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WhatsApp has finally introduced video calling

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Nov 2016 14:10

WhatsApp has finally introduced video calling WhatsApp has not been trying to implement every feature under the sun. The company has trusted that a well working app with thought out features is the way to go. And who can blame, when the app is the world's largest messaging platform.

With over a billion users it's clear the WhatsApp is doing something very right. However, it's not going to stop developing new features, not at all. Among smaller updates WhatsApp introduced voice calls last year. Now it's time for video calls.

The voice calls will start to become available on Android, iOS, as well as Windows Phone in the coming days. If you won't see it in the first few days, don't worry, the release is probably gradual and different regions might get it first.

WhatsApp says it is important to bring video calls to everyone, not just to people with the most expensive and fancy smartphones.

AfterDawn: News

Do Trump's policies with China create a trade war?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Nov 2016 8:55

Do Trump's policies with China create a trade war? President elect Donald Trump has been criticizing the deals the US has made with China during nearly the entire election cycle. Accusing China of manipulating their currency, Trump wants stricter trade deals with the Asian powerhouse.

According to an op-ed in Global Times this could mean a trade war with severe consequences. The 45 percent tariff, promised by Trump, is not a realistic increase without the country being in a state of emergency. However an increase to 15 percent for a limited time is possible as well as product specific tariffs.

This however would mean that in response China would impose their own restrictions and that would lead into a trade war that wouldn't benefit either side, Global Times writes. Increasing the tariff could affect the sales of for example Boeing and Apple.

The paper suggests that this is probably just Trump's campaign rhetoric that will never see the light of day.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung's new venture to car electronics cost it $8 billion

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Nov 2016 8:43

Samsung's new venture to car electronics cost it $8 billion Samsung announced yesterday that is has bought a car electronics company Harman for approximately 8 billion US dollars. Obviously behind the acquisition is the strategic move towards car infotainment systems.

As Apple and Google (as many others) have been trying to move more and more into the car industry, it seems that Samsung is following suit in massive way. Apple has its own CarPlay and Google is developing Android Auto, both of which are competing against Harman's equipment.

Buying Harman is a significant step that brings not only infotainment manufacturing and development but also contacts within the very closed car industry.

With more than 30 million vehicles equipped with Harman's systems Samsung gets into the right negotiations without having to work for it. Also Samsung can get the full benefit of Harman's valuable entertainment brands, including JBL, Harman Kardon, and AKG.

AfterDawn: News

Apple CEO after Trump victory: "Let's move forward -- together!"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Nov 2016 14:49

Apple CEO after Trump victory: "Let's move forward -- together!" Apple as a tech company in Cupertino, California is by default a left-leaning place to work at. No only that Tim Cook has been supporting Hillary Clinton for president by hosting her fundraisers.

Now that Trump won the election, the CEO has had to come forward and try humbly build bridges and unite employees.

The letter Tim Cook send his employees was posted by MacRumors and it is an important message to workers within Apple. It highlights core values of Apple, which include diversity. This time Cook is not only defending the diversity of race, religion, and sex but also diversity of opinion, which makes it an important statement.

He stresses that Apple's goal hasn't changed and principles it stands for have not changed. Apple is a company that is open to all and creates products that improve people's lives.

"We have a very diverse team of employees, including supporters of each of the candidates," Cook states in the letter and continues to emphasize the importance of moving forward together by any means possible quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and closes his letter in same tone, "Let's move forward -- together!"


AfterDawn: News

Facebook stops using WhatsApp data thanks to UK watchdog

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 09 Nov 2016 14:07

Facebook stops using WhatsApp data thanks to UK watchdog As Facebook bought the world's largest messaging platform WhatsApp in 2014 it promised to keep it clear of ads and keep messaging private. Now the UK watchdog has had to come in and stop Facebook from collecting data from WhatsApp users.

In August Facebook decided to start sharing the user data from WhatsApp to Facebook. There's only one reason to do this, profit. Facebook was looking to use the data to sell ads but is not asking permission from WhatsApp users that are led to believe that the data is private.

The information commissioner Elizabeth Denham said in an interview with Ars Technica that they are pleased that Facebook has stopped the sharing of data for now but still sees some issues with the privacy policies in terms of information given about and consent for data usage.

The watchdogs in Spain and Germany have also either started investigating or are already requesting Facebook to remove all data on WhatsApp users.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung to rival Google and Apple with its own AI assistant

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Nov 2016 14:18

Samsung to rival Google and Apple with its own AI assistant Samsung is trying to do its best to keep discussion away from the catastrophic failure of Galaxy Note7. Mostly this means talking about future products and most importantly the upcoming Galaxy S8.

This has even meant that Samsung is willing to give a little sneak peek into what kind of new features we might expect with its next years flagship smartphone. Now Samsung has revealed that it is indeed bringing its own voice assistant to the mix.

Samsung's own AI assistant has been rumored since the acquisition of Viv Labs which was founded by the Siri founders. The people responsible for first versions of Apple's assistant are now creating a rival. And not only a rival to Apple but to Samsung's partner Google which introduced Google Assistant earlier this year.

Unfortunately not much else was revealed so we'll have to wait until next year to fully understand why Samsung would develop their own piece of software instead of adopting Google's. However, Samsung said that the AI enables easy access to third party software.

One thing Samsung definitely has is a large portfolio of devices, so the new AI, whatever it may be called, might find its way to not only your smartphone but your washer and dryer, your TV, your fridge, and your microwave.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube finally adds HDR support

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Nov 2016 13:58

YouTube finally adds HDR support HDR has been arguably the biggest trend in displays this year. Adding to the clarity and contrast of 4K televisions, HDR brings a completely new type of technology to mainstream TVs.

Of course the world's leading streaming video service is going to be in the bandwagon and Google revealed already early this year in the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it will be introducing HDR support to YouTube "soon." Well, now it is that time, as YouTube has officially added the support for HDR videos.

This of course means a significant boost to amount of content for HDR TV early adopters, especially when content creators find this feature, which I assure you won't take long. This year companies like Amazon, Netflix as well as PlayStation have added support for High Dynamic Range in their products. PlayStation even added it to their standard PlayStation 4 in addition to the new PS4 Pro.

To get everything out of the HDR videos you need a TV set (or a monitor) that supports HDR. This usually means a fairly new 4K TV, and most of the upcoming mid-range to top of the line 4K models should support HDR.

To get an idea what more clarity, better contrast, and overall better picture in terms of HDR means YouTube has provided the picture below to simulate the differences. To try out your HDR TV – or what HDR videos look on your non-HDR monitor – you can click yourself to this playlist.


AfterDawn: News

Google gives YouTube creators more moderation tools

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Nov 2016 13:24

Google gives YouTube creators more moderation tools Not too long ago Google tried fusing Google+ with YouTube comments, but that was not the way to go to Google backtracked. Ever since the company has been trying to find ways to allow more moderation in its service.

Obviously the aim is to remove unhealthy commentary and give more room for genuine and "good" comments. Now the comment section is being upgraded with new tools that allow content creators to rate their commenters more efficiently, TechCrunch reports.

In the future YouTubers can promote good comments to the top of the list with a new pinning feature. Pinning is restricted to one comment per video. Other new features include favoriting or giving a heart to comments they like as well as highlighted creator names that will be easier to spot among the comments. With verified creators there's also a checkmark beside the colored name.

Recently Google introduced YouTube Heroes which are community moderators who level up by reporting bad comments and content. It has received a lot of criticism and controversy and the opposition says it could result in policing that is not appropriate and doesn't reflect the platform.


AfterDawn: News

Google is struggling to get people paying for YouTube

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Nov 2016 15:19

Google is struggling to get people paying for YouTube Why would you pay for something that you get for free? That is a question that streaming services like Spotify and YouTube have been trying to figure out for years. There doesn't seem to be a solution or even a good answer to that question.

After twelve months since the release of YouTube Red, the video service is still having trouble finding paying customers, writes The Verge. The service is essentially YouTube with a few exclusive shows and no advertisements. With only 1.5 million customers, recorded couple months ago, it's a far cry from what Google had in mind.

That's just over one tenth of a percent of YouTube's over a billion monthly active users. Obviously Red is only available in a limited market and requires more time to be available worldwide but I assure that Google is not happy with mere million or two million payers. That generates under 200 million of revenue which is peanuts to Google.

Seems that YouTube needs to be investing a lot more (in exclusive content) to get the type of traction it needs to compete against the likes of Netflix which is closing in on 100 million subscribers.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung investing over billion dollars in Austin, TX plant

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Nov 2016 17:57

Samsung investing over billion dollars in Austin, TX plant Samsung has recently told the media that it will increase the investment to its Austin, TX manufacturing plant by a further billion dollars – yes, that is billion with a 'B'. The manufacturing facility located in Texas will ramp up the production of semiconductor chips for Samsung and its' contract customers, Reuters reports.

The investment will be gradually made before the end of next year and will boost production to meet growing demand. Among the largest contract customers of the world's second largest chip manufacturer after Intel are Apple, Qualcomm and Nvidia.

Apple has lately been moving away from Samsung and reportedly stroke a deal with TSMC for the upcoming A11 chip. Qualcomm and Nvidia on the other hand are said to be relying on Samsung's manufacturing process with their upcoming high-end chips.

Semiconductors and especially memory chips have been a good business for Samsung for a while. They most recently kept Samsung afloat while problems with smartphone business has stalled the growth in last quarter. This will further advance Samsung's stability as they aim to retake smartphone business growth.

AfterDawn: News

GMG apologizes for bad Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 keys

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Nov 2016 18:56

GMG apologizes for bad Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 keys Green Man Gaming (GMG) has apologized for sending out bad keys for the new Titanfall 2 and Battlefield 1 games.

Many consumers pre-ordered the games and either received invalid keys or did not receive any keys at all.

Reads the company's statement on the matter: "Over the last few days, the demand for Battlefield 1 and Titanfall 2 on the Green Man Gaming store has been unprecedented. Our mission is to put the customer first and offer gamers a wide range of products at great prices. Our customer service team take pride in looking after our customers and we'd like to sincerely apologise to all those customers who we've been slow to respond to.

We have put on extra customer service staff and are dedicated to making sure all our customer queries are responded to as soon as possible.

We recognise that it can be frustrating for some of our pre-order customers who were not able to play their games immediately but, we're working through our tickets as fast as we can to ensure we help all our customers with their queries."

GMG had similar problems earlier this year with Overwatch.


AfterDawn: News

Worldwide tablet sales fall nearly 15 percent year-over-year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Nov 2016 0:17

Worldwide tablet sales fall nearly 15 percent year-over-year The global tablet slump continued this quarter, showing a year-over-year decline of 14.7 percent to 43 million units.

Most vendors saw significant declines but Amazon's Prime Day sale led to huge sales of the company's Fire tablet, which sells for under $100.

"Beyond the different end-user experience delivered by low- and high-end tablets, we're witnessing real tectonic movements in the market with slate companion devices sold at the low-end serving a broader platform strategy, like Amazon is doing with Alexa on its Fire Tablets, and more expensive productivity tools closer to true computing and legitimate notebook replacement devices that should manage to keep average prices up," said Jean Philippe Bouchard, research director, Tablets at IDC.

Apple and Samsung still control the market, with 21.5 and 15 percent market share, respectively, but each saw declines during the quarter.


AfterDawn: News

Google giving out $50 Play vouchers due to delays in Pixel shipments

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Nov 2016 0:05

Google giving out $50 Play vouchers due to delays in Pixel shipments Earlier this week, Google announced that its Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones have sold out of pre-orders, with demand much higher than expectations.

Due to the lack of supply, shipments have been delayed and Google is sending affected customers some Play Store credits to apologize.

If your phone is not being shipped by its promised date, you should be receiving an email with $50 of store credit, which can be used on media like movies, music, and apps.

See the attached screenshot of emails that affected users have received:


AfterDawn: News

Google reveals actively exploited Windows vulnerability

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Oct 2016 23:19

Google reveals actively exploited Windows vulnerability Google has revealed details of a 0-day vulnerability in the Windows operating system that it claims is being currently exploited.

The search giant disclosed the flaw to Microsoft just 10 days ago, but Microsoft has not yet released a patch or even an advisory.

Reads Google's post:


AfterDawn: News

LG, Samsung fight for new Apple OLED business with large investments

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Oct 2016 22:11

LG, Samsung fight for new Apple OLED business with large investments Both LG Display and Samsung will combine to invest about $12 billion USD in flexible OLED tech this year in an effort to win orders for the upcoming Apple iPhones.

The investments are a record high and analysts believe the companies will continue in a "do or die" fight to become the leader in the market.

Samsung is currently the clear leader in the market for small and mid-sized OLEDs, accounting for over 90 percent of units sold. The company will make an additional $4 billion investment this quarter alone. LG, on the other hand, will make a similar investment this quarter to make sure facilities are ready for manufacturing of hundreds of millions of displays for Apple.

Apple is expected to adopt flexible OLEDs for their 10-year anniversary model of the iPhone next year, moving away from "retina" LCD screens.


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