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AfterDawn: News

PSA: If AT&T 'crammed' you, your deadline for getting a refund is tomorrow

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2015 16:02

PSA: If AT&T 'crammed' you, your deadline for getting a refund is tomorrow Earlier this year, AT&T settled with the U.S. FTC over "cramming," a practice in which the carrier allowed third-parties to charge customers for services without their knowledge and then hiding the charges deep in the billing statement.

AT&T will pay $105 million to the FTC to settle the charges, and any subscriber to the wireless carrier needs to complete the paperwork for a refund by tomorrow.

Many of the unwanted charges were as expensive as $9.99 per month, and included services that provided daily horoscope text messages or 30 second ringtones. The charges would then show up on your bill under the banner of AT&T monthly service charges, thus making them easy to miss.

More shockingly, the FTC charged that AT&T kept 35 percent of the revenue brought in from cramming, which amounted to tens of millions of dollars per year.

If you think you may be eligible, call 877-819-9692. If you know you are eligible, you can submit for the refund here: FTC. Because the government is handling the refund, you can expect your refund within the next nine months.




AfterDawn: News

Paying Hulu subscribers jumps by 50 percent in last year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2015 15:28

Paying Hulu subscribers jumps by 50 percent in last year Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins has announced that there are now nearly 9 million paying subscribers to the streaming TV and movies on-demand service.

That figure is over 50 percent higher than last year, a significant jump for the premium service that costs $7.99 per month. "2015 is the year Hulu will break out," Hopkins boasted.

Total streams were up 77 percent in the last quarter, and viewers streamed over 700 million hours in first 90 days of the year, a huge 83 percent jump year-over-year. Those metrics are great for Hulu and Hopkins also noted that the average Hulu subscriber is watching about 30 percent more content this year than last year.

Hulu also announced a new deal with AMC to stream content that AMC makes from its own studio, which includes the brand new 'Fear the Walking Dead' spinoff series.

The service is owned by Disney, Fox and Comcast (NBCU) and therefore offers nearly all the traditional broadcast content you would be watching on TV regularly. There is a free Hulu that offers some library content and new episodes of popular shows a week after they air, along with ads while the $7.99 option still has ads but offers more full catalogs and episodes of new shows the day after they air on TV.

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AfterDawn: News

Evernote introduces updated price tiers for note taking service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2015 15:14

Evernote introduces updated price tiers for note taking service Evernote has rolled out their new pricing tiers, launching a "Plus" tier that sits comfortably between their free offering and the more fully featured "Premium" offering.

For the free option, you get up to 60MB of monthly uploads, cross platform sync and the ability to share and discuss within Evernote. For most people, this will be all you need, but if you are working in a team, the other options may be preferable.

The new Plus tier offers everything from the free, 1GB of monthly uploads, access to the service offline, you can save up to 250 emails into Evernote and finally, you can password-lock the app on mobile devices to stop family from snooping. The upgraded plan also supports notes up to 50MB compared to the free version at 25MB.

Up in the Premium tier, you get unlimited monthly uploads, all the Plus features, and the ability to convert your notes into presentations, search within Office docs and their attachments, annotate attached PDFs, OCR business cards and share Evernote files with everyone. Notes can be up to 200MB large with the premium account.

The Plus tier is just $2.99 per month or $24.99 annually if you pay it in full, and the Premium tier is $5.99 a month or $49.99 if you pay annually.

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AfterDawn: News

LG officiially unveils its latest flagship, the G4

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2015 14:39

LG officiially unveils its latest flagship, the G4 LG has officially unveiled its G4 flagship, and even though nearly every aspect of the phone had already been revealed or leaked in the previous two weeks, it is still nice to see the official hands-on and spec sheets.

The phone has a large 5.5-inch, 2560 x 1440 pixel (QHD) display, adds a bit of a curve (to help avoid shattering the screen if you drop it), is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB of RAM, 32GB of internal storage (microSD expandable), a 3,000mAh removable battery (no QuickCharging or wireless charging available however) and Android 5.1 with LG's own custom UI on top.

Notably, LG says its GPS nav and location services are "twice as accurate" as any other phone but that remains to be seen. Additionally, the company says it is removing lots of bloat, so the devices will seem almost like stock, and 100GB of free Google Drive storage is also included for 24 months.

Different from the G3 (and other devices) is that LG will offer a leather back plate and that the materials used are the same that go into luxury handbags but it is unclear how much a leather G4 will set you back.

The LG G4 is scheduled to reach all major U.S. carriers by the end of May.

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AfterDawn: News

Secret shuts down, just 14 months after it was dubbed the next big thing

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Apr 2015 13:38

Secret shuts down, just 14 months after it was dubbed the next big thing Secret, the iOS and Android app that allowed users to share messages anonymously, has shut down for good.

Founder David Byttow posted the decision in an aptly named post called "Sunset" as the site will shut down a mere 14 months after being dubbed the next big thing by venture capitalists and given a value near $100 million.

Here is the post in its entirety:

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AfterDawn: News

See the awesome Microsoft HoloLens in action

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2015 23:44

See the awesome Microsoft HoloLens in action Microsoft showcased its awesome hologram technology HoloLens today at their annual BUILD developer conference, demoing how it works in conjunction with Windows apps.

The company showed off the tech, which it appears is being aimed at consumers who want to enhance their normal PC usage and also at corporations and that workplace.

Microsoft says it wants developers to get started on developing apps for the holographic versions of Windows and has been provided HoloLens headsets to test at Build.

Check the demo in action:




AfterDawn: News

BUILD: Microsoft sees Windows 10 on 1 billion devices in three years

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2015 21:54

BUILD: Microsoft sees Windows 10 on 1 billion devices in three years According to Windows boss Terry Myerson, over 1 billion devices will be running Windows 10 in just three years time, a hugely optimistic forecast that shows how confident the company is with its upcoming operating system that will run on PCs, mobile devices and more.

Myerson also revealed new tools that will let Android and iOS developers port their apps easier to Windows 10, without needing to completely rewrite the app's code.

"One thing we haven't had -- a great Windows release could drive people to refresh their PC," Myerson said in an interview. "I see people with these Windows 7 PCs and I look at a great new 2-in-1 device with touch and I think there's so much more you could have. I'm a little more optimistic."

King Digital has already used the new tools to bring Candy Crush to Windows, and the company says it is happy with the results. The hope is that popular app makers for the two most popular operating systems will convert their apps and games over and help drive usership to Windows.

Perhaps most importantly, Microsoft gave some more info about its Universal Apps, which will work no matter what size the device you are using is. The company says developers can tweak the code to make sure only certain content is seen on specific devices, like 3D holograms that can only be seen on HoloLens, for example. Myers says Disney, Netflix, Evernote, Tencent and other major companies are already creating Universal Apps.

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AfterDawn: News

Video: Microsoft's next browser is officially called Edge

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2015 21:21

Video: Microsoft's next browser is officially called Edge Microsoft's Internet Explorer successor, previously codenamed as 'Project Spartan,' is officially known now as Microsoft Edge.

The software giant announced the details earlier today at their annual BUILD conference and Edge will be the built-in browser for Windows 10 devices.

Outside of the light details Microsoft has revealed in the past few months, there was little else revealed today besides the name and a teaser trailer.

What we do know is that Edge has a built-in reader, sharing features and the ability to take notes; support for the voice-activated Cortana personal assistant; minimalist design; a new rendering engine called EdgeHTML; more simplicity in features and options; tab previews just from scrolling over them and the ability to draw (?) on the page.

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AfterDawn: News

Google releases 'Password Alert' browser extension to help protect against phishing

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2015 20:54

Google releases 'Password Alert' browser extension to help protect against phishing Google has released 'Password Alert' this week, a browser extension for Chrome that will help protect against phishing attacks that are out to get your Google credentials.

The new extension is great if you are a user of Google services as it will alert you if you have entered login info to fake Google sign-in pages created to steal your personal info.

Google is able to check this by scanning the page against its vast library of sign-in forms to see if it is a legitimate site or not. If you do get duped, the extension will inform you that it is time to change your password and to change the username/password combo on any other site you may have been using it on. If for some reason you need to submit your Google credentials to a legitimate third-party site, you can choose to ignore the extension's warnings.

Chrome comes with Safe Browsing phishing protection right out of the box, but Password Alert is great for new phishing sites that may not have been analyzed by Google yet.

Read more here via Google.




AfterDawn: News

LG: We are working on Windows Phones again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2015 20:29

LG: We are working on Windows Phones again After a year of building just Android phones, it appears that LG is developing at least one new Windows Phone device.

The LG VW820 has been rumored since December when its existence was inadvertently revealed by an ad network, and we seem to have better proof now.

LG's own Korean website has two listing for the VW820 now, confirmed to be running a Microsoft operating system. Additionally, the phone has been certified by the Bluetooth SIG now, as well.

There are no other details known about the device except for the basic info from the ad network which claims it will be a low-end 4.7-inch 480x854 resolution phone. It also has been suggested the device will run Windows Phone 8.1 and not 10, due to the listings stating "Windows Phone" and not just "Windows," which Microsoft has done for all 10-based devices.

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AfterDawn: News

OUYA puts itself up for sale with buyer needed desperately

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2015 20:02

OUYA puts itself up for sale with buyer needed desperately Gaming startup OUYA has put itself up for sale with a buyer likely needed for the company to avoid bankruptcy.

According to a leaked email from CEO Julie Uhrman sent to investors, the company could not restructure its existing debt with the venture capital firm TriplePoint Capital, and the debt is expected to be in excess of $10 million.

The company launched a Android gaming set-top box after a huge campaign on Kickstarter but the system could not compete with offerings from bigger tech companies and had to move away from hardware. The company began licensing its operating system, and very recently received $10 million from Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba who will use the service on some of its set-tops. OUYA also has deals with Xiaomi for delivery of games on their TVs.

Uhrman wrote: "Given our debtholder's timeline, the process will be quick. We are looking for expressions of interest by the end of this month."

"Our focus now is trying to recover as much investor capital as possible," Uhrman added. "We believe we've built something real and valuable. I continue to read the tweets and emails of our fans who play OUYA every day, and our catalog is now over 1,000 apps and 40,000 developers. We have the largest library of Android content for the TV (still more than Amazon) -- hells ya!"

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung's profits fall tremendously as larger iPhones eat into sales

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2015 19:48

Samsung's profits fall tremendously as larger iPhones eat into sales Samsung Electronics announced this week that its profits fell 39 percent year-over-year as Apple's latest offerings cut into sales.

For the quarter ended March 31st, net profit was 4.63 trillion won ($4.35 billion), down from 7.49 trillion in the same period last year. Most of the loss in profits was due to the underperforming mobile division, which saw profits of just 2.74 trillion won ($2.5 billion) compared to 6.43 trillion ($6 billion) a year earlier.

While Samsung still outsold Apple, it is clear the company lost major ground in the high-end luxury smartphone market, where the margins are biggest. Samsung is said to have sold around 83 million phones, compared to Apple's 61 million iPhones sold for the quarter.

Overall, the quarterly revenue for the company fell 12 percent YoY to 47.12 trillion won ($43.7 billion).

Despite the large drop, Samsung says it expects to rebound in the following quarters as the Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, which feature high-end premium metal designs and the latest spec sheets.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Microsoft to allow Android apps to run on Windows 10 tablets, phones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Apr 2015 0:30

Report: Microsoft to allow Android apps to run on Windows 10 tablets, phones According to the well-connected Paul Thurrott, Microsoft will announce this week that Windows 10 phone and tablet users will be able to run Android apps on their devices.

The announcement comes on the heels of the company's BUILD conference aimed at developers.

While the move is a huge win for consumers who would like to have access to great native apps, Microsoft appears to be quitting on Windows Phone if the report is accurate.

Thurrott says: "When it comes time to upgrade, why would anyone choose a Windows Phone at that point? (A problem exacerbated by Microsoft's focus on low-end Windows Phone handsets.) Instead, most will simply choose Android, since they are now comfortable with those apps, and for the many advantages that Android has over Windows Phone generally." I agree.

In addition, "For developers who have invested a lifetime of learning and mastering Microsoft's platforms, Android compatibility is a slap in the face. This sends the message that they have wasted their time and that it's time to move on to a more successful platform since, after all, the apps you create for Android will now work on Android and Windows/Windows Phone."

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AfterDawn: News

Cyanogen drops OnePlus partnership, officially

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Apr 2015 23:43

Cyanogen drops OnePlus partnership, officially After months of fighting, Cyanogen has officially dropped OnePlus as one of its hardware partners.

The move was entirely expected, especially since OnePlus has already begun using their own OxygenOS operating system on their devices.

Cyanogen's Steve Kondik says the two companies had completely different visions and this caused clashes between employees and philosophies. "That's probably the last you will see from that partnership. Two new companies are trying to do crazy stuff, a lot of people collide," added Kondik.

CEO Kirt McMaster, never one to mince words, says OnePlus used Cyanogen's brand to sell hardware before moving on, essentially using the company, but he did wish OnePlus the best in the future.

So what is Cyanogen looking to do now? New partners, of course. "OnePlus shipped reasonable volume, but nothing compared to what some of these other partners can ship...we are working with partners that can scale much quicker," noted McMaster.

Source:
AndroidAuthority




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft is still losing money on every Windows Phone sold

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Apr 2015 23:21

Microsoft is still losing money on every Windows Phone sold According to a recent filing with the U.S. SEC, it appears that Microsoft continues to lose money on every Windows Phone it sells, and may have to write-off a multi-billion dollar loss thanks to its acquisition of Nokia's handset business.

In the filing, it is noted that Microsoft lost at least $4 million for the quarter ended March 31st, losing up to 12 cents per phone before including costs of marketing and R&D.

"Given its recent performance, the Phone Hardware reporting unit is at an elevated risk of impairment," warned Microsoft in the filing. "Declines in expected future cash flows, reduction in future unit volume growth rates, or an increase in the risk-adjusted discount rate used to estimate the fair value of the Phone Hardware reporting unit may result in a determination that an impairment adjustment is required, resulting in a potentially material charge to earnings."

The last time Microsoft issued a similar warning was right before the company took a massive $6.2 billion write-off for its failed acquisition of the Quantive marketing company. Some expect Microsoft to take a $5.6 billion loss on the $7 billion acquisition of Nokia that former CEO Steve Ballmer pushed for before leaving the company.

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