AfterDawn: Tech news

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AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi to launch first drone later this month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 May 2016 16:04

Xiaomi to launch first drone later this month Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi has confirmed it will add a drone to its widening range of products, with the hardware launching next week.

The company has teased a May 25th press event for its new Mi Drone, but there are very scant details otherwise.

Xiaomi has only said there is "something wonderful and cool is flying to us very soon."

The company, known for its powerful yet highly affordable smartphones in China, recently announced a massive 6.44-inch phablet, a 4K-supporting set-top box with Android TV, and a VR phone that will support Google's Daydream tech, suggesting a big year of expansion.

Source:
Engadget




AfterDawn: News

Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time ever

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 May 2016 15:46

Chromebooks outsold Macs for the first time ever According to IDC, Google's line of Chromebooks outsold Apple Macs for the first time ever, in the U.S.

"Chrome OS overtook Mac OS in the US in terms of shipments for the first time in 1Q16," says IDC analyst Linn Huang. "Chromebooks are still largely a US K-12 story."

What Huang means is that schools and students continue to buy Chromebooks, which are normally a tenth of the price of Macs, given their solid feature set and Google's programs for educators.

IDC estimated U.S. Mac shipments at around 1.76 million in the most recent quarter, and Chromebook shipments at close to 2 million.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix launches simple speed testing site

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 May 2016 23:54

Netflix launches simple speed testing site Netflix has launched a rival to Speedtest.net, a simple site that shows you fast your Internet connection is.

Head over to Fast.com and the site will calculate your download speeds, the determining factor in how solid your video quality is when streaming from Netflix.

That's it.

Netflix does note that if your Netflix streaming experience is not optimal but your speeds are fast, then your ISP may be throttling your connection.




AfterDawn: News

The Google Play Store is now headed to Chrome

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 May 2016 23:37

The Google Play Store is now headed to Chrome Google has announced this week that the Google Play Store is headed to Chrome as Android and Chrome continue to merge.

Said the company earlier: "Today we announced that we're adding the best mobile app experiences in the world, Android apps and the Google Play store, to the best browser in the world, Chrome! Come to this session and test your Android apps for Chrome OS. You will get hands-on help from our friendly engineers on how to optimize your Android app for Chromebooks. Oh, and we will also be giving the first 50 developers to show up a free Chromebook so they can get a head start bringing their apps to Chrome!"

For now, it seems like Google will be testing the store with devs before going live but the move is certainly an interesting development in Google's ongoing goals to merge Chrome and Android into one operating system.

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AfterDawn: News

Uber unveils their first self-driving car

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 May 2016 22:54

Uber unveils their first self-driving car Uber has unveiled their first self-driving car, a hybrid Ford Fusion that will drive around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the coming weeks.

The car "will be collecting mapping data as well as testing its self-driving capabilities. When it's in self-driving mode, a trained driver will be in the driver's seat monitoring operations. The Uber ATC car comes outfitted with a variety of sensors including radars, laser scanners, and high resolution cameras to map details of the environment," adds the company.

"Real-world testing is critical to our efforts to develop self-driving technology. Self-driving cars have the potential to save millions of lives and improve quality of life for people around the world. 1.3 million people die every year in car accidents -- 94% of those accidents involve human error," notes Uber. "In the future we believe this technology will mean less congestion, more affordable and accessible transportation, and far fewer lives lost in car accidents. These goals are at the heart of Uber's mission to make transportation as reliable as running water -- everywhere and for everyone."




AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi unveils the Mi Box, a 4K Android TV set-top

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 May 2016 22:07

Xiaomi unveils the Mi Box, a 4K Android TV set-top Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi has unveiled a 4K Android TV-powered set-top box called the Mi Box.

The Mi Box supports 4K UHD content, as well as HDR, and will have standard options like Netflix and Hulu as well as updated native Android TV apps like Watch ESPN, Comedy Central and Spotify.

Xiaomi's latest sports a Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU, a Mali 450 GPU, 2GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a USB port, HDMI 2.0a, Dolby Digital Plus and DTS Surround Sound support.

Additionally, the set-top will have Google Cast support, allowing you to mirror your phone, tablet and desktop to the big screen.

Finally, Xiaomi will ship the device with a Bluetooth remote that includes voice search capability.

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AfterDawn: News

Google reveals some more features of Android N

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 May 2016 0:04

Google reveals some more features of Android N Google used their developer conference to show off some new feature for the upcoming Android N operating system.

The company released a developer preview earlier this year and has been furiously updating since, significantly improving the graphics and runtime. Google says the compiler for Android N is up to 75 percent faster than previous operating systems, and Google also notes that the space required for app installations has been reduced significantly, as well.

In the multitasking menu, Google will cap the visible windows at just 7 (thank you, Google) and there will now be a "Clear All" button to dismiss all your active apps at once rather than sliding manually.

Google has also promised split-screen and picture-in-picture modes, allowing you to slide videos to the corner while you write your emails, for example. This will make your Android tablet more useful certainly, but it probably won't be too effective on your phone.

Most notable, however, is the addition of a VR Mode as part of the larger Google "Daydream" VR project. Google also has content partnerships with HBO, Netflix, Hulu, CNN, the NBA, the Wall Street Journal, IMAX and the New York Times.

Expect Android N "later this summer."

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft sells its entry-level feature phone business to Foxconn

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 May 2016 23:04

Microsoft sells its entry-level feature phone business to Foxconn Microsoft has announced that it is selling their entry level feature phone assets to Foxconn subsidiary FIH Mobile for $350 million.

Additionally, FIH Mobile has also acquired Microsoft Mobile Vietnam, the company's manufacturing facility in Hanoi.

When the deal closes, 4500 employees will have the opportunity to transfer to the new company.

Microsoft says it will continue to support Lumia phones and support Windows 10 Mobile moving forward even though the company has not released a new device in months.

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AfterDawn: News

Tor software developer jumps the U.S. to Germany following FBI investigation

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 May 2016 22:34

Tor software developer jumps the U.S. to Germany following FBI investigation The FBI has been trying to subpoena one of Tor's core software developers to testify in a federal hacking investigation, but the developer Isis Lovecruft has left the U.S. for Germany.

Lovecruft says she fears that the FBI will force or coerce her into undermining the Tor network, thus exposing Tor users who legitimately use the network to protect their identities. "I was worried they'd ask me to do something that hurts innocent people -- and prevent me from telling people it's happening," she added.

Reportedly, FBI Special Agent Mark W. Burnett left a card for Lovecruft at her parent's home while she was on vacation and the agency then refused to talk to her with her attorney present. Lovecruft then began to fear what the FBI wanted with her knowledge of Tor's inner workings: "That would undermine all the work that we do to protect human rights activists, women researching birth control... all these people need privacy. They need what Tor provides," she said. "I would not undermine that."

Lovecruft then flew to Germany, where she had been planning to move in the future and now expects to stay. She still doesn't have an official word from the FBI on what they need from her. "I don't know what they want. I don't know what happens to me if I go back."

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon adds voice-controlled 'Alexa' features to Fire TV set-top

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 May 2016 21:53

Amazon adds voice-controlled 'Alexa' features to Fire TV set-top Amazon has added "Alexa" features to its popular Fire TV ser-top box, giving users the ability to launch apps, movies, shows and more using the Alexa voice-activated personal assistant.

"Customers have told us they love having the convenience of Alexa on their Amazon Fire TV,"
said Tim Twerdahl, General Manager, Amazon Fire TV. "We're excited to add new Alexa features to Fire TV, making it easier than ever to enjoy their favorite TV shows, movies, and apps."

Amazon says Fire TV owners now have the "ability to control playback of Amazon Video and Add-On Subscription content, launch apps, access local movie show times, search local businesses and restaurants, and more--all just by using your voice."

Voice search has also been integrated throughout all of Amazon's "59 content partners including Hulu, Showtime, Starz, HBO Go and more."

Fire TV owners can expect the OTA update in the coming weeks.

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AfterDawn: News

Confirmed: Nokia's brand returns to mobile phone business

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 18 May 2016 5:45

Confirmed: Nokia's brand returns to mobile phone business Nokia announced that it has licensed its brand exclusively for next 10 years to be used in mobile phones and tablets, globally, by HMD Global Oy.

HMD Global is a recently founded company with its sole purpose to use Nokia's brand in mobile phones and tablets. HMD will pay Nokia royalties and license fees for every device sold under Nokia brand. Company has also made an offer for Microsoft to sub-license Microsoft's current rights to use Nokia in cheap, basic functionality phones. The offer for basic phone brand licensing is expected to happe in H2, 2016.

If these deals both emerge, HMD would be the sole company allowed to use Nokia's brand in mobile phone and tablet business. HMD plans to invest more that 500 million dollars to marketing and advertising of Nokia-branded devices over the next three years.

"Nokia branded basic phones are still among the most popular phones in several markets. HMD will continue to market these phones as part of its integrated mobile phone portfolio that will also include smartphones and tables", Nokia says.

HMD plans to use Android as its operating system for Nokia-branded smartphones and tablets. Nokia doesn't own shares of HMD, but will receive a seat in HMD's board.




AfterDawn: News

Apple patches iTunes to address random music deletion glitch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 May 2016 0:26

Apple patches iTunes to address random music deletion glitch Apple has updated iTunes this week with an all-new design and a patch for a glitch that was deleting user's music files from their computers.

The problem, although rare, had some devastating consequences for users. One musician reported 122GB of music (including original tracks) disappearing without his permission. Apple responded to the growing amount of complaints, stating: "In an extremely small number of cases users have reported that music files saved on their computer were removed without their permission. We're taking these reports seriously as we know how important music is to our customers and our teams are focused on identifying the cause. We have not been able to reproduce this issue, however, we're releasing an update to iTunes early next week which includes additional safeguards."

iTunes update 12.4 should correct the issue although Apple has confirmed they were not able to reproduce the music deletion glitch during their own internal testing, begging the question of what the patch will actually do.

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AfterDawn: News

SVOD services in EU could be subject to content quotas

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 May 2016 23:59

SVOD services in EU could be subject to content quotas According to reports, SVOD services operating in the EU including Netflix will likely be subject to European content quotas moving forward.

European Commission VP Andrus Ansip says that there needs to be a more level playing field between the streaming companies and TV providers that have to show a mandated percentage of European-originated programming.

The quota would be for streaming content and for the material marketed on each site's home pages.

It is expected that the European Commission will require at least 20 percent European-originated programming for the SVOD providers.

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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo confirms it's looking to expand video content business, including making movies

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 May 2016 22:54

Nintendo confirms it's looking to expand video content business, including making movies If we are lucky, there could be movies coming soon featuring Nintendo's legendary characters.

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima confirmed rumors and says the gaming giant is in talks with production companies to expand their video content business, including the possibility of movies.

"We're talking with various partners. I think we'll be able to decide something in the not-too-distant future," Kimishima said, adding that projects would be slated for the next 1-5 years.

Nintendo has been expanding its operations recently, as console sales for the Wii U have lagged significantly. Nintendo recently expanded into mobile gaming and is working with NBCU to develop theme park attractions.

The last time Nintendo licensed their characters for a live-action film was in 1993 for the historically bad "Super Mario" movie.

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AfterDawn: News

BBC gets green light to start new subscription streaming service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 May 2016 0:09

BBC gets green light to start new subscription streaming service The BBC has been given the green light by the British government to start a new subscription streaming service that will rival Netflix in the nation.

Currently, the project is codenamed "Britflix" (we hope that changes eventually) and it is expected to be a collaboration between BBC and commercial rival ITV.

The new service would be delivered through the company's popular iPlayer and besides ITV, NBC Universal and Carnival Films are expected to provide content for the fledgling service.

More to come.

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