AfterDawn: Tech news

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AfterDawn: News

Nokia to debut a VR device next week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jul 2015 10:40

Nokia to debut a VR device next week According to a new report, Nokia is expected to unveil their first virtual reality (VR) project at an event next week in LA.

So far there is very little known about the device although we know it is coming from Nokia Technologies, the advanced product division left behind after Nokia sold its consumer handset division to Microsoft.

Nokia Technologies has been behind the Nokia N1 tablet and the Z Launcher software but otherwise has been quiet since 2013. The division did also confirm earlier this year that they will be getting back into the handset business, sort of, via licensing agreements with OEMs.

Nokia's decision to try VR follows decisions from HTC, Sony and of course, Facebook to try the new frontier of gaming and immersive experiences.

We will know more next week.

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AfterDawn: News

German car makers to buy Nokia HERE mapping service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jul 2015 10:27

German car makers to buy Nokia HERE mapping service Major German automakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen have all agreed in principle to purchase Nokia's HERE digital mapping service, beating out a handful of bidders that included Uber.

The car makers will pay $2.7 billion for the service and sources say the companies will invite other car makers like GM, Toyota, Ford and others to invest in HERE.

Despite the nice buyout on paper for HERE, the price is a far cry from the $8.1 billion Nokia bought mapping service Navteq for in 2008. Navteq served as the foundation for HERE maps.

For the auto industry, purchasing HERE was a make or break proposition. All the other bidders were from the tech world and the automakers feared that a company like Google or Apple could then own all the information systems inside their cars as well as the future of cars: self-driving autos.

Self-driving cars will need the most accurate maps possible to avoid potential mishaps, and we are still in the early innings of mapping software and self-driving tech.

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AfterDawn: News

Toshiba president steps down amid billion dollar accounting scandal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jul 2015 10:05

Toshiba president steps down amid billion dollar accounting scandal Toshiba president Hisao Tanaka, Vice Chairman Norio Sasaki and adviser Atsutoshi Nishida have all resigned this week after it was discovered that Toshiba fraudulently inflated their earnings by $1.2 billion over the last 6 years.

An independent investigation found that the Toshiba executives set profit targets that were impossible to reach, which led to the inflated accounting. The investigators say the accounting scam was "skillfully hidden" from investors and others.

"I was shocked by the fact that one of the leading companies organizationally conducted such a thing," said Koichi Ueda, who led the investigating committee. Ueda was a former investigator with the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor's Office.

Since Toshiba announced the investigation in May, shares have fallen 18 percent and the company suspended its dividend and all quarterly forecasts.

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AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm will layoff thousands as the chipmaker struggles

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jul 2015 9:53

Qualcomm will layoff thousands as the chipmaker struggles According to a new report, Qualcomm is expected to layoff a tenth of their workforce as the chipmaker continues to struggle.

The report states that Qualcomm could layoff around 3000 of its existing 30,000-strong workforce.

Over the past year, Qualcomm's profits and growth have stagnated, thanks mainly to the botched Snapdragon 810 processor launch. The processor, which was slated to be a flagship, had overheating issues and was dropped from "one major customer" (Samsung), causing a huge drop in sales for Qualcomm. Perhaps more importantly, the follow up Snapdragon 820 is rumored to have some overheating issues, as well.

Besides their own internal struggles, rival chipmakers are beginning to bridge the gap and some like Chinese OEM MediaTek have just completely priced out Qualcomm in places like India and China.

Qualcomm recently stated that it expects its revenue to fall sequentially in the Q2 and Q3.

Source:
Reuters




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft has largest quarterly loss ever thanks to disastrous Nokia acquisition

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jul 2015 9:44

Microsoft has largest quarterly loss ever thanks to disastrous Nokia acquisition Microsoft struggled this quarter following a massive write-off of its Nokia acquisition and the corresponding layoffs.

The company reported revenue of $22.2 billion, better than expected, but overall the company had a net loss of $2.1 billion, by far its largest ever. Writing down Nokia cost the company $7.6 billion and the restructuring costs of laying off 7800 employees added to the loss.

Adding to the bad news was the sale of Windows PCs, which fell 13 percent year-over-year for consumers and 8 percent for business customers. Microsoft Office revenue was also down 4 percent year-over-year. These figures were not unexpected as Windows 10 is on its way, and consumers always like waiting for deals that come with new operating systems.

Outside of the aforementioned, Microsoft's other reported numbers were rather good:

-Surface revenue grew 117% to $888 million, driven by Surface Pro 3 and launch of the Surface 3

-Total Xbox revenue grew 27% based on strong growth in consoles, Xbox Live transactions and first party games

-Search advertising revenue grew 21% with Bing U.S. market share at 20.3%, up 110 basis points over the prior year

-Office 365 Consumer subscribers increased to 15.2 million, with nearly 3 million subscribers added in the quarter
Commercial revenue increased slightly (up 4% in constant currency) to $13.5 billion

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AfterDawn: News

Apple Watch sales are promising, but company does not reveal exact figures

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jul 2015 9:33

Apple Watch sales are promising, but company does not reveal exact figures Although the company had already confirmed it would not be releasing exact sales figures for the Apple Watch, the company did leave industry watchers some tidbits during their quarterly earnings.

The company says that "sales in its first nine weeks exceeded those of the iPhone and iPad in their first nine weeks of availability." When the iPad launched, it sold 3 million units in its first 11 weeks, so we can assume that Apple Watch sold at least 2 million units for the quarter.

Additionally, we know that Apple added the Watch to its "Other" sales category, which houses the iPod and also includes accessories like the Apple TV and Beats headphones. That category totaled $1.7 billion in revenue for the Q1 and jumped to $2.64 billion this quarter. Apple was nice enough to confirm that the Watch made up the difference in revenue and then some as iPod sales fell again.

Tim Cook, during the earnings call, had a few things to add:

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AfterDawn: News

Apple reports quarterly earnings and shockingly guides down

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jul 2015 21:31

Apple reports quarterly earnings and shockingly guides down Apple shares are down a whopping 7 percent today following an earnings report that disappointed investors.

Overall revenue was up 33 percent year-over-year to $49.6 billion and profits increased 45 percent year-over-year to $10.7 billion.

Surprisingly, iPhone sales were a bit soft, at 47.5 million compared to analyst expectations of 48.8-50 million, which is part of the reason why the stock is getting killed. iPads continued their decline, down 18 percent year-over-year to 10.9 million units sold. Macs were slightly lower than expectations, as well, at 4.8 million units sold compared to 4.9 million analyst expectations.

The big hit came when Apple had to forecast their revenue for next quarter. Analysts were expecting $51 billion or higher but Apple guided a range of $49 billion to $51 billion, a rare pessimistic forecast for the tech giant.

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AfterDawn: News

Pebble Time smartwatch now available at Best Buy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jul 2015 22:48

Pebble Time smartwatch now available at Best Buy Pebble's latest update to their Pebble smartwatch line is finally available via a major retailer.

Until today, the device was available directly only from Pebble but is now available online and in-store from Best Buy in all three colors (red, white and black). For the time being, Best Buy is shipping only to U.S. buyers.

The company also confirmed that Target will begin selling the smartwatch on August 17th.

Launched on Kickstarter earlier this year, the Pebble Time offers improved battery life (up to 7 days), a color e-paper display, a newly remade Pebble operating system and 30m water resistance.




AfterDawn: News

Grooveshark founder dies at 28

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jul 2015 22:27

Grooveshark founder dies at 28 Just a few months after the streaming music site settled with the record labels and officially shut down, one of its young founders has passed away.

Josh Greenberg was 28 and was found dead in his bed at home last night. The police said they found no evidence of foul play, suicide or drugs.

Greenberg and Sam Tarantino founded the service in 2006 as college freshman and at its peak the site had 40 million users. The major record labels all sued Grooveshark over copyright violations. Grooveshark allowed users to upload their own digital audio files which could then be streamed or turned into playlists. Grooveshark offered a powerful music discovery engine as well as a search engine.

On April 30th, Grooveshark and the major labels settled the long-standing lawsuit, and Grooveshark was officially shut down for good. According to Greenberg's mother, the settlement was a 'relief' more than anything and that he was excited to move forward.

Since creating Grooveshark, Greenberg became a mentor to programmers in Gainesville, Florida and also created internship programs and classes for would-be entrepreneurs and programmers.

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AfterDawn: News

Symantec says spam is now under 50 percent of all emails sent for the first time since 2003

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2015 21:03

Symantec says spam is now under 50 percent of all emails sent for the first time since 2003 It would appear that email spam is not as lucrative a business as it used to be.

According to a new Symantec report, junk mail now accounts for 49.7 percent of all emails, the first time that figure has fallen under 50 percent since September 2003.

At its peak, in June 2009, the figure was 90.4 percent, with a shocking 5.7 trillion of the 6.3 trillion emails sent being spam.

The number has been ticking down for months, and was as high as 52.1 percent in April.

Symantec attributed the decline to the increase in legal prosecution against botnets, improved spam filters and blockers and faster reaction times by network providers.

Here is the full security report:

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AfterDawn: News

HTC cancels its 'Grip' fitness band before it ships

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2015 20:15

HTC cancels its 'Grip' fitness band before it ships Back in March, HTC and Under Armour announced a fitness wearable, the Grip, which it had planned for release sometime during the spring.

Here we are well into the summer months and there is still no release of the Grip, but we finally have word from the company as to why. HTC says the company has "decided to align Grip with the entire product portfolio for health and fitness launching later this year" after "extensive wear testing and user feedback."

What that means most likely is that the original Grip that was unveiled is dead but an improved model is coming in a few months.

The original was GPS-enabled, used Under Armour's 'UA Record' interface to track workouts, runs, pace and steps and had five total sensors, excluding a heart-rate monitor.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Cortana for Android will be official later this month following leak

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2015 19:27

Microsoft Cortana for Android will be official later this month following leak Following this week's leak of Cortana for Android, Microsoft has confirmed the official version will be available later this month.

Microsoft says it has been testing the personal assistant software for a few months for Android.

"In the spirit of the Windows Insider Program, we're testing the Cortana for Android beta with a limited number of users in the U.S. and China before releasing the beta publicly in the next few weeks," added Microsoft.

Cortana competes directly with Android's own Google Now service, and later, with iOS' Siri. For Windows users, Cortana has been very popular, but the Android user base is significantly larger.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Android users download more apps, but Apple dominates revenue

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2015 18:48

Report: Android users download more apps, but Apple dominates revenue According to market data and analytics firm App Annie, Android users downloaded 85 percent more apps from the Google Play Store than Apple users did from the Apple App Store, but Apple continues to dominate in revenue.

For the Q2 2015, the App Store saw 70 percent higher revenue than the Google Play Store, as Apple continues to attract premium apps from developers.

Seeing the huge difference in downloads was unsurprising given the healthy lead Android has in the smartphone market. By most accounts, Android is on over 80 percent of all shipped smartphones, and sometimes higher in emerging markets where iPhones are not affordable.

Also unsurprisingly, China and U.S. were the top countries for App Store downloads, followed by Japan, Russia and the UK. Google Play was most popular in the U.S., Brazil, India, Russia and Mexico.

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AfterDawn: News

Xbox One gamers will be able to stream their games via Windows 10 PCs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jul 2015 18:19

Xbox One gamers will be able to stream their games via Windows 10 PCs Microsoft has confirmed that an upcoming update for the Xbox One will allow gamers to stream the games via their Windows 10 PCs and tablets.

Reads the post: "This means you can play the great library of games you've built for Xbox One on your Windows 10 PCs when you're not in front of your console. To get started, on your Xbox One console, go to Settings > Preferences > Allow game streaming to other devices and then install the latest version of the Xbox app on your Windows 10 PC or tablet.

In the Xbox app on Windows 10, select Connect > + Add a device from the menu on the left side of the app, then select your Xbox One console. Attach a wired Xbox 360 or Xbox One controller to your Windows 10 PC or tablet. Then, go to Home > Recently Played to select an Xbox One game and then select Play from Console to start your streaming session. Another way to do this is to simply select your Xbox One console under Home > Game Streaming in the Xbox app to take full control of your Xbox One console from your Windows 10 PC. A notification will appear on your Xbox One that a game streaming session was started by a specific user. During game streaming, the Xbox One console will appear "in use" as though the person streaming was in the room."

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AfterDawn: News

UK High Court rules CD ripping illegal, again

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Jul 2015 15:20

UK High Court rules CD ripping illegal, again The British government decided last year that CD and DVD ripping, amongst other format changes, are allowed as long as the copy is not redistributed and the original piece has been acquired legally. This isn't the case anymore as High Court reverts the decision.

The High Court took the case after music industry claimed it was illegal to copy material without a fair compensation. And indeed the court ruled that copies without proper payment to the right holders is illegal.

The music and movie industry rejoice but the result might hinder the job of some teachers and researchers. It is however highly unlikely that the ruling will be enforced upon the masses.

The government's view on the subject was that the backups of individuals do not create a significant financial deficit to the creators and therefore didn't need to be funded.





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