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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo Wii U sales show strong growth ahead of holiday season

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Nov 2014 17:56

Nintendo Wii U sales show strong growth ahead of holiday season Thanks to some major first-party games, it looks like the Nintendo Wii U is back in business.

Nintendo says that for the first 10 months of the year, Wii U hardware sales have increased 47 percent year-over-year. In addition, software sales have jumped 84 percent, thanks mainly to Mario Kart and a few other hit titles.

Adds Nintendo: "Those numbers are both poised to grow with the one-two punch of Super Smash Bros. for Wii U and amiibo on Nov. 21, which are then quickly joined by Captain Toad: Treasure Tracker on Dec. 5."

One would also expect a price cut in the coming month to get more hardware out there (especially in conjunction with Super Smash), but Nintendo has not confirmed such a move, as of yet.

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AfterDawn: News

Latest 'Call of Duty' reaches 7.5 million units sold in first week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Nov 2014 17:28

Latest 'Call of Duty' reaches 7.5 million units sold in first week Activision has another hit on their hands.

The latest blockbuster in the 'Call of Duty' franchise, 'Advanced Warfare' sold 7.51 million units worldwide in just its first week of availability, beating out other 2014 stalwarts including Destiny and Titanfall.

Although the numbers are big, they really don't show serious growth compared to last year's launch of "Call of Duty: Ghosts," which sold 7.25 million units in its first week, and 8.23 million if you include the late launches for the (at the time) new PS4 and Xbox One.

The game sold best for PS4, at 3.05 million units, followed by the Xbox One at 2.06 million units. The 360 outsold its late gen counterpart the PS3 1.22 million to 1.09 million, but it still shows demand. The PC version barely moved 100,000 units.

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AfterDawn: News

Google removes silent mode from Android 5.0 Lollipop, replaces with priority mode

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Nov 2014 16:16

Google removes silent mode from Android 5.0 Lollipop, replaces with priority mode Google has confirmed that the standard silent mode has disappeared from the volume rocker options in Lollipop for phones, but has been replaced.

In previous iterations of the operating system, you could use the volume rocker to take the ring settings down from loud to vibrate and then finally "silent" which meant no vibrations or rings for notifications.

With the new launch of Android 5.0, users have been complaining that the silent mode is no longer offered, with vibrate and ringer being the only options.

However, with "Priority" mode, the company has taken the traditional silent mode and given more customization options. Your notifications will be silent, and you have the option to let specific things ring or vibrate, including phone calls or alarms.

That being said, please do not fret everyone. Your standard silent mode is dead, but it's still around (and improved).




AfterDawn: News

DirectX 12 will not be supported on Windows 7

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Nov 2014 12:06

DirectX 12 will not be supported on Windows 7 Despite being the most popular Windows operating system, by far, it appears gamers who want the benefits of the upcoming DirectX 12 will have to upgrade their operating system.

DirectX 12 promises gamers reduced CPU overhead and much improved multithreading support leading to increased performance while gaming. In addition, the software promises reduced power consumption, which is great for gaming notebook owners.

The news comes via AMD's Chief Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy who said Windows 7 is now installed on 52 percent of all machines, and that number grows daily. "It's a very, very popular operating system. One thing that's not going to happen to it is DX12. Yup, DX12 is not coming to Windows 7."

Although unsurprising, since Microsoft has used tactics like this in the past, Microsoft's bigger issue will be convincing potential Windows 10 buyers that the OS is actually worth upgrading to.

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AfterDawn: News

Nokia will not return to the phone building business, but could license name out

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Nov 2014 11:34

Nokia will not return to the phone building business, but could license name out New Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri says the company is looking to revive its brand name in the consumer electronics market, but they will not be building phones again.

"I think you can expect our brand will return to the consumer world,"
said Suri. The telecom equipment maker sold its struggling handset business to Microsoft earlier this year, and Microsoft just unveiled their first smartphone with Microsoft branding rather than Nokia's.

Suri says the easiest way to get back in is to license the name to other OEMs who will bank on the name recognition. "We see brand licensing as an opportunity ... But I would say it is more of a long-term opportunity," Suri added. "This is not a sentimentality thing."

Nokia was once the biggest phone maker in the world, and Interbrand says its brand ranking was as high as #5 in the world, as recently as 2007. It has since fallen to the #90s.

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AfterDawn: News

U.S. Marshals fly Cessnas to collect data from thousands of cellphones in search of criminals

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Nov 2014 11:11

U.S. Marshals fly Cessnas to collect data from thousands of cellphones in search of criminals According to new reports, the Justice Department via the U.S. Marshals Service program is collecting data from thousands of Americans cellphones in an effort to find criminal suspects.

The program flies small Cessna airplanes across the U.S. equipped with "dirtboxes" (hardware that mimic cell towers and basically trick cellphones into reporting their unique registration information back) allowing the criminals to be tracked to within 3 meters of their location.

Unfortunately, a criminal is not usually sitting alone in a rural area, so the devices collect data from thousands of innocent American's phones. The flights are said to be done regularly.

All modern phone are internally programmed to connect to the strongest cell tower signal available, and the reports claim that the dirtboxes will always identify as the strongest signal, even though it does not. Any phone that connects, even for a second, will then relay back its unique registration information. Full phone encryption, found on Android 5.0 and iOS 8.x devices, does not matter.

While the overall goal of trying to find fugitives, drug dealers and other criminals has been approved by court order, it is unclear if the orders give free range for any kind of method, like the "dirtboxes" say the sources. It is also unclear how long the government will hold onto the data collected from unsuspecting innocent Americans.

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AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry to offer encryption services on Samsung Knox devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Nov 2014 10:45

BlackBerry to offer encryption services on Samsung Knox devices Earlier this week, BlackBerry and Samsung announced a new joint partnership in which BlackBerry will provide "end-to-end encryption" and expertise on Samsung Knox devices.

BlackBerry's upcoming BlackBerry Enterprise Services 12 platform will be the home of the added Android security, and from most vantage points appears to be a great deal for both companies. While BlackBerry is dead as a hardware maker, it has held onto its reputation for enterprise security.

Knox, Samsung's security platform for businesses, allows employees to have just one device (rather than a work and personal phone) with the ability to transition between both, securely. Knox even received Pentagon approval last year, alongside BlackBerry's own BB 10 operating system.

BlackBerry has not provided information on subscription prices as of yet, but there will be more info to come as the platform gets closer to launch in 2015.

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AfterDawn: News

Google Glass is not ready for debut in 2014: report

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Nov 2014 8:19

Google Glass is not ready for debut in 2014: report Google Glass, the wearable headset that allows users to basically attach Google services and a camera to eyeglass frames, will not see its consumer debut in 2014 as originally planned.

A developer edition, for $1500, became available for all to buy earlier this year, but stock remains plentiful as even Google faithful have begun to lose interest. Reuters contacted 16 Glass app developers, nine of which said they have already abandoned their projects for the wearable, citing a lack of customers and the limitations of the device and software itself.

Within Google, key employees who helped create the Glass have left in recent times. Lead developer Babak Parviz, electrical engineering chief Adrian Wong, and Ossama Alami, director of developer relations have all left for different projects or startups in the past six months. Google still says development is active, and there are hundreds of employees still working on the wearable. "We are completely energized and as energized as ever about the opportunity that wearables and Glass in particular represent," added Glass Head of Business Operations Chris O'Neill. However, the consumer launch is slow coming. "We are as committed as ever to a consumer launch. That is going to take time and we are not going to launch this product until it's absolutely ready," O'Neill said.

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AfterDawn: News

PSA: PlayStation Network down on Monday for scheduled maintenance

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Nov 2014 23:38

PSA: PlayStation Network down on Monday for scheduled maintenance As we normally do here at AfterDawn, we want to make sure our gamer readers know when the scheduled PSN maintenance times are.

Sony confirmed that the PlayStation Network will be down on Monday, the 17th, for routine maintenance from the following times: 12:00PM-6:00PM EST.

The company will be 'deploying a series of back-end improvements to the network', and Sony noted that you will still be able to play online if you are logged in before the network goes down.

Reads the post: "If you've signed in to the network any time since November 13th, you will be able to play games online and access partner apps such as Netflix during this maintenance period. The PlayStation Store, PlayStation Home and Account Management will not be available during this time, and users may receive a maintenance notification when attempting to access these services."




AfterDawn: News

Rdio matches Spotify's family pricing in order to compete

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Nov 2014 22:29

Rdio matches Spotify's family pricing in order to compete Streaming music service Rdio has dropped the price of their family plans to better compete with Spotify's new offering.

Rdio launched family plans back in 2011, letting family members (or friends) share an account for a discounted price, along with individual controls for playlists, favorites and stations so that track selections don't have to commingle.

Here is the new pricing


Family of 2 = $14.99
Family of 3 = $19.99
Family of 4 = $24.99
Family of 5 = $29.99


Spotify recently unveiled their Family Plan with identical pricing, which led to a burst in subscriber sign ups.

Source:
Rdio




AfterDawn: News

Xbox One hits 10 million units sold, long after the PlayStation 4

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Nov 2014 13:50

Xbox One hits 10 million units sold, long after the PlayStation 4 Microsoft says Xbox One sales are on the rise, thanks to new bundles and a price cut.

The company posted this week that they have shipped 10 million units to retailers, with all those units expected to sell through to consumers.

Microsoft dropped the price of the console last week by $50, including bundles with popular new games like Assassin's Creed Unity, Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare, and Sunset Overdrive, giving a jolt to sales. In addition, the highly-anticipated Halo: The Master Chief Collection launched to rave reviews.

Says the company (press release): "The response to this wave of blockbuster game releases and new bundles has been amazing, and sales have skyrocketed since the new price took effect on Nov. 2. Compared to the previous week, Xbox One sales in the US have more than tripled, which is exciting as more and more friends will be playing together this holiday. As we head into the busy holiday season Xbox One led generation 8 console sales in the US for the past two weeks."

While the sales and the milestone are significant, the company is still playing catchup with Sony, whose PlayStation 4 reached 10 million units sold over the summer, and has led new console sales for 10 straight months.




AfterDawn: News

Samsung's Gear VR headset to go on sale next month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Nov 2014 13:35

Samsung's Gear VR headset to go on sale next month Samsung will once again be first to market with a new consumer wearable, with their "Innovator's Edition" Gear VR headset set to go on sale in December.

The device will launch with Oculus' software ready for installation on your phone, including a "VR-specific home screen for navigating between apps, a VR movie theater experience, and the Oculus app store." The company did note that you will need a Samsung Galaxy Note 4, as the device is the only one compatible with the Gear VR and Oculus' mobile SDK.

"Innovator Edition" VR headsets will cost $200 for the headset or $250 for the headset and a Bluetooth 4.0 controller. Given that the Galaxy Note 4 is the only compatible (and apparently powerful enough) device, the whole set will cost you around $1000 if you bought the phone unlocked, a hefty price for a likely early version of the tech.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony is here to kill the traditional cable TV experience with PlayStation Vue

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Nov 2014 12:59

Sony is here to kill the traditional cable TV experience with PlayStation Vue Sony has announced the launch of PlayStation Vue, a cloud-based TV service that will "reinvent" the traditional cable TV experience.

The service will start in beta for PlayStation consoles, and will launch with content from 75 networks including the majors like CBS, Fox, NBCU, Viacom and Discovery. More partnerships are expected in the future especially since Disney and Time Warner are noticeably absent. Disney is the owner of ABC and ESPN, two of the more popular stations for content on all of TV.

PlayStation Vue will offer both live TV and on-demand content but the company did not announce pricing except to say they would be "fair and competitive." Major media outlets have pegged that "fair" figure at about $70 and Sony did note that there are no contracts necessary, nor any additional fees or service charges. You will need a PS3 or PS4, however, which ranges from $150-$400.

"Everyday TV is about to become extraordinary with our new cloud‐based TV service, PlayStation Vue," said Andrew House, president and group CEO of Sony Computer Entertainment and group executive in charge of the network entertainment business. "PlayStation Vue reinvents the traditional viewing experience so your programming effortlessly finds you, enabling you to watch much more of what you want and search a lot less."

"PlayStation Vue brings the best of live TV and a robust catalog of the latest content, always keeping you connected to what's popular, new and trending."

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AfterDawn: News

Apple Watch ready for mass production with at least 30 million units expected?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Nov 2014 12:45

Apple Watch ready for mass production with at least 30 million units expected? If the latest rumors are accurate, Apple is ready for mass production of its Apple Watch smartwatch, with an order of at least 30 million units already placed.

The device is expected to launch in February, and the rumors come via Apple's east Asian chip manufacturers.

30 million for an unproven product is certainly a big figure, and rival Android Wear devices have struggled to reach the millions even after months of release meaning Apple appears to be very, very confident.

For the Apple Watch, the company is using a new system-in-package (SiP) chip called the "S1." The S1 is a custom silicon chip "that stacks and integrates multiple subsystems into an area small enough to fit within a wristwatch's small footprint." Jony Ive has said the S1 is "is entirely encapsulated in resin for superior protection against the elements" but little else is known about the SiP.

See our featurette on the wearable device here: What is the Apple Watch all about?

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AfterDawn: News

Toy maker Hasbro to merge with DreamWorks Animation studio?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Nov 2014 12:32

Toy maker Hasbro to merge with DreamWorks Animation studio? According to new reports, DreamWorks Animation studio is in talks to merge with major toymaker Hasbro.

Hasbro, the second-largest toymaker in the world behind Mattel, could certainly have some nice synergies after a merger given the ability to create consumer products off the popular films from DWA including How to Train Your Dragon, Madagascar, Shrek and Kung Fu Panda. Hasbro recently announced that most of its revenue growth has come via toys related to movie franchises.

DreamWorks Animation could also expand into TV and live-action films, categories in which they have actively been trying to enter in the past couple of years.

Habro has made good partnerships in recent years for their properties to be turned into films, including the Transformers, GI Joe, Candyland and Magic: The Gathering.

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