue, will be introducing fifteen new types of advertisements and better ways to target specific users.

The ad products will roll out over the next six months, and the first few will be available within the month. One of the first new ads will let users click a button to download apps directly via Twitter and then through their respective app stores. They are then returned to Twitter after the download begins.

Twitter's ad revenue, which accounts of nearly all of their current earnings, doubled in the Q4 YoY, to $219.6 million. The company is not profitable. The company is now beta testing a mobile app install ad unit, following in Facebook's footsteps.

Facebook offers a similar mobile advertising product and Facebook users downloaded over 245 million mobile apps after seeing those ads in their news feeds. Many gaming companies prefer to use Facebook due to the popularity of those packages of ads.

Ads have been found in user's timelines since 2010, but top executives have always suggested that they do not want to inundate streams with ads.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Five high-ranking executives leave Samsung US mobile divison

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 10:47

Five high-ranking executives leave Samsung US mobile divison According to a new report, at least five important executives have left Samsung's US mobile business in the last two months, a strange and alarming turn of events.

Samsung Telecommunications America (STA) is in charge of mobile devices in the U.S. including smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.

Among those that have left are the head of national sales, the mobile devices product chief, a lead engineer for the Gear smartwatch, the vice president of retail and channel marketing and the director of human resources. The company is in current patent-infringement suits with Apple, and the previous trials have forced STA executives to be witnesses, provide evidence or provide testimony. This may not sit right with current executives.

Samsung was asked for comment on the departures and left a generic statement. "As our US business continues to diversify and expand, we will continue to build an industry-leading organization with people who will contribute to even greater success for Samsung. Some have left voluntarily to pursue other opportunities, and we thank them for their service."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Email: Steve Jobs wanted to wage 'holy war' against Google in 2011

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 10:31

Email: Steve Jobs wanted to wage 'holy war' against Google in 2011 The ongoing Apple vs. Samsung wars have provided some interesting tidbits of information about the companies, including emails from late Apple founder Steve Jobs.

One such newly released email reveals that 2011 was set to be the year of the "holy war" against Google, and how Jobs and Apple were planning to fight.

At the time, the company was working on the iPhone 4S ("plus iPhone 4") and the iPhone 5, looking to have an LTE version of the iPhone in 2012. Additionally, the company was looking to build a low-cost iPhone model to replace the aging iPhone 3GS. All of the goals were hit with the exception of the low-cost replacement, which eventually became somewhat of a reality with the iPhone 5c.

The full 2011 strategy via the document:

- "plus" iPhone 4 with better antenna, processor, camera & software to stay ahead of competitors until mid 2012
- have LTE version in mid-2012
- create low cost iPhone model based on iPod touch to replace 3GS
- Business & competitive update
- show Droid and RIM ads
- Verizon iPhone
- schedule, marketing, ...
- iPhone 5 hardware
- H4 performance
- new antenna design, etc
- new camera
- schedule
- CONFIDENTIAL
- cost goal
- show model (and/or renderings) – Jony

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

NASA is open-sourcing some really old code with a master list of all the software

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 10:08

NASA is open-sourcing some really old code with a master list of all the software On Thursday, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (only known as NASA), will release a full list of many software projects it has been running over the last forty years including how to gain access to the open-source code behind the projects.

Among the code being made available is software for PCs, robotics, climate simulators, running rocket guidance systems and much more.

The master list will include over a thousand projects with instructions to obtain the code. NASA wants developers and budding entrepreneurs to push the software in new directions, or to use the code as foundations for new software and ideas. A lot of the code will be hard to obtain (for example, the rocket guidance system will not be given to just anybody), but if you are approved, you can use it free of charge and without royalties. You can even adapt it into commercial projects.

After the list is released, NASA will build a searchable database for all the projects. By next year, the code will be hosted in its own online repository.

NASA has been offering up their code for some time now, but never on this scale and never with such ease to find. The code that has been available has already been used in many different projects outside of space, including helping to identify endangered animals and "our design software has been used to make everything from guitars to roller coasters to Cadillacs. Scheduling software that keeps the Hubble Space Telescope operations straight has been used for scheduling MRIs at busy hospitals and as control algorithms for online dating services."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Upcoming Windows Phone 'World Flow' sets record for quickest texting on a touch screen

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 9:54

Upcoming Windows Phone 'World Flow' sets record for quickest texting on a touch screen As part of Windows 8.1, Microsoft is adding its own sliding/swiping text input, dubbed "Word Flow," which it promises will be the fastest such software available.

The virtual keyboard for Windows Phone has always been well accepted by critics and consumers, but the addition of a Swype-esque input should certainly make it more convenient. Android has native swiping input, but Apple does not.

Says Microsoft:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft unveils their own new Windows interface for cars, rivaling Apple's CarPlay

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 9:37

Microsoft unveils their own new Windows interface for cars, rivaling Apple's CarPlay Microsoft has unveiled prototypes for an upcoming Windows interface built for cars that mirrors your Windows Phone and Metro-based devices.

Last month, Apple unveiled their CarPlay interface for autos, bringing the iOS experience you are used to on your mobile devices to your car. iPhone 5, 5C and 5S users can use CarPlay to control phone calls, use Maps, play their music, and have messages dictated to them.

Similarly, Microsoft's new system will use the connectivity standard known as Mirrorlink to sync your Windows devices to the in-car entertainment system. Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, and Citroen have all confirmed they are working on new cars with Mirrorlink support, and car radio manufacturers Alpine and Pioneer are also on board.

As of writing, the prototypes are just barely usable, and Microsoft's demo at BUILD even crashed at one point when it was being unveiled. Developers will be open to build apps designed for the car, and the Windows Store marketplace will make its way over, as well. Just like Windows 8 and Windows Phone, you can swipe between different tiles and sections.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Popular image-sharing site Imgur raises $40 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Apr 2014 9:22

Popular image-sharing site Imgur raises $40 million Fans of Reddit most certainly know about the image-sharing site Imgur, as do millions of others, but a new funding round should help make the site an even more household name.

Imgur sees 130 million unique monthly visitors, 1.5 million images uploaded daily and 1.3 billion images viewed.

Despite the massive popularity, the site is infamous for being "bootstrapped," and run as lean as possible by its founder. The founder jokes that the only investment he or others have made to the site was registering the domain name for $7.

As of this week, tech investment firm Andreessen Horowitz has raised $40 million for the site, the first step in a potential long road to going public. "Being bootstrapped is great," added Alan Schaaf, the founder and chief executive of Imgur. "You own 100 percent of it. But the downside is that you aren't able to move as fast as you want."

"We've talked with over a dozen VCs and angel investors over the years," he noted. "But we've never clicked with any of them until Andreessen. During our initial meeting, we were bouncing ideas around about where Imgur could go."

The company will use the funds to hire more salespeople and engineers and eventually move to a larger office. Additionally, the company will build new mobile apps.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Will.i.am has built his own smartwatch that does not need a phone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Apr 2014 20:15

Will.i.am has built his own smartwatch that does not need a phone Will.i.am, famous for his time with the Black Eyed Peas and more recently as a major producer and tech investor, has shown off a new smartwatch that does not need a separate phone to be useful.

The project was unveiled on the Alan Carr show, and will.i.am himself funded and founded the project.

Via his own Twitter, the producer says the device should be available on sale by July.

"I don't carry my phone anymore. This is my phone," will.i.am said on the show. The device can make phone calls, can hold music, has Twitter/Instagram/Facebook integration and can be linked up with Bluetooth headphones.

The device is certainly intriguing, but there is a lot left to the imagination here.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google's Android TV is a new simplified television platform for the video content hungry

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Apr 2014 19:53

Google's Android TV is a new simplified television platform for the video content hungry Google appears to have moved on from their failed Google TV endeavor with a new TV interface that should make fans of content very happy: Android TV.

A new report from the Verge, citing exclusively obtained documents and pictures, claims Android TV is already in the works, with video app providers already building for the platform. "Android TV is an entertainment interface, not a computing platform," writes Google in the documents. "It's all about finding and enjoying content with the least amount of friction." It will be "cinematic, fun, fluid, and fast."

While Google TV tried to change how we watch TV and content, Android TV will just make it easier to find what you are looking for, using the Google formats popular to a billion Android device owners.

The platform will rely on simple TV apps (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus, Crackle, VUDU, Plex and plenty more) and scrolling cards (think Google Now) that show off apps, movies, games, TV, etc.

A remote control with a simple D-Pad allows you to scroll through the content, which will include curated suggestions. Each category will have its own up/down/left/right options. Additionally, the controller will have "enter," "home" and "back" buttons for navigation and in the future there will be game controllers similar to Amazon's newly unveiled Kindle Fire TV.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

New 'DOOM' beta will be available only on PS4, PC and Xbox One

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Apr 2014 19:27

New 'DOOM' beta will be available only on PS4, PC and Xbox One Thanks to the new Wolfenstein: The New Order FAQ, we know the upcoming DOOM beta will only be available for the PS4, Xbox One and PC, leaving out older consoles like the PS3 and Xbox 360.

Developer Bethesda snuck the news into the FAQ, along with the news that codes for the beta that are included with pre-orders of Wolfenstein will be codes for the console you bought the game for. For example, if you pre-ordered Wolfenstein for the PS4, the DOOM beta code will only be good for the PS4.

Bethesda also says that pre-ordering is the only way to guarantee access to the beta. That guarantee does not include also retailers though: "Other digital retailers' processes and/or participation may vary. We suggest contacting your preferred retailer directly for additional information."

While Wolfenstein: The New Order releases May 20th in NA, it is still unclear when the DOOM beta will launch.

Source:

'DOOM' Beta Only Available on PC, PS4 & Xbox One Gamerant




AfterDawn: News

Amazon's unlimited music streaming service could launch in May

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Apr 2014 19:11

Amazon's unlimited music streaming service could launch in May According to a new leak, it appears that Amazon's oft-rumored unlimited streaming music service could launch as early as next month.

Sources have posted part of a licensing agreement, claiming it was obtained from a major music publisher, which states that Amazon is planning to launch "one or more digital music subscription service(s)."

In addition, the services would be made available as part of a "bundle with one or more other Amazon products or services." This suggests the service will be bundled with Prime, the $99 subscription package that gives access to the free Prime Video catalog, free 2-day shipping on millions of items, and free Kindle books and more.

The contract also says that Amazon could offer free access to the streaming music, but with limitations, likely if you do not want to be a part of Prime. The limits could be as low as one play per free track.

If accurate, the sources claim that the contracts must all be signed by May 1st, meaning the service could be available starting next month.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Amazon unveils Dash shopping accessory with microphone and LED scanner

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Apr 2014 18:50

Amazon unveils Dash shopping accessory with microphone and LED scanner Amazon has unveiled its "Dash" shopping accessory this week, a stick that includes an LED scanner and microphone for voice search with the ultimate goal of helping you build a shopping list.

After using the accessory, the Wi-Fi enabled device will connect to your home network or your phone and allow you to view the items and purchase them via Amazon.

For the time being, the stick is available to AmazonFresh users, which means you are in Southern California, San Fran or Seattle. Amazon Fresh offers same-day delivery of groceries to your home.

The device works similarly to the Amazon smartphone app which allows you to scan barcodes but it could facilitate the process with one-click access and voice search.

Check the getting started video, and the promo trailer:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Boycott Firefox! Gay marriage opponents call boycott after CEO ousting

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 18:48

Boycott Firefox! Gay marriage opponents call boycott after CEO ousting Following the resignation of Brendan Eich from Mozilla amidst a backlash over a donation he made to the California Proposition 8 campaign, Mozilla has come under fire again.

As you would expect, opponents of gay marriage in the United States sympathize with Brendan Eich, and are lashing out at Mozilla after he resigned from his position as chief executive, which he held only for a number of weeks.

One such group is the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), which is calling on consumers to uninstall Mozilla's Firefox browser as a protest.

"This is a McCarthyesque witch hunt that makes the term 'thought police' seem modest," said Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage. "We urge all consumers to remove Mozilla's Firefox web browser from their computers as a sign of protest."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Facebook's face recognition catching up to humans

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 17:57

Facebook's face recognition catching up to humans Facebook has published an interesting research paper on its site surrounding new facial recognition technology called "DeepFace".

In a paper, eerily titled, "Closing the Gap to Human-Level Performance in Face Verification," the researchers detail a system that can confirm that two pictures show the same person accurately 97.25 percent of the time, compared to humans who have been recorded at around 97.53 percent accuracy.

The interesting thing about the technology detailed in the paper is that unlike other facial recognition systems (such as one Facebook currently uses itself), this system does not require a detailed frontal picture of the face.

Instead, it uses "3D modelling" to help it confirm an identity even when a head is turned somewhat in a picture. The DeepFace system conducts its analysis based on more than 120 million different parameters.

"We don't currently use the techniques discussed in the paper on Facebook," said Facebook spokeswoman Lydia Chan, reports CNN.

Intel has also developed technology that can use facial detection cameras and software to determine a person's approximate age and gender, and retrieve information, like ads, that suit.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy S5 Zoom specs revealed

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 17:18

Samsung Galaxy S5 Zoom specs revealed The specs for Samsung's Galaxy S5 Zoom smartphone have been revealed in a SamMobile report.

Following on from the Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom, Samsung seem to be releasing a Galaxy S5 Zoom for those who want even better image quality than the Galaxy S5 can offer. The details were leaked in benchmark details, and SamMobile has revealed them.

  • SuperAMOLED HD (1280x720) display
  • SoC: Six Core Samsung Exynos 5 Hexa (5260), two 1.7GHz Cortex-A15 cores and four 1.3GHz Cortex-A7 cores
  • Quad-core ARM Mali-T624 GPU
  • 2GB of RAM
  • 20.2-Megapixel (5184×3888) camera sensor with Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS)
  • 10x optical zoom
  • 2.1-Megapixel (1920×1080) front facing camera
  • MicroSD
  • Android 4.4 KitKat & TouchWiz
  • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi Direct
  • DLNA
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • NFC
You can also see results from the Antutu Benchmark at SamMobile.




AfterDawn: News

Xbox One will get external storage support soon

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 16:59

Xbox One will get external storage support soon Microsoft's Larry Hryb (Major Nelson) has confirmed that the Xbox One console will get support for game storage through external devices in an update coming soon.

The Xbox 360 console got support for external storage in an update back in 2010. Since then the support has expanded to allow external devices up to 32GB in size.

Hryb confirmed that the Xbox One console would also get support for external storage in a comment made on the Xbox One subreddit.

"External game storage is coming soon....I need to check on media support," he said. When asked for details on the limitations for the storage devices, he could only respond, "When I have details on that , I'll let you know."


Sources:
Major Nelson: Xbox One getting external data storage support 'soon': www.joystiq.com
Xbox one - momentum, single comment: www.reddit.com/r/xboxone/




AfterDawn: News

Xbox head Phil Spencer talks future of Xbox (+video)

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 16:00

Xbox head Phil Spencer talks future of Xbox (+video) The new Xbox boss Phil Spencer took time out to talk to Larry Hryb (Major Nelson) about how the Xbox brand and technology will be shaped and used in the near-future.

In the interview, Spencer admits that he read plenty of articles and posts from forums about the things that he needs to change at Xbox after the news about his appointment went public. From those, and from gaming forums and social media, he said he received plenty of good ideas, and when asked if he copy and pasted them to his to-do list, he replied: "It sounds corny.. but yes."

As for the immediate plans, Spencer is focused on Microsoft's message and demonstrations for E3, because this year's event will be extremely important to use as an exhibition of changes.

In the interview, Spencer admits that he felt Microsoft made some bad decisions last year but there was plenty of moves in the right direction from the company too.

Check out the interview below...

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Xbox One update fixes controller issues

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 14:56

Xbox One update fixes controller issues A new Xbox One system update includes another firmware update for controllers to fix several problems that have been reported by users.

The latest 1404 update (xb_rel_1404.140331-2200) includes a bunch of fixes, among them a firmware update for Xbox One controllers to fix a variety of issues, the second time Microsoft has pushed out a firmware update for controllers since launch.

Users reported problems with controllers disconnecting and also issues with headset quality.

Here's a list of fixes so far from a NeoGAF thread...

  • Ongoing fixes and adjustments to the user interface.
  • Additional fixes to address audio crackling sound encountered when Dolby Digital is enabled.
  • Fixes for Blu-ray software issues that can result in 0x21 or 0x87de07d1 errors.
  • Update to address an issue where ejecting a Blu-ray disc after the drive is idle can result in the disc being pulled back in, requiring a second eject command.
  • Fix to address Kinect not responding to "yes" or "no" after issuing the "Xbox, turn off" command.
  • Updates to reduce or eliminate Blu-ray drive "seeking" sounds after drive is idle (experienced in the 1403 update.)
  • *NEW CONTROLLER FIRMWARE UPDATE*
  • Update to help address controller disconnect issues.
  • Update to help address headset adapter audio quality.
  • Fix for LiveTV audio outputting in stereo instead of surround sound.
  • Update for the Blu-ray player to fix an issue where it can freeze if left idle or paused for an extended period of time.
  • Update to fix an issue where fast forwarding or rewinding an external video source results in screen freezing when surround sound is enabled.
  • Fix for video playback stuttering while audio plays back normally in several apps (Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, etc.)
  • Game save progress bar will now display when syncing cloud game saves.
  • 50Hz Blu-ray player support for content recorded at 50Hz.
  • Improved GameDVR video quality.
  • Online friends notification, including the ability to filter notifications to all friends, favorites only, or disable friends online notifications altogether.
  • *NEW FEATURE* Requested by the update preview community: Manually install available updates. If a new system update is detected as available, a button will appear under Settings, System that will display "Apply Available System Update." Note: this feature is being enabled after this current update completes installation. This feature will be available to preview when the next update is made available.
  • *NEW FEATURE* A new ability to automatically redeem a license code from console messages. For future console messages that include a 5x5 license code, a new option will appear to allow you to automatically redeem the license, versus having to copy and paste the license code.

The update has been pushed out to preview participants, one of whom on Engadget reported that the update fixed al;l audio popping issues with the Xbox One headset.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

YouTube rival to Spotify is delayed again

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 14:35

YouTube rival to Spotify is delayed again YouTube was reportedly preparing to launch a subscription music service to rival Spotify and others by the end of 2013, but it was delayed.

A new report suggests that the service has now been delayed again until during the second quarter, or later. The problem, according to sources speaking with Billboard, is that Google higher-ups are insisting that the service is launched "right," and is an immediately viable competitor.

Historically, Google products have launched in limited, beta phases. Even one of Google's most successful services, GMail (which just turned 10 year old) spent a whopping five years in beta after it launched in 2004.

This time the feeling at the company is a YouTube rival to other subscription services must be competitive and must be "right" from day one.

"They feel that there's just too much scrutiny of this product, and that they need to get it right out of the gate," said an unnamed label executive, reports Billboard.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Slysoft owner 'criminally guilty' for Blu-ray ripping software

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 13:59

Slysoft owner 'criminally guilty' for Blu-ray ripping software Slysoft owner Giancarlo Bettini has reportedly been found criminally guilty in Antigua of making Blu-ray ripping software.

Slysoft develops and distributes a bunch of tools for DVD, Blu-ray disc creation and ripping. One of those tools is AnyDVD HD, which can decrypt the contents of Blu-ray Discs so that the raw structure containing the content can be ripped from the disc.

According to reports, AACS LA targeted Bettini in Antigua, where Slysoft is located. Due to a clause in Antigua's copyright laws, it is possible to be fined or even imprisoned for distributing tools that circumvent copy protection mechanisms.

Bettini has been found criminally guilty and has been ordered to pay a fine of $30,000 or face imprisonment.

The decision will come as a surprise since Antigua is seen as a very lax territory when it comes to copyright enforcement.

Slysoft and Bettini intend to appeal the verdict, and as of now, all of Slysoft's products are still on sale from the company's website.




AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm to triple Wi-Fi speeds with MU-MIMO chipsets

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 13:50

Qualcomm to triple Wi-Fi speeds with MU-MIMO chipsets Qualcomm is aiming to drastically increase Wi-Fi performance, particularly on networks with a lot of users, with its new MU-MIMO chipsets.

The goal is to achieve better overall Wi-Fi speeds on networks by making more efficient use of network capacity. With standard Wi-Fi, clients are served sequentially; during this time, only one device is sending and receiving information, thus only a small portion of network capacity is being used.

The accumulation of these sequential events creates a drop in throughput and capacity as more devices join the network. MU-MIMO (Multi-User MIMO) enables simultaneous transmission to groups of clients, making more efficient use of available Wi-Fi network capacity and speeding up transmissions.

In order to extract the maximum benefits of MU-MIMO, it must be used on both sides of the connection. To accelerate the benefits of MU-MIMO for more Wi-Fi users, Qualcomm Atheros is providing a complete ecosystem of solutions for networking products, as well as smartphones, tablets, computers, consumer electronics and automobiles.

"Great connectivity is not just about increasing the absolute speed. It's about making better use of network and airtime efficiency to support the growing number of connected devices, services and applications," said Dan Rabinovitsj, senior vice president, Qualcomm Atheros, Inc.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Crackle gets NBCUniversal streaming rights, including 'Ray', 'King Kong'

Written by James Delahunty @ 05 Apr 2014 12:50

Crackle gets NBCUniversal streaming rights, including 'Ray', 'King Kong' Crackle has announced a multi-year agreement with NBCUniversal that will give it exclusive rights to feature films from the studios library.

Over the next three years, more than 140 titles will roll out from the NBCUniversal, starting from this weekend. The deal gives Crackle the exclusive ad-supported video on demand (AVOD) rights to a variety of feature films including Miami Vice, starring Colin Farrel and Jamie Foxx, Jarhead and Peter Jackson's King Kong.

The Sony-owned Crackle streaming service is available in 21 countries and features some exclusive content, including "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee," with Jerry Seinfeld.

Financial terms of the deal stuck with NBCUniversal were not disclosed by either party.

"As an ad-supported, over-the-top network we pride ourselves on having a prime selection of premium content. Bringing NBCUniversal's collection of library films to Crackle complements our original programming and reinforces our commitment to provide viewers with even more streaming choices," said Philip Lynch, senior vice president of Digital Networks & Games for Sony Pictures Television.




AfterDawn: News

Apple acquires veteran speech recognition company Novauris

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Apr 2014 0:49

Apple acquires veteran speech recognition company Novauris Apple has acquired the veteran automatic speech recognition (ASR) firm Novauris Technologies.

Novauris was split from the British research division of Dragon Systems, now known as Nuance Communications, popular for their voice dictation and voice search technology. The company is full of voice tech vets, including those who worked at Nortel, Aurix, Dragon and SRI (the company that helped build Siri).

Apple, as is their standard comment, says "Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans."

Supposedly, Apple made the acquisition last year and the team has been working on improving Siri, which has its share of problems.

Novauris Technologies has a full list customers including Verizon Wireless, Panasonic, Samsung, SingTel, Alpine, BMW and many more.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Intel unveils 64-bit Android kernel and new SoC for Chromebooks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Apr 2014 22:45

Intel unveils 64-bit Android kernel and new SoC for Chromebooks Intel has shown off some interesting new chips this week, including a 64-bit Android kernel and a new SoC aimed at Chromebooks and other low-end PCs.

Codenamed 'Braswell,'the new SoC will be the successor to the current-generation Bay Trail processors found in Chromebooks and cheaper Windows PCs. The new SoC will be built on the efficient 14nm manufacturing process and will offer improved performance along with better power efficiency.

The 64-bit Android kernel is optimized for Intel Architecture (IA) devices and Android 4.4, even though the OS is 32-bit. "With this release, the company ported, validated and tested the Android Open Source code on IA, taking on the work that developers typically would need to do on their own. This release will provide the ecosystem with 64-bit kernel support for development of next-generation devices," says the company.

Finally,the company discussed two other mobile chips: The SoFIA 3G and the Intel XMM 7260. The 3G is a dual-chip SoC aimed at low-end smartphones. The XMM has five-mode support, including the Chinese 4G TD-LTE and TD-SCDMA networks, which should increase Intel's potential base significantly.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung praised for Galaxy S5's anti-theft features

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Apr 2014 22:22

Samsung praised for Galaxy S5's anti-theft features Samsung has received praise from official due to the inclusion of anti-theft features in the Galaxy S5 smartphone.

Samsung's Galaxy S5 will come with two features: Find My Phone and Reactivation Lock. Find My Phone allows a phone owner to track down their device in the event that it gets stolen or is lost. Reactivation Lock is a feature that can be set to require the owner's account information to perform a reset.

"The decision ... to provide Samsung's Find My Mobile and Reactivation Lock features on Galaxy S5 smartphones and to allow those features to be activated for free is a step forward in our effort to ensure the industry makes effective theft deterrents available on every smartphone sold in America," a joint statement from New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman, and San Francisco's district attorney, George Gascon, reads.

The pair have been raising the issue of smartphone theft in the United States as more and more Americans are held up for their phones. They argue that if every smartphone in the United States had a "Kill Switch" that could be activated remotely, it would destroy the value of such items in the black market and reduce the incentive to steal them.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple's annual WWDC will begin on June 2nd

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Apr 2014 22:18

Apple's annual WWDC will begin on June 2nd Apple has announced this week that its annual Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) will begin on June 2nd and extend through June 6th.

The company will reveal upcoming features for iOS and OS X, giving developers a first look from over 1000 Apple engineers.

"We have the most amazing developer community in the world and have a great week planned for them," said Philip Schiller, Apple's SVP of Worldwide Marketing. "Every year the WWDC audience becomes more diverse, with developers from almost every discipline you can imagine and coming from every corner of the globe. We look forward to sharing with them our latest advances in iOS and OS X so they can create the next generation of great apps."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Final Fantasy XIV beta on PS4 open to all

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Apr 2014 22:07

Final Fantasy XIV beta on PS4 open to all Ahead of its anticipated launch on April 14th on the PlayStation 4 (PS4), you can check out a beta of the Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn this weekend.

To get the beta, just head to the PlayStation Store and search for it this weekend, April 4 - April 7. Remember to uninstall the first beta client if you have it installed.

The beta will take place on live servers. So you will see the same worlds, the same game that 1.8 million players all around the world are already enjoying.

Those who have pre-ordered FFXIV will be able to access the game from April 11 - April 13 before everyone else. You can start building your character, getting a head start and making friends from all over the globe.

Remember, users currently playing Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn on PlayStation 3 are eligible to upgrade to the PlayStation 4 version starting 11 April, 2014 for free.


Sources and Recommended Reading:
FXIV: ARR launching on the PS4 in 14 days!: na.square-enix.com
"PS4" Upgrade Campaign: eu.finalfantasyxiv.com

(via: Engagdet)




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft reaches 400,000 apps between Windows and Windows Phone stores, universal apps coming soon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Apr 2014 22:00

Microsoft reaches 400,000 apps between Windows and Windows Phone stores, universal apps coming soon Microsoft has confirmed a few milestones for its application stores this week.

The software giant says there are over 400,000 apps now available between the Windows Phone Store and the Windows Store. It was recently unveiled that the Windows Store had just reached 150,000, implying the Windows Phone Store is at 250,000, a significant number for sure, but still behind the iOS App Store and the Google Play Store, which have a million a piece.

In addition, the two app stores are now seeing a combined 14 million in daily app downloads.

The company recently announced that all Windows devices will be getting universal apps due to a new Windows RunTime ecosystem to launch with Windows Phone 8.1.

Developers will be able to use common code and have their applications work on Windows phones, PCs, tablets and even the Xbox One. The experience can be modified for screen size and different environments while keeping most of the code the same.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Minecraft sales on Xbox 360 reach 12 million

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Apr 2014 21:51

Minecraft sales on Xbox 360 reach 12 million The Xbox 360 Edition of Minecraft has reached over 12 million sales, and the Xbox One edition will be coming, eventually.

The milestone was announced by the official Xbox website along with a Q&A with Mojang's Daniel Kaplan about Minecraft: Xbox 360 Edition". Kaplan said that they never would have imagined the game being so successful.

"I remember when we started talking about sales numbers that we would be super happy to sell 1 million copies. That would have put us on par with BF1943 and Castle Crashers, which both are awesome games, so that was something to aim for. We never even dreamed of selling 12 million," he said.

The most requested feature addition they are hounded for is bigger worlds, but Kaplan explained that bigger worlds would require the guarantee of a hard drive in every Xbox 360.

"Since not all 360's ship with hard drives that makes things tricky. Luckily, on Xbox One, that's not an issue," he said.

On Xbox One, Kaplan said that the Minecraft: Xbox One Edition" will be coming, "eventually."


Sources and Recommended Reading:
Minecraft Creeps Past 12 Million Sold on Xbox 360: news.xbox.com




AfterDawn: News

Google fined €1 million in Italy

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Apr 2014 21:43

Google fined €1 million in Italy Google has been fined €1 million ($1.4 million) in Italy because its Street View vehicles were not clearly recognizable.

Italy's data protection watchdog imposed the fine on Google for not making the Street View cars it used to photograph Italian streets in 2010 clearly recognizable to the general public.

"Cars belonging to the giant of Mountain View roamed Italy's streets without being entirely recognizable as such, therefore not allowing the people present in those places to decide whether to be photographed or not," the Italian regulator said, reports Reuters.

In 2013, Google was fined €145,000 in Germany because its Street View cars had accidentally intercepted payload data from unsecured wireless networks.

It has also been sued for the accidental data collection in the United States, where it is being accused of violating federal wiretap laws.




AfterDawn: News

Russian social network VK sued by labels for piracy on a major scale

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Apr 2014 21:30

Russian social network VK sued by labels for piracy on a major scale Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music have filed suit against major Russian social network vKontakte (VK) over "large scale music piracy" being facilitated through its services.

The Russian divisions of the major labels each filed separate lawsuits, in conjunction with local industry group NFMI and the IFPI.

vKontakte, which has 145 million registered users (with over half in Russia) has never inked licensing deals with content rights holders and is allegedly keeping a massive catalog of music uploaded by its users, at least according to the labels. "VK's music service, unlike others in Russia, is an unlicensed file-sharing service that is designed for copyright infringement on a large scale," noted IFPI chief executive Frances Moore. "We have repeatedly highlighted this problem over a long period of time. We have encouraged VK to cease its infringements and negotiate with record companies to become a licensed service. To date the company has taken no meaningful steps to tackle the problem, so today legal proceedings are being commenced."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

New Samsung ATIV SE Windows Phone goes up for pre-order

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Apr 2014 20:51

New Samsung ATIV SE Windows Phone goes up for pre-order Samsung has made the ATIV SE official, following a few major leaks.

The Windows Phone 8 device has a 5-inch 1080p display, a 2.2GHz quad-core processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, a microSD slot, a 2600mAh battery and a 13MP rear-facing camera.

Samsung has included an infra-red blaster, allowing for control of home devices like TVs, 'Ativ Beam' for quick NFC-based sharing to other Samsung devices, and other Samsung applications. The device also has 4G LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 and all other standard radios.

The company's latest appears to have a rather refined design compared to the colorful and plastic Lumias, with a silver brushed look.

Verizon has the phone up for pre-order, priced at $200 with two-year contact and a ship date of April 12th. If you prefer to go without a contract, you can get the device for $600.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

ASUS Radeon R9 295X2 revealed along with specs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Apr 2014 19:45

ASUS Radeon R9 295X2 revealed along with specs The much-anticipated Radeon R9 295X2 'Vesuvius' has been unveiled in leaked press images, along with its specs.

Built first by Asus, the 295X2 features two Hawaii XT cores with GCN 1.1 architecture, with the GPUs featuring 2816 x 2 stream processors, 176 x 2 texture mapping units and 64 x 2 Raster Operators.

The GPUs each have 4GB GDDR5 RAM, totaling an impressive 8GB of GDDR5 running a "512B X 2 memory bus that is clocked at 1250 MHz effective clock speed."

As far as display outlets go, there are four Display Ports and a DVI port. 4K and multiple monitors should certainly not be an issue with the card.

To cool the beast, AMD has begun using their Project Hydra hybrid cooling system. The card has a 120mm radiator that must be installed into your PC with two fans that lead to two 38cm coolant pipes.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Plans to dig up desert in search of millions of copies of E.T. for Atari gets final approval

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Apr 2014 19:13

Plans to dig up desert in search of millions of copies of E.T. for Atari gets final approval Last year, we reported that a documentary crew had received preliminary approval to dig up a site in New Mexico where Atari allegedly buried millions of unsold Atari 2600 consoles and games.

The urban legend of the desert site has been around for at least two decades, and gamers (and former gamers) have been following the story, us included.

As of this week, the New Mexico Environmental Department has given final approval, pending some stipulations. Fuel Entertainment (the documentary crew), Xbox Entertainment Studios and LightBox Entertainment will be allowed to dig up the site, but must notify the NMED "five working days before any excavation begins and the companies who haul the waste must register as certified or commercial haulers of waste with the NMED before they can remove any waste from the site."

The alleged games and consoles, which supposedly include millions of copies of the awful E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, were buried in September 1983. That year, the video game industry saw a large downtrend due to greater market factors, leaving Atari with millions of unsold and sealed consoles and games, including over 3 million copies of E.T. The company then, according to the myth, dumped the unsold merchandise in the Alamogordo landfill which was later covered by concrete.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Turkey lifts Twitter ban after court ruling, international pressure

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Apr 2014 12:54

Turkey lifts Twitter ban after court ruling, international pressure Turkey's telecoms authority has confirmed that a two week ban on Twitter has been lifted in the country following a court ruling found it breached freedom of expression.

Twitter had been blocked in Turkey for several weeks after leaked audio recordings of top officials were spread around using the microblogging site. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the recordings as illegitimate and claimed they were part of a smear campaign against his government ahead of an election.

Access to Twitter was blocked in the country ahead of the election, and later on Google's YouTube service was also blocked when recordings were uploaded there.

Opponents of the government claimed the move was an authoritarian attempt to bury a corruption scandal that has plagued Erdogan's rule. It was condemned by the international community also.

Earlier this week, a constitutional court found that blocking Twitter violated freedom of expression, and today access was restored for most users in the country, reports Reuters. However, access to YouTube has not been fully restored as of yet.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google trying to trademark 'Glass', encountering opposition

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Apr 2014 12:32

Google trying to trademark 'Glass', encountering opposition Google is attempting to trademark the word 'Glass' but is encountering resistance from the U.S. trademark office and at least one other company.

The search giant has already trademarked 'Google Glass', its 'smart glasses' that have yet to hit retail. However, it would much prefer to have a trademark for the word 'Glass' for its product, and submitted an application for it last year.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office responded to Google by letter, in which a trademark examiner had two main concerns. The first concern is the possibility of consumer confusion, due to similarities with existing or pending trademarks.

The second concern is that 'Glass' is just a descriptive term, and descriptive terms are not entitled to trademark protection.

Google completely disagree, of course, and responded with a 1928 page letter consisting mostly of media coverage of Google Glass. It also argues that Glass is not a descriptive term for Google Glass at all, because the frame and display components don't consist of Glass, but instead are made from plastic and titanium.

The Wall Street Journal also reports that Border Stylo, LLC - which develops a browser extension called 'Write on Glass' - has filed a notice of opposition to Google's application.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Five year old hacks Xbox One account, gets reward from Microsoft

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Apr 2014 12:09

Five year old hacks Xbox One account, gets reward from Microsoft Microsoft has thanked a five year old boy for discovering a flaw in its Xbox One system that allowed him to log into his Dad's account without a password.

Kristoffer Von Hassel, from San Diego, discovered a way to get into his father's account and play games he wasn't supposed to. When his Dad noticed, his career in computer security took precedent over any displeasure over his account being hacked, and he asked his son to explain to him how he was doing it.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft: 12 million Office for iPad downloads in first week

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Apr 2014 11:42

Microsoft: 12 million Office for iPad downloads in first week Microsoft has revealed that Office for iPad apps have been downloaded over 12 million times in just a week.

The Redmond-giant made its Office for iPad suite of applications available for Apple's flagship tablet last week, giving iPad users the ability to view Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote material. In order to create and edited documents, users need to pay a monthly subscription fee.

Microsoft announced the impressive download figures through its Office Twitter account.



What Microsoft did not divulge however is how many new Office 365 subscriptions that the 12 million downloads translated to. The company is making a bet that users of its previous Office applications for Windows will choose to continue with its Office products on Apple's platform, rather than take advantage of free office apps already available.




AfterDawn: News

Nest halts smoke alarm sales, cites safety concerns

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 21:11

Nest halts smoke alarm sales, cites safety concerns Google's Nest has halted sales of its Nest Protect smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector after discovering a flaw that could delay an alarm going off during a fire.

The Nest Protect: Smoke + Carbon Monoxide alarm is a smart connected device that aims to replace old fashioned smoke alarms. Among its features is 'Nest Wave', which is the ability to disable an alarm by waving at the device.

During routine rigorous testing, Nest discovered a potential flaw that called into question whether Nest Wave could be unintentionally activated. In the worst case scenario, a flaw of this nature could delay an alarm sounding if smoke was detected.

It is important to remember that no reports of such a scenario have been made by any Nest customer, and that this potential flaw was discovered in-house.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Mozilla CEO steps down in gay marriage row

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 19:19

Mozilla CEO steps down in gay marriage row Brendan Eich has stepped down from the role of chief executive at Mozilla following a considerable backlash to donations he made to the California Proposition 8 campaign in 2008.

After only being in the position of CEO at Mozilla for a number of weeks, internal unrest saw employees publicly call for Eich to resign. The point of contention was Eich's views on marriage equality with his history of opposition to gay marriage.

Former CEOs Gary Kovacs and John Lilly, along with Shmoop CEO Ellen Siminoff, stepped down from the Mozilla board not long after Eich was promoted. They had hoped for an outsider to take over the role, and believed Eich was a liability for Mozilla, its products, services and customers.

Earlier this week, online dating site OkCupid took a strong stance against Mozilla with Eich at the helm, with a letter to users urging them to drop Firefox while he remains chief executive.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung's promo of Obama selfie irks White House

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 18:49

Samsung's promo of Obama selfie irks White House The White House is not very pleased after Samsung used a selfie taken of Red Sox' David Ortiz and President Barack Obama in a promo tweet.

Ortiz took the rare chance to grab a selfie with the President when the Red Sox recently visited the White House. He then went on to tweet the selfie with the words "What an honor! Thanks for the #selfie, @BarackObama," and so far so good. However, Samsung then tweeted the image to its 5.2 million followers, upsetting the White House.

As a general rule, the President's image should not be used for commercial purposes and the White House clearly feels that Samsung did exactly that. The South Korean firm was able to use the content through a pre-existing deal.

"Without getting into counsel's discussions, I can tell you that as a rule, the White House objects to attempts to use the president's likeness for commercial purposes, and we certainly object in this case," said White House spokesman Jay Carney, reports Reuters.

After Samsung tweeted the image, it pointed out through its @SamsungMobileUS account that the photo had been taken with a Galaxy Note 3, which explains why the White House feels Samsung used the President's image to promote its products.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Xbox boss: Virtual Reality is not a 'fad'

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 18:27

Xbox boss: Virtual Reality is not a 'fad' Newly appointed head of Xbox, Phil Spencer, has said that Virtual Reality (VR) is not a fad after Xbox co-creator Ed Fries cast doubt on its potential to help Xbox One beat PS4.

Ed Fries had commented that Microsoft needs to stick to core gaming and services for its users in order to beat PlayStation 4 (PS4) in the current console generation. He stressed that making great gaming content with blockbuster IP and delivering the best services through Xbox could help Microsoft to overcome Sony.

Fries said: "They need better exclusive games than PS4. They need to be more open to indie developers. They need to adopt free to play gaming more aggressively. They need to continue to move Xbox Live forward as the leading online service. They need to show people why they included the new Kinect on every machine by demonstrating a compelling use for it."

In the area of VR however, Fries warned that Microsoft should look at the collapse of 3D demand before taking the VR route to compete with the PS4. Facebook's recent $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift and Sony's own Project Morpheus show that VR is in the pipeline in any event, and Microsoft is known to be developing a VR system of its own, and also has reportedly spent around $150 million on wearable technology assets.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Record labels target social network for piracy

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 18:07

Record labels target social network for piracy Record labels are targeting the so called 'Facebook of Russia' with a legal case over alleged large-scale copyright infringement by the service.

The legal complaint has been made under the guidance of the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) trade group, with Universal Music Group, Warner and Sony Music all filing a case.

VKontakte has been described as the 'Facebook of Russia', and it has been accused by the record companies of amassing a huge library of music that it does not have to rights to offer as part of its service. The goal is to get a Russian court to force MK to remove infringing files from its service.

"We have repeatedly highlighted this problem over a long period of time," said IFPI chief exec Frances Moore.

"We have encouraged VK to cease its infringements and negotiate with record companies to become a licensed service. To date the company has taken no meaningful steps to tackle the problem, so today legal proceedings are being commenced."

VK has been noted as a problematic service in the US Trade Representative's annual report for four consecutive years now.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Ouya: Fire TV not 'dedicated to games'

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 17:40

Ouya: Fire TV not 'dedicated to games' Ouya chief executive Julie Uhrman has stressed that Amazon's new Fire TV box is not solely dedicated to games like Ouya is, dismissing claims that Fire TV will damage the Android console.

Amazon launched its Fire TV set-top box yesterday. The device sells for $99 with optional gaming controllers at $39.99 each. It plays Android games and has plenty of support from big name studios in its corner.

Gaming is definitely not Fire TV's main purpose; even Amazon admits to that. Still, the availability of Fire TV had some commentators writing off Ouya's survival chances, as Amazon is such a giant to grapple with and games developers will be very interested in Fire TV going forward.

"Just as Amazon blazed a trail for a new way of selling online, Ouya invented a new way to think about console games. But for us, games are not simply an 'added bonus', they are the whole point," Uhrman said to CVG.

"Ouya is solely dedicated to the devs creating games, and the players who play them, their ideal experience is all we think about."

That said, Amazon has made a few splashes that suggest gaming will be more important to it going forward. It recently acquired Double Helix, and hired designers Kim Swift and Clint Hocking, who worked on Portal and Far Cry 2, respectively.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Increasing 'revenge porn' incidents must be tackled, charities warn

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 17:09

Increasing 'revenge porn' incidents must be tackled, charities warn Several charities are warning about increasing reports from victims of 'revenge porn', and feel the example set in some U.S. states must be followed to curb the growing problem.

In a nutshell, 'revenge porn' is sexually explicit material uploaded by ex-partners after relationships have gone sour. In some cases, victims even had their personal details posted publicly along with the explicit material.

In the UK, several charitable organizations have voiced concerns over rising levels of such incidents, including the National Stalking Helpline, Women's Aid and the UK Safer Internet Centre, reports the BBC News website.

Several states in the U.S. have already introduced laws that tackle revenge porn, and have been tested. In New Jersey, a man was jailed for six months for posting explicit photos of an ex-partner whom he has been in a relationship with for over ten years.

She said she made a stupid mistake by giving him the pictures in the first place, but that she never thought he would do something like this. The pictures spread quickly from being on three sites, to over 200, causing the woman considerable distress.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Ridley Scott working on Halo project

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 16:51

Ridley Scott working on Halo project Microsoft has confirmed that Ridley Scott is part of a new Halo project in development, but has not been liberal with details as of yet.

According to Microsoft, Scott will serve as executive producer on the project, but it is completely unclear what is under production. Halo has had trouble making it to the big screen, and sadly this project isn't likely to put it there either.

Microsoft maintains that it won't clash with the Halo show under development at Xbox Entertainment Studios, which boasts Steven Spielberg's contribution.

Nevertheless, Scott has been involved in projects like Blade Runner, and more recently Prometheus, so associating his name does arouse curiosity. The new project will be directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan, who worked on Battlestar Galactica.

Looks like we will have to wait to here more on this one.

Source: Joystiq




AfterDawn: News

Amazon: Fire TV not a games console, not competing with Xbox or PlayStation

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 4:34

Amazon: Fire TV not a games console, not competing with Xbox or PlayStation While Amazon's new Fire TV set-top box supports an optional controller and has a games library already available, the web giant insists that it is not intended to be a games console.

Instead, the primary competitors for the $99 set-top box are intended to be Apple TV and Roku, as the primary function of the device is to stream video and audio content from web services like Netflix.

"This isn't trying to be a console, but we do think there's a great opportunity there in between a console and a smartphone for fun, quality games," said Amazon's Kindle VP Pete Larsen, in an interview with Engadget.

The gaming features are intended to attract people who play games on smartphones and tablets, but who would not buy a PS4, Xbox One or Wii U for their own reasons.

That said, Amazon has made a few splashes that suggest gaming will be more important to it going forward. It recently acquired Double Helix, and hired designers Kim Swift and Clint Hocking, who worked on Portal and Far Cry 2, respectively.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Yahoo encrypts data center traffic and promises to encrypt Messenger

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 4:02

Yahoo encrypts data center traffic and promises to encrypt Messenger Yahoo has expanded its anti-surveillance encryption to cover traffic between data centers, and has promised to deliver an encrypted Yahoo Messenger within months.

Having previously made HTTPS default for Yahoo Mail and encrypting mail between Yahoo services and other mail providers that support the SMTPTLS standard, Yahoo has gone a step further. It has announced that traffic between Yahoo data centers is now encrypted, as of March 31.

Revelations about NSA spying programs that leaked in the past year detailed how links between data centers can be targeted for spying programs.

Yahoo pledged to protect its customers by deploying encryption technologies across its services back in November 2013, and so far seems to be on track with the promises made by Marissa Mayer, Yahoo President and Chief Executive Officer.

Other steps taken by Yahoo include switching on HTTPS by default on the Yahoo Homepage and most Yahoo properties. The web giant also implemented the latest in security best-practices, including supporting TLS 1.2, Perfect Forward Secrecy and a 2048-bit RSA key for many of its global properties, and is working to eventually bring all Yahoo sites up to this standard.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft employee pleads guilty to Windows 8 trade secret theft

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 3:29

Microsoft employee pleads guilty to Windows 8 trade secret theft A Russian national accused by Microsoft of stealing trade secrets from the company and passing them on to a French blogger has pleaded guilty.

Alex Kibkalo was a Microsoft employee in Lebanon when he allegedly obtained and leaked pre-release updates for the Windows 8 operating system, and also an SDK for Microsoft products that guards against software piracy, the Microsoft Activation Server Software Development Kit.

Kibkalo also reportedly leaked other Windows 8 materials and screenshots, apparently in an effort to get back at Microsoft for a poor performance review.

He allegedly uploaded the stolen materials to his backup storage in July and August of 2012, and provided access to a French blogger, encouraging him to spread the SDK to others who may be able to write "fake activation" codes based on it.

An unidentified individual alerted Microsoft to the leak after being approached by the blogger to examine the SDK.

Kibkalo admitted guilt as part of a plea agreement entered in a federal court in Seattle on Monday. As part of the agreement, Kibkalo will pay $22,500 in restitution and will be jailed for three months.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Chromecast gets VUDU, Rdio and Crackle support

Written by James Delahunty @ 03 Apr 2014 3:00

Chromecast gets VUDU, Rdio and Crackle support Chromecast expanded its growing collection of supported services this week, with VUDU, Rdio and Crackle all supporting Google's casting dongle across platforms.

You can now watch the latest movies and TV shows on VUDU with Chromecast (1080p supported) from the Google Chrome web browser through the existing extension on a Desaktop PC or Mac, or you can download VUDU Player for the iOS and Android platforms to cast from smartphones and tablets.

Rdio also now allows you to cast songs, albums, stations, and playlists to your TV while album art will be viewable on screen during playback. Again, all you have to do is press the cast icon in the Rdio iOS, Android or Web apps.

"Rdio on Google Chromecast marks another milestone in Rdio's commitment to delivering the best music experience everywhere," said Anthony Bay, chief executive officer of Rdio.

"Music fans can access Rdio's massive catalog of over 20 million songs or start a station easily, all from Chromecast on their TV."

Finally, Crackle has also updated its iOS and Android apps to support casting movies and short videos from Chromecast.

Sources and Links
Google Cast Chrome Extension: chrome.google.com/webstore/
VUDU Player on iOS: itunes.apple.com/
VUDU App for Android: play.google.com
Crackle App for Android: play.google.com
Crackle App for iOS: tunes.apple.com




AfterDawn: News

Nokia unveils the Lumia 930 with 1080p 5-inch display, 20MP camera

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Apr 2014 23:03

Nokia unveils the Lumia 930 with 1080p 5-inch display, 20MP camera Nokia has unveiled their new Lumia 930 smartphone, a device that the company says "beautifully blends the best of Microsoft and Lumia with a collection of features readymade for the needs of today's forward-thinking smartphone owner."

The phone has a 5-inch, 1080p Full HD display (1920×1080; 441ppi) with Gorilla Glass 3 protection and Super Sensitive Touch (to be able to type with gloves on). Under the hood is a 2.2GHz Snapdragon 800 processor, 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage with 7GB free OneDrive cloud storage. The device also has Dolby Surround Sound integrated. Other standards include Bluetooth 4.0 LE and LTE Cat4 along with wireless charging.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft: Windows is now free for all devices with screens smaller than 9 inches

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Apr 2014 22:03

Microsoft: Windows is now free for all devices with screens smaller than 9 inches Microsoft has made a huge announcement today, making Windows free for all devices with screens smaller than 9 inches.

The move will include all Windows Phone smartphones and most tablets, and should boost market share for the operating system. The move is good for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, which will hit mobile devices in the coming months.

There had been reports that Microsoft was experimenting with a free version of "Windows 8.1 with Bing," which would have made the OS free but pre-loaded it with Microsoft apps and services.

Microsoft is calling the new version its "Windows for Internet of Things," and it even includes a free year of Office 365.

The company had previously charged $50 per Windows 8.1 license before slashing it earlier this year for some OEMs making tablets.

Source:
Original Report from Build: The Verge




AfterDawn: News

Amazon Game Studios unveils their first video game: Sev Zero

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Apr 2014 21:17

Amazon Game Studios unveils their first video game: Sev Zero Earlier today, Amazon unveiled their new Fire TV media streaming box for $99, rivaling the popular Apple TV and Roku devices.

Besides streaming movie and TV content, the box also allows for console-esque gaming, with over 100 games available at launch.

In February, Amazon acquired the gaming studio Double Helix to boost their own in-house gaming offerings and the company has unveiled their first game, a sci-fi tower defense shooter dubbed "Sev Zero."

Here is how Amazon Game Studios explains the game: "Earth is threatened by an alien species, the Ne'ahtu. Early in the 22nd century, the Ne'ahtu infected Earth's energy grid with a computer virus that disabled the planet's defenses. Before the Ne'ahtu could strike, computer prodigy Amy Ramanujan neutralized the alien computer virus and saved the planet. Now, the Ne'ahtu are back and Dr. Ramanujan is trying to prevent them from another all-out invasion of Earth. Switching between towers (to launch various missiles and grenades) and face-to-face combat (to attack with machine guns), the player's mission is to join Dr. Ramanujan and defend Earth from the Ne'ahtu.

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Chromebook shipments jump to 2.1 million for 2013

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Apr 2014 20:53

Chromebook shipments jump to 2.1 million for 2013 According to new research from ABI Research, Chromebook shipments jumped to 2.1 million in 2013, as the cheap notebooks remain popular among certain groups.

89 percent of shipments went to North America, and ABI forecasts an average growth rate of 28 percent per year until 2019 when shipments will reach 11 million.

"ABI Research tracked Chromebooks across six regions and found the average selling price (ASP) to be US$338," adds research analyst Stephanie Van Vactor. "This truly budget-driven device is a disruptive force to the portable PC market."

Chromebooks, due to their lower prices, light frames and long battery life, have been popular in the education market.

Source:
Press release: ABI Research




AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp hits new record for messages handled in one day

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Apr 2014 20:39

WhatsApp hits new record for messages handled in one day WhatsApp, the world's most popular messaging app, has revealed that the service hit a new record by processing 64 billion messages in one day.

There were 20 billion messages sent and 44 billion messages received by WhatsApp users. The company explains that the numbers are so skewed because group messages are included, which can include many people either receiving or sending one message but having it viewed by many.

The service was recently acquired by social networking giant Facebook in a deal that is worth up to $19 billion, one of the largest acquisitions in the tech space, ever.

Growth appears to be very strong for WhatsApp, who announced 10 months ago that it was processing 27 billion messages per day. The service is likely to announce soon that it has surpassed 500 million monthly active users, as it adds voice calls and other features.

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Introducing Fire TV, Amazon's powerful $99 set-top box

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2014 13:17

Introducing Fire TV, Amazon's powerful $99 set-top box Amazon has unveiled its Fire TV set-top box that can deliver a lot of media from films, games, music and pictures to your living room over Wi-Fi.

The $99 tiny box packs quite a punch in its abilities. It can bring content from your favorite video streaming services - such as Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, SHOWTIME - to your HDTV. It can connect your living room TV to your favorite music services too, such as Pandora, TuneIn or iHearRadio, while also supporting services like YouTube.

For family photos and locally stored videos, you can easily stream them over the network to the big screen too.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix to snub French regulations by streaming from Luxembourg

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2014 12:09

Netflix to snub French regulations by streaming from Luxembourg Regulations in France that would require Netflix to invest in French content and abide by a quota of French content in its service can be avoided by serving from Luxembourg.

France has some cultural protection measures on its books and has previously clashed with U.S. firms, such as Google, and managed to squeeze money out of them for local content production and so forth. Netflix is not interested in bowing to the French government, but it can still reach French users.

According to a report in the WSJ's MarketWatch, Netflix will serve the French market from its headquarters in Luxembourg. Like a lot of other firms, Netflix has a Luxembourg presence for "tax purposes" anyway.

A report in the Les Echos newspaper cited unidentified officials at the French culture ministry in reporting the streaming service's plan to get around the country's regulations.

via: MarketWatch




AfterDawn: News

Xbox co-creator: Xbox One can beat PS4

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2014 11:58

Xbox co-creator: Xbox One can beat PS4 Ed Fries, an Xbox co-creator, has said that Microsoft's Xbox One console can emerge victorious over Sony's PlayStation 4 (PS4) if Microsoft makes the right moves.

What would be the right moves? By focusing on good execution of software and services, while newer technologies like VR gaming might be worth avoiding for now.

In a Q&A (or AMA) on Yabbly, Fries gave his input on what Microsoft needs to do to overcome Sony, which has seen a better start to this console war with the PS4 thus far.

(UPDATE: Xbox boss Phil Spencer has responded to Ed Fries comments on Virtual Reality.)

"They need better exclusive games than PS4. They need to be more open to indie developers. They need to adopt free to play gaming more aggressively. They need to continue to move Xbox Live forward as the leading online service. They need to show people why they included the new Kinect on every machine by demonstrating a compelling use for it."

Facebook's recent $2 billion acquisition of Oculus Rift turned a few heads (and made a few explode..) and Sony's own Project Morpheus indicate that VR is in the headlights whether we want it or not. Fries believes that Microsoft needs to take a good hard look at 3D before diving into the deep end.

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Mt. Gox CEO ordered to U.S. to explain Bitcoin exchange failure

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2014 11:44

Mt. Gox CEO ordered to U.S. to explain Bitcoin exchange failure Mt. Gox CEO Mark Karpeles must go to the United States to answer questions as part of the Bitcoin exchange's bankruptcy case.

Karpeles has been ordered to present himself at the offices of his law firm, Baker & McKenzie, in Dallas on April 17. Last month, he requested that a Dallas court grant the failed crypotcurrency exchange Chapter 15 bankruptcy protection, after a class action lawsuit had been filed by clients.

Mt. Gox clients want answers about what happened to 750,000 bitcoins that the exchange claimed were stolen by hackers. Some clients allege that insiders stole the Bitcoins, and claims by former employees that there was worries about the use of customers' money as far back as 2012 won't serve to quieten such rumors.

At a May 20 hearing, Mt. Gox must prove that it should be granted bankruptcy protection, and U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Stacey Jernigan is adamant that Karpeles will be present in the U.S. and not Japan.

"If he avails himself of this court, my God, he is going to get himself over here," she said while ordering Mr. Karpeles to appear, and was not amused when one of his attorneys suggested that the Baker & McKenzie firm may replace Karpeles as the "foreign representative" of Mt. Gox in the bankruptcy court.

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Google: KitKat jumps to 5.3 percent share of Android devices

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2014 10:07

Google: KitKat jumps to 5.3 percent share of Android devices Following a slew of updates for devices made by HTC, Samsung and others, KitKat now claims a 5.3 percent adoption among Android devices.

The data comes from Google in its latest statistics mined from Google Play visitors, tracking those that run Android Froyo (v2.2), Gingerbread (v2.3.3, v2.3.7), Honeycomb (v3.2), Ice Cream Sandwich (v4.0.3, v4.0.4), Jelly Bean (v4.1.x, v4.2.x, v4.3) and KitKat (v4.4).

Specifically, the data came from Google Play visitors on Android devices during a 7-day period ending April 1.

KitKat has more than doubled its share since Google last shared its statistics with the Android developer community last month, when its penetration stood at 2.5 percent. Since then, KitKat updates for popular devices have continued to roll-out, finally giving the latest Android flavor the boost it has been waiting for.

Jelly Bean is still the King of the Droids for now though, with a combined 61 percent share. Gingerbread follows with 17.8 percent and Ice Cream Sandwich claims 14.3 percent.

Sources and Recommended Reading
Android Developer Dashboard with latest stats: https://developer.android.com/




AfterDawn: News

Spotify reveals its dark side with new design, feature improvements

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2014 9:11

Spotify reveals its dark side with new design, feature improvements Music streaming veteran Spotify is welcoming you to the dark side with its gorgeous new design and feature enhancements.

Spotify 1.0 has arrived and responded to user feedback with a darker new interface that will roll out across its services on every platform, starting today.

The new layout intends to make content the focus of our attention, as it "pops" out in its new dark surroundings. "Playing your favorite music has never looked so good," we are told.

In addition to turning the lights down, Spotify has also made some helpful feature changes. Your Music is a new way to browse and organize your favorite music tracks and albums. You can save albums and songs to your collection effortlessly, and create playlists that will suit your every mood and need.

In addition, Spotify has revamped its Browse feature so that it can serve up more localized, and relevant content for you.

The new design and features roll-out from today, April 2, across Desktop, iPhone and the web platform.



Competition heats up

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AfterDawn: News

Apple seeks $2 billion from Samsung in new trial on key patents

Written by James Delahunty @ 02 Apr 2014 7:51

Apple seeks $2 billion from Samsung in new trial on key patents For the third time in just a couple of years, Apple and Samsung have gone to trial in a patent dispute case, with the Cupertino-based iPhone maker asking for a staggering $2 billion.

The trial commenced on Tuesday in a San Jose, California federal court. Apple is asking the jury to award it $2 billion in damages from the South Korean firm, which it accuses of violating a group of patents. It also wants a sales ban against allegedly infringing Samsung devices to be imposed.

Apple had previously won a $930 million reward when a different jury sided with it, but U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh refused to issue a permanent injunction against Samsung devices.

The South Korean consumer electronics firm is aggressively defending itself from claims made by Apple that it "slavishly" copied its iPhone and iPad tablets, and is now insisting that Apple's real target is its nemesis, Google.

New trial, new patents

So what is Apple accusing Samsung of violating at this trial? There are five key patents covering software features in the iOS-running iPhones, and Android-running Samsung devices, that Apple claims are being violated.

The first covers a feature familiar to all smartphone users: slide-to-lock. On an iOS device, a user manually pushes a slidebar from left to right in order to unlock the device, and Apple claims Samsung devices copy this feature. However, the slide-to-lock feature in Android and Samsung's devices is notable different to that on Apple's devices.

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AfterDawn: News

Boxee.tv gets hacked: names, email, messages, passwords stolen for 158,000 users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 21:34

Boxee.tv gets hacked: names, email, messages, passwords stolen for 158,000 users Boxee.tv, the Web-based TV service owned by Samsung, has seen its forums hacked and personal data stolen on 158,000 users.

Among the data stolen was names, emails, birth dates, IP addresses, message history and encrypted passwords.

An 800MB file was circulated online last week, and password management service LastPass began warning its customers on Tuesday about the breach. "Please update the password for your boxee.tv account immediately," says the LastPass warning. "The LastPass Security Challenge, located in the Tools menu of the LastPass addon, will help find any other accounts using the same password as the leaked account."

Despite the passwords being cryptographically hashed, they can be eventually cracked.

If you are a Boxee TV user, change your password immediately, and if you can't remember whether you had an account, HaveIBeenPwned? is a great resource to check.

Sources & Additional Material:
Original Report: Arstechnica Security & Hactivism
Check if you have been compromised: HaveIBeenPwned?




AfterDawn: News

Happy Birthday GMail! Google's mail service turns 10

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Apr 2014 20:59

Happy Birthday GMail! Google's mail service turns 10 It has been ten years since Google opened up its shiny new e-mail service to the public, but only if you had an invite from an existing user.

Before then, GMail was an internal e-mail system for Google employees. Even after it opened to the public for the first time on April 1, 2004, it remained invite-only and at one point, it was reported that invites to the service sold for as high as $150 on EBay, and eventually Google had to move to prevent the selling of accounts. It also remained in beta for a considerable amount of time.

Within a year of operation, GMail users enjoyed 2GB of storage, which was considerably more than Google's standing competitors at the time. It also added more features such as formatted editing. In November 2006, it got its own first mobile applications for devices that could run Java apps.

Over the years, Google has integrated GMail and its other services, with a major change coming with Google Docs in 2007 which made it possible for users getting Office documents and spreadsheet as e-mail attachments to open them in the browser. Google also added IMAP support later the same year.

It wasn't until July 2009 - over five years since the public first got a chance to get a GMail account - that Google announced GMail (and its wider Google Apps) were out of beta.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung confirms Galaxy Tab4 devices following leaks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 20:50

Samsung confirms Galaxy Tab4 devices following leaks Samsung has confirmed their new Galaxy Tab4 line of low-end tablets, following leaks from @evleaks and leaks of the FCC documentation for the devices.

Three devices are in the lineup, the Galaxy Tab4 7.0, Galaxy Tab4 8.0 and Galaxy Tab 4 10.1, each differentiated in name by the size of the display.

The design of the tablets is certainly improved from previous models, and has thinner bezels and a lighter form factor. The design is reminiscent of the company's high-end Galaxy TabPRO and NotePRO series.

Under the hood is a different question, as the devices are not packed with high-end specs. The devices have 1200x800 resolution displays, a 1.2GHz quad-core processor, Android 4.4 with Samsung TouchWiz, 1.5GB RAM, 16GB internal storage as a base, a microSD slot for expanded storage, LTE support, and dual cameras: 1.3MP/3MP.

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AfterDawn: News

Google's updated Nexus 10 is 'coming soon'?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 20:08

Google's updated Nexus 10 is 'coming soon'? A strange development has occurred in Google's hardware Play Store.

If you are checking out the page for the old Nexus 10 (built by Samsung) underneath the price of the device are the words "coming soon" in regards to the shipping time.

The device has been discounted over the past few weeks at different retailers, with the expectation that Google was clearing out inventory ahead of a new announcement.

While the "coming soon" could just mean Google is waiting on a new shipment of the same tablet, there is hope that the oft-rumored second-generation Nexus 10 may be finally on the way. There have been rumors that Samsung, Asus or LG is building the tablet, which should feature high-end specs.

Check the page here.

Sources:
Google Play Store Nexus 10




AfterDawn: News

EA trolls Wii U on Twitter, then removes tweets and apologizes

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Apr 2014 19:39

EA trolls Wii U on Twitter, then removes tweets and apologizes The Twitter account of EA's Frostbite engine used April Fool's Day to poke some fun at Nintendo's Wii U system with several tweets, before removing them when users reacted negatively.

EA is not actively working on content for Nintendo's Wii U system, and on April 1 its @FrostbiteEngine twitter account trolled Nintendo with some phony tweets of upcoming content for the system and some cheap shots.

The tweets have since been removed, but not before gaming site Kotaku managed to note them.

"Frostbite now runs on the #WiiU since it is the most powerful Gen4 platform, our renderer is now optimized for Mario and Zelda," one tweet read. Frostbite is EA's videogame engine, and it doesn't work with Wii U.

"Frostbite will power #HalfLife3, coming out summer 2014! #WiiU exclusive," another tweet claimed.

"Good news, we have finally fixed and optimized our 'netcode'. Uses quantum entanglement for Zero Latency connections. Exclusively on #WiiU," the tweets continued, as the dead horse just lay there.

First thing to notice about the tweets is that they aren't all that funny or classy, and plenty of Twitter users responded negatively before the @FrostbiteEngine account promptly removed the tweets.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Smartphone 'Kill Switch' would save $2.5 billion annually, says researcher

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Apr 2014 19:22

Smartphone 'Kill Switch' would save $2.5 billion annually, says researcher If all smartphones and tablets came with a Kill Switch that could render them inoperable remotely, it could save consumers $2.5 billion per year in the U.S.

That's according to William Duckworth, a statistics professor at Creighton University. His research found that consumers spend around $500 million replacing devices that have been stolen per annum.

When you take into account the money spent by consumers on insurance policies, it gets even worse. According to the study, consumers spend around $2 billion ever year on premium insurance plans obtained through their carrier.

So what is a kill switch? Simply put, a kill switch is a mechanism by which a stolen device could be rendered completely inoperable remotely. This protects consumers on two fronts; the first being that personal information on stolen devices may be inaccessible once it's remotely killed, and the second in a broader sense would reduce crime.

Arguments for and against

An astonishing amount of robberies in the United States involve mobile devices, with estimates reaching up to a third of all thefts in some places. Police and policymakers have often dubbed the problem "apple picking", and see a major disincentive being created for criminals if devices came with Kill Switches by default.

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Chromecast gets BT Sport as sales impress in Europe

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Apr 2014 18:54

Chromecast gets BT Sport as sales impress in Europe By accounts, the foray of Google's Chromecast dongle into Europe has been a success thus far, as BT Sport joins BBC iPlayer in embracing it.

Chromecast was only officially launched in European markets two weeks ago, but already the indications are that Google's video-beaming dongle is in demand. In the UK, Dixons revealed that it has sold Chromecast every 4.5 seconds on the launch day, comparing the demand to that of Apple's iPad launches.

In Norway, retail chain Elkjøp ran out of supply and had to order an additional 40,000 units from Google to keep up with demand.

Google has sold millions of Chromecasts so far, even though it has just officially entered the European market. The useful tool allows owners beam certain content from PCs, smartphones and tablets to a connected television wirelessly.

Chromecast got a major boost when support was added for BBC's iPlayer app, and now it has also received another in the UK with support for BT Sport reportedly on the horizon too.

BT Sport channels are available to subscribers of BT Broadband services.

(via: Engadget)




AfterDawn: News

Xbox boss: Gaming will be our core moving Xbox forward

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Apr 2014 18:34

Xbox boss: Gaming will be our core moving Xbox forward The new Xbox boss, Phil Spencer, has promised gamers that gaming will be at the core of taking the brand forward.

Spencer got the nod from Satya Nadella to head up Xbox, Xbox Live, and creative teams including Xbox Music, Xbox Video and Microsoft Studios, and he wants to focus on the strength of gaming for the Xbox One platform and Xbox Live services going forward.

"The growth of the Xbox community, with over 80 million Xbox owners around the world, is built on the foundation of exclusive franchises, new and original IP and the world's most popular cross-platform games," Spencer said.

"Games and gamers have always been at the core of Xbox and the core of my work--and gaming will be our core as we take Xbox forward."

Spencer described the past year as a growth experience for him personally, and for the entire Xbox team. The mission is to build a world-class team to meet the high expectations of a passionate fan base, and create the best gamers and entertainment content.

Spencer obtained his new position at Microsoft as chief executive officer Satya Nadella reforms Microsoft's business units to turn around the company's waning presence in key areas.




AfterDawn: News

LinkedIn: Browser plugin does not hack our service

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Apr 2014 18:03

LinkedIn: Browser plugin does not hack our service LinkedIn has responded to reports about a browser plug-in that claimed to be able to hack e-mail addresses of any users.

The Sell Hack browser plug-in can be installed in Chrome, Safari or Firefox, and it adds a "Hack In" button to every LinkedIn profile that you visit. It claims that with just a click of this button, it can dump the e-mail address information associated with the profile.

Early reports suggested that the tool somehow compromises LinkedIn's system to dump the e-mail addresses. However, at closer look, the plug-in clearly does not work for every profile that you try, whereas it appears to work for profiles of well known individuals.

That led quickly to more skeptical-types assuming that the plug-in is using some other means to find information available elsewhere about a particular user.

According to LinkedIn's senior manager of corporate communications, Krista Canfield, no LinkedIn data has been compromised by the plug-in, and the e-mail addresses that are revealed are not done so through any breach, bug or vulnerability with the site.

LinkedIn warns users on the risks of the plug-in

On Monday, Canfield confirmed that the service had sent a cease and desist letter to address "several violations," and she warned against users installing the plugin.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple looking to purchase LCD chip supplier Renesas SP

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 16:38

Report: Apple looking to purchase LCD chip supplier Renesas SP According to the Asian Nikkei, Apple is in talks to purchase a majority stake in Japanese LCD chip supplier Renesas SP Drivers.

The company designs chips for smartphone displays, and is a joint venture between Renesas, Sharp and Taiwan-based Powerchip.

Apple is reportedly looking into buying Renesas' entire 55 percent stake in the venture for 50 billion yen ($480 million). The company had sales of 60 billion yen last year, with a profit of 6 billion yen ($58 million). If the deal goes through, Sharp will also likely sell their 25 percent stake to Apple.

If accurate, Apple is looking to complete the acquisition by the summer, keeping all of the venture's 240 employees in Japan. Renesas SP is the world's top producer of drivers and controllers for midsize LCDs, with a market share of around 32 percent. The controllers determine energy efficiency for smartphones.




AfterDawn: News

Apple releases iPad Air, Mini with TD-LTE for China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 16:13

Apple releases iPad Air, Mini with TD-LTE for China Apple has released models of their iPad Air and iPad Mini with Retina Display with TD-LTE support for the Chinese market.

The new devices will mark the first time Apple's newest products will have support for the 4G network in China.

Says Apple: "The new iPad models give customers the ability to connect to today's most advanced cellular data networks at blazingly fast speeds, so users can surf the web or download email and apps even faster. iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display models supporting TD-LTE also accommodate the TD-SCDMA mobile standard, and join existing iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display WLAN + Cellular models in support of Personal Hotspot connectivity and other advanced cellular technology (GSM/EDGE, DC-HSDPA, HSPA+) to provide customers in China fast cellular access in whichever iPad model they choose."

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Azure forced to slash prices again to match Amazon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 15:44

Microsoft Azure forced to slash prices again to match Amazon Just a week after Amazon once again cut its prices for its cloud services, Microsoft has matched with price cuts for their Azure service.

Azure will see price cuts for compute fall by up to 25 percent, and storage price falls by up to 65 percent. Block Blob storage prices will also fall 65 percent for LRS and 44 percent for GRS, adds the software giant.

Amazon's prices take effect today while Microsoft's will take effect on May 1st.

In addition, Microsoft has announced other service changes:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

OpenText sues cloud storage company Box over patent infringement, seeks $268 million in damages

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 15:14

OpenText sues cloud storage company Box over patent infringement, seeks $268 million in damages OpenText is demanding $268 million in damages from cloud storage company Box, alleging over 200 violations of patent infringement.

The company, which provides enterprise information management software, is also asking for preliminary and permanent injunctions of many of Box's products. The original suit with filed last June, and claims Box is infringing on 12 patents.

Box offers free online storage for consumers and businesses, while charging subscription fees for expanded storage and other premium features.

The company has plans to go public this year, and could be valued in the billions. For the fiscal year ended January 31st, Box saw revenue of $124.2 million, doubling from the year before. Box is not profitable, however, losing money every year since 2005 when it launched.




AfterDawn: News

April Fool's Day: Google Naps, Pokemon, Samsung's Fingers Smartglove, YouTube's upcoming trends, and more.

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Apr 2014 14:50

April Fool's Day: Google Naps, Pokemon, Samsung's Fingers Smartglove, YouTube's upcoming trends, and more. Every year on April 1, many tech companies and publications put out bogus stories, launch bogus services and make wild claims all in the spirit of fun to celebrate April Fool's Day.

This year is not any different, with some of the usual suspects having a bit of fun. Google is notorious for its April Fool's pranks, and this year treated us all to some more. Firstly, Google planted Pokemon on its Google Maps service, making a challenge for us to find 150 of them, while also replacing its own headquarters with a Pokemon center, along with other notable locations.



In another case, Google's Chrome for Android and iOS got an important feature which allows you to translate a website into emoji. Also, don't forget Google Naps, a new way to utilize Google Maps to find the best place nearby to take a nap!

Another Google property, YouTube, put out a video showing all the new trends it intends to set in 2014, such as "clocking", where you record yourself pretending that you are a ticking clock. Neato!

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Yahoo preparing to buy online video service NDN

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 14:35

Yahoo preparing to buy online video service NDN According to multiple sources, Yahoo is in talks to acquire the major online video service News Distribution Network (NDN), a move that fits right in-line with the company's reported plans to create a video content service to rival YouTube.

The portal site could pay up to $300 million for NDN, and the sources claim the talks are still in preliminary stages.

NDN was quick to deny the rumors, as is standard, stating "We are not in talks to get acquired by Yahoo at this time."

The video service gives news outlets and Web publishers clips about news, sports, politics and other major topics and owning NDN could help Yahoo significantly by expanding its video offerings to thousands of new partners. The company has a catalog of over 100,000 videos, most from local TV news stations. It sells the videos to major news outlets like Bloomberg, and also sells ads to accompany the videos. NDN had 573 million video views in January, making it the fourth-largest video service on the planet.




AfterDawn: News

Pebble submits fix for its iOS app version 2.1

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 14:18

Pebble submits fix for its iOS app version 2.1 Yesterday, smartwatch maker Pebble desperately asked its users not to install version 2.1 of their iOS app, as it was broken for many users and had a critical flaw that could break the sync between the watch and the application.

The company said the v2.1 glitch affected "connecting, loading, and managing" the watch.

Pebble announced earlier today that they have submitted a fix to the iOS App Store, and are asking for an expedited review given the nature of the update.

For the time being, Pebble has hidden the app to avoid manual downloads, but it can still be automatically updated if you have such updates enabled through iOS.

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Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes $1 salary

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 14:06

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg takes $1 salary Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg has dropped his salary to $1 per year, following the path of other billionaire tech moguls like Steve Jobs, Larry Page, Sergey Brin and others.

Zuckerberg took a $1 salary in 2013 and will do so again in 2014. This follows a base salary of $503,205 in 2012. His overall compensation was $653,165, mainly for use of his private planes and security, fees, fuel, crew and catering costs.

The CEO is one of the richest men in the world, with a current wealth of over $25 billion due to his large ownership stake in the social media giant.

Last year, Zuckerberg sold 60 million shares valued at $3.3 billion, while gifting another 18 million to charity.




AfterDawn: News

Marvell's patent verdict increased to $1.54 billion

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 13:52

Marvell's patent verdict increased to $1.54 billion Marvell Technology has seen its penalties increase for infringing on hard drive patents owned by Carnegie Mellon University.

Last year, a jury awarded the University $1.17 billion over the patents related to how accurately hard disk- drive circuits read data from high-speed magnetic disks. Mellon first sued Marvell in March 2009 over the patents issued in 2002.

The University said at least nine different Marvell circuit devices used the patents and Marvell sold billions of chips using the technology without permission. The jury agreed. This week, a federal judge increased the damages to $1.54 billion although the award was much less than the maximum $3.75 billion Carnegie was seeking.

"This award is sufficient to penalize Marvell for its egregious behavior and to deter future infringement activities," the judge wrote in his decision. The $3.75 billion in damages would have "severely prejudiced" Marvell and could have threatened the company's future, added the judge.

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AfterDawn: News

Jawbone buys up Playground.fm, possibly for eight figures

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 13:37

Jawbone buys up Playground.fm, possibly for eight figures Speaker hardware company Jawbone has confirmed the acquisition of Playground.fm, the social music playlist app.

Although the terms were undisclosed, sources claim the acquisition cost Jawbone "eight figures." Jawbone has a valuation near $3 billion after raising $250 million last year, and is expected to go public this year.

Playground is free on iOS and claims to be "human-powered radio" which pulls data from your social media and Spotify to build a personalized, curated radio station.

While the service itself is popular, Jawbone likely made the purchase for Playground's patents and its team. One of the top executives is Mehul Trivedi, Apple's original iOS audio engineer.

There is now speculation that Jawbone could start its own Internet radio service that could be included with the company's Jambox products.




AfterDawn: News

Yet another Valve engineer joins Oculus VR

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 13:18

Yet another Valve engineer joins Oculus VR Marking the third time in recent weeks that a VR engineer has left Valve, developer Aaron Nicholls is the latest to join Oculus VR.

Oculus confirmed the move through Twitter, stating simply "We're thrilled to welcome Aaron Nicholls to the team! He'll be working out of the Bellevue R&D lab with Atman and crew."

Nicholls helped code and also managed on hit games like Gears of War, Halo 3 and Jade Empire for Microsoft Studios before joining Valve in 2010 to help with design, gameplay and systems.

Facebook recently acquired Oculus VR for $2 billion, bringing the future of gaming to the mainstream.

Last week, Oculus VR announced the hiring of Michael Abrash as its Chief Scientist, a major industry vet leaving Valve. In the tweet, the Atman mentioned is Atman Binstock, who was also previously an engineer on Valve's virtual reality projects.

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AfterDawn: News

Twitch sees record numbers as Xbox One usage grows

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Apr 2014 12:58

Twitch sees record numbers as Xbox One usage grows Microsoft has announced today that Twitch is now seeing record numbers following a boost in Xbox One usage of the services.

The app added broadcasting for Xbox on March 10th, and the company says there have been over 23 million minutes broadcast from Twitch on Xbox One since this launch.

Says the software giant: "This includes more than 2.7 million minutes broadcast from Xbox One March 10-11, the most ever for a Twitch console app in its first day. Additionally, 30 percent of all Twitch unique broadcasters were broadcasting from Xbox One during the app's first day.

In its first week, 108,000 unique Twitch users tried their hand at broadcasting from Xbox One, accounting for 22 percent of Twitch's unique broadcasters in the same period of time. To put that in perspective, according to Twitch, it took another console a month to achieve what the Twitch app on Xbox One did within its first week. New broadcasters are really getting into it, too, as the average Twitch broadcast on Xbox One is nearly as long as the average American TV sitcom at 28 minutes."

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AfterDawn: News

OkCupid takes strong stance against Mozilla and its new CEO

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Mar 2014 20:52

OkCupid takes strong stance against Mozilla and its new CEO The online dating site OkCupid has taken a strong stance against Mozilla Firefox, protesting the browser due to new Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich's stance against gay marriage.

Eich supported California's Proposition 8 (which banned gay marriage) and even donated to the politicians backing the bill.

OkCupid says it will not stand for intolerance, and that eight percent of the relationships formed via the site would be illegal if bills like Prop 8 were passed everywhere. "OkCupid is for creating love," says the company. "Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure."

Here is the full post from OkCupid:



Hello there, Mozilla Firefox user. Pardon this interruption of your OkCupid experience. Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, is an opponent of equal rights for gay couples. We would therefore prefer that our users not use Mozilla software to access OkCupid.

Politics is normally not the business of a website, and we all know there's a lot more wrong with the world than misguided CEOs. So you might wonder why we're asserting ourselves today. This is why: we've devoted the last ten years to bringing people--all people--together. If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we've worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it's professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

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AfterDawn: News

Some older HTC devices to get Sense 6.0 by the summer

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Mar 2014 20:08

Some older HTC devices to get Sense 6.0 by the summer A leaked HTC document has revealed which smartphones will be getting which Android and Sense UI updates.

The new HTC One M8 is the first with the new Sense 6.0 user interface (video below) but it will not be the only in the line to receive the update.

According to the table, 2013's HTC One, One Dual Sim, One Max, One Mini and Butterfly S will all receive Sense 6.0 to go along with their Android 4.4.2. The time frames are between June and July. All those devices have Android 4.4 and Sense 5.5 currently.

If you have a two year old phone, you are out of luck. Your phone will not be getting Android 4.4 or Sense 6.0. Many will not even get Sense 5.5.

Keep in mind this has not been confirmed by HTC, but if accurate should provide a thorough map for your device.

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