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Qualcomm fires back at Apple, new patent lawsuits filed

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2017 10:27

Qualcomm fires back at Apple, new patent lawsuits filed The patent drama between Qualcomm and Apple is ever-changing it seems. To start the year Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 million for abusing their patents. Then Qualcomm responded during the summer by taking Apple to court for patent infringement themselves.

A few months later, just a few days ago in fact, Apple filed more lawsuits claiming Qualcomm is using their power management patents without consent. And that gets us to today when Qualcomm has filed their latest claims.

Surprisingly Qualcomm is blaming Apple for pretty much exactly what they were sued for. According to Qualcomm, Apple has been using their camera autofocus and power management patents in their new iPhone models.

The three new claims bring the total number of Qualcomm patent complaints to 16, ZDNet reports. In addition to this, Qualcomm is challenging Apple's patent usage at the International Trade Commission (ITC).


AfterDawn: News

Apple developing another chip in-house to next year's iPhone

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Dec 2017 15:20

Apple developing another chip in-house to next year's iPhone Apple has been trying to get less dependent on other chip manufacturers in the recent years. Most importantly they started developing their own graphics processing units that were first deployed in this year's iPhone models.

Now, according to Nikkei Asian Review, sources say that Apple is developing another in-house chip that will probably find its way to future iPhones.

This time around the chip is a power management chip that makes sure battery lasts. Apple's work on iPhones has resulted in fairly good battery life, albeit not anything competitors don't have to offer. However, Apple's battery life work has mostly been done in software, thanks to iOS being very optimized, so there is certainly more they can do with semiconductor development.

Previously power management chips have been developed by Dialog Semicoductor. Previous GPUs on the other hand were developed by Imagination Technologies. In addition to GPUs, and now it seems power management, Apple's in-house development consists of designing the SoCs (e.g. Apple A11 Bionic), AI or so called Neural Engine chips, and image processing chips.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft brings Edge browser to Android and iOS

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Dec 2017 10:03

Microsoft brings Edge browser to Android and iOS After years and years of development as a part of the Windows 10 ecosystem, Windows 10 Mobile never managed to grow into a proper business. All the bets Microsoft made with Windows 10 Mobile and buying smartphone business from Nokia failed.

After acknowledging that there is no future for Windows 10 smartphones, Microsoft has been focusing heavily on producing better Android and iOS apps. Many of its core software obviously are already on both platforms, including the Office suite and even Cortana, but now Microsoft has added another one to both iOS and Android.

Microsoft has just released their browser, Microsoft Edge, on both Android and iOS. Edge is, of course, the browser that comes with Windows 10 and replaced Internet Explorer, or IE, as the main browser on the platform.

The idea behind this is of course that people that are familiar with the Edge on desktop will start using it on their phones. Maybe a few will even discover it via the mobile version.

After a couple months of beta testing, the app is now available for all to download, so head to Play Store or App Store if you'd like to try out Microsoft's browser offering on your smartphone.

AfterDawn: News

Google Home now understands two questions at once

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Dec 2017 11:53

Google Home now understands two questions at once Google has updated their smart speakers with new type of functionality. As Amazon is ever updating their Echo lineup, consisting now half a dozen devices, and bringing new features via their Alexa app, Google needs to step up their game too.

Now Google has introduced multitasking to Google Home.

Finally, many of you probably think. Now you can ask your Google Home about weather and traffic in one go instead of asking, waiting, and asking again. However, there are a few drawbacks, as CNET notes.

Currently the feature only allows you to ask no more than two questions. Thankfully you aren't limited by things you can string together, unlike the Routines on Amazon Echo. Amazon's Routines only allow you to do certain tasks (including smart home, traffic, news, and weather) together, and you also need to preprogram them with your Alexa app.

Preprogrammed routines do have some other benefits too, though, so you Home owners will be happy to hear that Google is going to bring that type of feature to the Home as well. In the meantime you'll have to work with two questions for two answers.

AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 is now on more than 600 million machines

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Dec 2017 11:43

Windows 10 is now on more than 600 million machines Microsoft released the latest iteration of their computer operating system Windows in July of 2015. Now three and a half years later, Windows 10 has become hugely popular and ever growing.

Windows 10 is clearly one of the more important generations of Windows, and it has numbers to back that up. In 2015 Microsoft claimed that in 2018 Windows 10 will pass the billion user mark if you count all the versions of Windows 10 (including tablets and phones).

While we're not yet in that kind of numbers, and 2018 is just around the corner, Windows 10 has passed an impressive milestone. Currently Windows 10 is used by over 600 million users. And you have to remember that the whole Windows 10 phone thing failed miserably which doesn't really help with the target.

Even if one billion might be a little bit off, Windows 10 is growing rather fast. In May Microsoft said that Windows 10 was in half a billion devices worldwide, which makes give us a 100 million user growth over six months. If the rate continues, and that is a big if, Microsoft would pass 1 billion mark around this time of the year in 2019.

That is not Microsoft's prediction, though, as the company has apparently decided to refrain from commenting on new predictions.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube blocked huge amounts of music in Finland

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Nov 2017 14:51

YouTube blocked huge amounts of music in Finland YouTube has surprised the people of Finland today, as they have been unable to listen to their favorite songs on one of the more popular online entertainment platforms.

The world's most popular video service, sometimes used for listening to music and watching music videos, has blocked copious amounts of videos that feature music by artists represented by Teosto, a Finnish organization representing thousands of local and millions of foreign artists.

First reported by Iltalehti, Google owned streaming video service has blocked many of the videos containing music by Teosto represented artists. Block doesn't discriminate whether the content is official music videos or videos containing music by said artists, or whether the artist is Finnish or not.

According to Finnish national broadcasting company Yle, the licensing deal ran out and thus all the content was blocked by Google.

Currently if you are trying to access the videos in Finland you are prompted with a message saying: "This video contains content from TEOSTO. It is not available in your country." YouTube Help has also added a page explaining the block and its reasons for implementing it.


AfterDawn: News

HDMI gets an update, new version supports 10K video

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Nov 2017 13:08

HDMI gets an update, new version supports 10K video HDMI has been the de facto video and audio connection between TVs and digital entertainment devices for years now, but it certainly isn't the same connection it was in the early 2000s.

Now, more than a decade after the first HDMI specifications, the High-Definition Multimedia Interface has been adopted in billions of devices, and it's far more versatile that it was at version 1.0 with under 4 Gbps bandwidth.

The new HDMI 2.1 specifications have been released two days ago and they increase the speeds and compatibility even further. HDMI 2.1 supports up to 10K resolution video, which at this point in time can't be really even viewed on any device, not to mention there aren't a lot of 10K videos around. In addition it supports 8K at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz.

Also it support dynamic HDR, a feature that is bound to be popular in the future. It allows high dynamic range, used in filming many of the films and TV shows these days, that can be altered on the fly for each frame individually.

The bandwidth has been increased to a maximum of 48 Gbps, over 10 times that of the original HDMI and nearly triple the bandwidth of previous iteration, HDMI 2.0. Also, for those wondering, HDMI 2.1 is fully backwards compatible with version 2.0.


AfterDawn: News

Apple and Qualcomm at it again, chip maker sued for patent infringement

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Nov 2017 12:44

Apple and Qualcomm at it again, chip maker sued for patent infringement Apple has once again sued the world's largest mobile chip manufacturer Qualcomm. As you might have guessed, it's once again another patent dispute where Apple thinks Qualcomm is breaking the law.

According to Apple, Qualcomm is using a patented technology that allows the chips to use less power and retain better battery life. The technology is used in a variety of Android phones that are powered by Qualcomm's popular Snapdragon chipsets.

Reuters reports that the feature allows the smartphones' processor to draw the minimum power needed at the time by turning off unnecessary cores. Apple says that this sleep and wake function is used in Snapdragon 800 and 820 chipsets released in 2013 and 2015 respectively.

This only the latest part in the drama between the two, as originally Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 billion in January for not paying certain royalties. According to the chip maker, they weren't required to pay after Apple had broken the contract at the time of the investigation.

Qualcomm then countersued Apple in the summer for infringing on its battery saving patents. Now the same feature has been used to turn around the tables once more.

The lawsuit was filed at U.S. District Court in San Diego, CA, where also Qualcomm's headquarters are located.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube Go is the diet version of YouTube – here's how to get it

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Nov 2017 16:01

YouTube Go is the diet version of YouTube – here's how to get it YouTube is the number one online video resource bar none, not even close. However, even the largest provider of video content has their problems (and we're not talking about demonetization here), one of which are the data requirements.

Obviously watching videos over the internet is very data intensive, and many of us understand that video is more requiring of your data connection than pictures or text. Google knows this and has been trying to develop all kinds of technologies to give access to video content to all, not just to people with unlimited LTE data.

This includes developing their own video codecs as well as better optimized versions of the service itself. The development of the latter has now taken a major leap forward as Google has finally released it to the public.

YouTube Go is meant mainly for people that do not have access to fast and unlimited internet access. It's a lighter, diet version, if you will, of YouTube app that allows the users to download videos for later viewing. It also lets you transfer videos via Bluetooth that obviously doesn't require perhaps costly internet connection.

Obviously many of us in the western world have access to unlimited, or something close to it (thanks U.S. carriers), so YouTube Go is mostly directed towards emerging markets. Thus the app has limited availability, and you'll have to jump through few hoops to get it in the U.S. or Europe.


AfterDawn: News

Bitcoin breaks $10,000 milestone just days after $9,000

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 29 Nov 2017 15:42

Bitcoin breaks $10,000 milestone just days after $9,000 Bitcoin has become increasingly more popular over the years but this year the cryptocurrency seems to have changed to a new gear. In less than a year Bitcoin value has skyrocketed.

The virtual, albeit no-less real, currency was valued just around a thousand US dollars at the turn of the year. Now 11 months later Bitcoin has managed to break the $10,000 milestone first time ever, ten times the January 1st price.

The trading has been heating up and the bubble is enlarging by the day. Bitcoin actually managed to barely break even $11,000 in a short-lived hike today but has since fallen clearly below. Just three days ago Bitcoin soared past the $9,000 limit and at the time of writing this, one Bitcoin costs $10,410.

Many think that the bubble is close to bursting and with such gains it is hard to argue against it, but this isn't the first time naysayers have seen doom and gloom in the near future.

However, to both economists, like Yale professor Robert Shiller, and regular observers alike this looks like a bubble of all bubbles. Even the dot com bubble seems slow and steady in comparison.

There's lot of controversy around Bitcoin coming even from inside the community. The hard fork followed by a cloned cryptocurrency Bitcoin Cash (BCH) has divided the community apart. Some believe BCH is necessary for the evolution of Bitcoin as the future of currency, while others believe that it's a fraud and only tries to gain attention by abusing Bitcoin's name and status.


AfterDawn: News

Black Friday sales made Jeff Bezos worth over $100 billion, first time since Bill Gates

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Nov 2017 12:06

Black Friday sales made Jeff Bezos worth over $100 billion, first time since Bill Gates Earlier this fall Jeff Bezos, the founder and CEO of e-commerce giant Amazon, passed Bill Gates to become the richest man alive once again after switching places the past year. Now, having a net worth of over $93 billion is pretty good but it was still early in the year, so good ol' Jeff decided to improve the numbers a bit.

Obviously it was Black Friday that now has bumped the Amazon stock enough to increase Jeff Bezos' net worth to over $100 billion – $100,000,000,000. This is the first time anyone has boasted such a high net worth since Bill Gates nearly 20 years ago.

As Bloomberg notes, Bill Gates passed the magical $100 billion net worth in 1999 when he was at the top of his game.

While Black Friday might have taken Bezos over the milestone, and Cyber Monday will probably increase the gap to Bill Gates, it has been a steady rise all year for Amazon and its CEO. Amazon stock is up nearly 60% this year and Bezos' net worth is up nearly as much, over 50%.

AfterDawn: News

Analyst: iPhone X's shorter waiting times not an indication of slowed sales

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 26 Nov 2017 11:43

Analyst: iPhone X's shorter waiting times not an indication of slowed sales Apple's iPhone X was released only three weeks ago but already Apple is catching up to the orders. This is obviously good news to anyone trying to find themselves a fresh iPhone X to celebrate the holidays, or perhaps even gift your loved one, with.

However, as Apple was rumored to be having issues with production far into 2018, reports that supply is catching up with demand might sound bad – especially if you have invested in Apple stock. It could mean that sales numbers are just not reaching quite as high as predicted.

For you with #AAPL stock, respected Apple analyst from KGI Securities, Ming-Chi Kuo, has some good news. According to Kuo Apple has managed to avoid the worst struggles with production capacity and shipping estimates or 1-2 weeks are no indication of week sales.

Kuo tells MacRumors that Apple's main supplier Foxconn is now able to produce up to 550,000 units compared to just 50,000 to 150,000 a month or two ago. The two bottlenecks, LTE antenna and Face ID dot projector, have been largely addressed.

This might result in better than expected sales in Q4, but shipments in early 2018 will be more comparable to Q4 2017 instead of solid increase predicted previously. One can expect a record-breaking Q4 from Apple.

AfterDawn: News

My Tamagotchi Forever is a mobile revamp of the 20 yo virtual pet

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Nov 2017 13:34

My Tamagotchi Forever is a mobile revamp of the 20 yo virtual pet You remember Tamagotchi, right? The Japanese virtual pet trapped in a tiny electronic device that you managed to kill by overfeeding. Well, that Tamagotchi is coming to a mobile device near you, Engadget reports.

After unveiling a 20 year anniversary edition of the original Tamagotchi last month, the company is everything but done celebrating their low-resolution pet. In fact, resolution is about to get way better, as Bandai Namco is releasing a new mobile game called My Tamagotchi Forever.

As you might imagine, in the mobile game you take care of your Tamatown virtual pets by feeding, bathing, and putting them in bed. Obviously you'll be reminded of your pets existence all too often, which is only appropriate in this day and age of notifications.

After Pokémon GO, Super Mario Run, and now Tamagotchi it seems like nostalgic Japanese franchises are making quite a comeback.

My Tamagotchi Forever is currently available only in Canada but global release seems to be imminent. The game will be available for both iOS and Android in 2018, probably fairly early in the year.


AfterDawn: News

Hackers stole emails and passwords of 1.7 million from social image sharing site Imgur

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Nov 2017 11:41

Hackers stole emails and passwords of 1.7 million from social image sharing site Imgur The image-sharing website Imgur has informed the public yesterday about a data breach that happened a few years back. According to a statement by Imgur, approximately 1.7 million accounts were compromised in 2014.

Imgur clarifies that hackers have seemed to have acquired email addresses and passwords of affected users, but there was no personally-identifying information to be acquired so no names, addresses or phone numbers have leaked.

However, while the passwords were encrypted, they used an older and less secure SHA-256 hash that could have been broken with brute force. Imgur updated their encryption algorithms to a more modern version last year.

If you've been affected, you should have already received an email from Imgur which prompted you to change the password immediately. Obviously changing passwords on every site that shared that password is necessary as well.

AfterDawn: News

ProtonMail Contacts offers zero-access encryption for Contact information

Written by James Delahunty @ 22 Nov 2017 7:58

ProtonMail Contacts offers zero-access encryption for Contact information ProtonMail, the encrypted e-mail service, has now unveiled ProtonMail Contacts, which provides zero-access encryption for contact information.

Zero-access encryption means that the protected contact fields are encrypted in such a way that only you are able to decrypt and read them, not even ProtonMail can read them. While you can't encrypt the e-mail address of a contact (since ProtonMail needs to know where to send the email) you can encrypt other fields such as Address, Phone Number and Notes.

The goal of this feature is to provide another level of security for journalists and others who need to keep the identity of acquaintances (e.g. sources) as secret as possible while still being able to contact them.

In additional, digital signatures are utilizes to verify the integrity of contacts data, including the e-mail address. Verified fields are denoted with a tick. If verification fails (e.g. due to tampering), a very prominent red-background warning will display.

More information: ProtonMail

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