AfterDawn: Tech news

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AfterDawn: News

Google matches Apple's new subscription and revenue share policies

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jun 2016 10:50

Google matches Apple's new subscription and revenue share policies Earlier, we reported that Apple was making major changes to its App Store policies, and it appears that Google is matching and exceeding those changes for the Google Play Store.

Google will also move to a 85/15 split in favor of developers for subscriptions, but developers will not have to wait a year to get paid. Google's new policy has the split working immediately, unlike Apple where the customer must stay subscribed for over a year for the developer to get the better pay structure.

Another change that has been ongoing is the fact that Google lets developers handle payments themselves, while Apple still forces everyone to use the Apple iTunes billing system.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple makes a major change to the App Store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jun 2016 10:32

Apple makes a major change to the App Store According to Apple's Phil Schiller, major changes are coming to the App Store, including big changes to how subscriptions work for developers.

Schiller says app subscriptions are now open to all product categories, giving developers more options to earn revenue. For example, a productivity company could offer a bundle of their popular apps for $19.99 per year, rather than charging an upfront fee for each app. Apple is also opening up tiered pricing options for app subscriptions.

In addition, Apple is dropping the amount they take on subscription fees, from the current 30 percent to 15 percent, but only if the customer stays subscribed for longer than a year. This has been a huge point of pain for big developers like Netflix, who had to charge more for their services via Apple because Apple was taking a 30 percent cut.

Finally, Apple is adding ads to App Store search results, and Apple is opening the ad space to developers, only. "We've thought about how to carefully do it in a way that, first and foremost, customers will be happy with," Schiller says. The auction system will "fair to developers, and fair for indie developers, too," developers that may not have as much in ad budget as, say, Supercell.

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AfterDawn: News

Guillemot family sells their shares in Gameloft to Vivendi

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jun 2016 22:59

Guillemot family sells their shares in Gameloft to Vivendi Media conglomerate Vivendi SA has bought out the founding family of Gameloft, increasing their majority stake in the French mobile gaming company.

The Guillemot family owned nearly 22 percent of the company while Vivendi controlled 56 percent of Gameloft's voting rights before the acquisition. Somewhat strangely, the company says they sold their shares "with regret" and the "family maintains that Vivendi's hostile approach goes against the best interest of Gameloft, both for its activity and for its teams."

Vivendi valued the company at about $800 million USD. Gameloft, which has hit games using their own IP and IP of other companies, had sales of about $300 million last year.

The Guillemot family also controls Ubisoft, of which Vivendi now has a 17.7 percent stake, with many in the industry expecting another hostile bid for the large gaming publisher. Ubisoft, however, has a $4.5 billion value, multiple times that of Gameloft's.

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AfterDawn: News

Yahoo to auction off 3000 patents in effort to raise billions

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jun 2016 22:25

Yahoo to auction off 3000 patents in effort to raise billions Yahoo is set to begin auctioning off a portfolio of 3000 patents that are expected to bring in over a billion dollars for the struggling web pioneer.

A few of the patents date as far back as 1996 (when Yahoo IPOd) and will include original search technology.

The company has set a mid-June deadline for preliminary bids, but it is unclear which companies are interested in the catalog of patents at this time. The patents mainly cover search, e-commerce and online advertising and one patent specifically is expected to be worth a significant amount given the fact that Google licensed it in perpetuity for $300 million.

"This represents a unique opportunity for companies operating in the internet industry to acquire some of the most pioneering and foundational patents related to web search and advertising," said Yahoo.

Yahoo is currently up for sale, with Verizon the top bidder for other core assets at a price of around $3 billion.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft reneges on adding TV DVR to Xbox One

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jun 2016 21:53

Microsoft reneges on adding TV DVR to Xbox One Microsoft has announced that they will not be adding a TV DVR feature to the Xbox One, despite announcing it last August.

"After careful consideration, we've decided to put development of DVR for Over-the-Air TV on hold to focus our attention on launching new, higher fan-requested gaming experiences across Xbox One and Windows 10," said Microsoft. "We're always listening to fan feedback and we look forward to bringing more requested experiences on Xbox One, Windows 10 and Xbox Live this year."

The announcement last year had promised a launch of the feature in 2016, including the ability to DVR OTA TV using digital TV tuners that Microsoft released in NA and the EU.

For now, it will be exciting to see what gaming-related features will be announced at E3.

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AfterDawn: News

After 8 months, Android Marshmallow hits first major adoption milestone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jun 2016 23:43

After 8 months, Android Marshmallow hits first major adoption milestone It took 8 months, but Android Marshmallow has finally hit its first adoption milestone, reaching 10 percent share of the operating system.

Android 5.x Lollipop remains the most popular, with 35.4 percent share, followed by the nearly three-year-old Android 4.4 KitKat at 31.6 percent. Perhaps more shockingly is Android 4.1/4.2/4.3 Jelly Bean which still has 18.9 percent share despite originally launching in 2012.

At its current rate, it is expected that Marshmallow will at least overtake Jelly Bean by the end of the year, as more and more smartphone OEMs update their devices to the latest OS.

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AfterDawn: News

It appears CurrentC is dead

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jun 2016 23:20

It appears CurrentC is dead Less than a month after the company laid off half its staff, it appears that mobile payments company CurrentC could be DOA.

Current beta testers received an email this week titled "An Important Message from CurrentC," noting that the mobile payment system will shut down in its current form on June 28th.

"We will be concluding our beta test and postponing further releases of CurrentC on June 28, 2016," the email said. "Therefore, June 28th will be the last day that transactions will be accepted using CurrentC."

Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX), the group behind the system, added that they have "not announced future timelines or plans around the app but we're looking forward to analyzing and learning from the data we gleaned throughout the beta."

There had been high hopes for CurrentC due to its backing by MCX, which included huge retailers like 7-Eleven, Best Buy, CVS Health, Lowe's, Publix, Sears, Target and Walmart but it appears Apple Pay and Android Pay just got too far ahead.

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AfterDawn: News

HTC Vive VR headset now shipping to 24 countries

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jun 2016 22:45

HTC Vive VR headset now shipping to 24 countries HTC's Vive VR headset is now shipping to 24 countries, and demo headsets will be available in retail locations like GameStop and Microsoft Stores in the coming days.

In total, the demos will be available in 100 retail locations across North America, giving potential buyers a chance to "experience room-scale virtual reality first-hand."

Thanks to Valve's partnership with HTC, there will be a large amount of content available on Stream right from the onset.

"Since beginning preorders at the end of February and shipping in early April, we've seen incredible interest in Vive,"
said Dan O'Brien, vice president of VR at HTC, in a statement. "Working with our retail partners has only enhanced that momentum because more people are able to try the only truly immersive virtual reality offering on the market today."

The Vive is not cheap. The headset will cost you $800 and will require a higher-end PC, just like the market leading Oculus Rift.

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AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi to buy 1500 patents from Microsoft

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jun 2016 22:16

Xiaomi to buy 1500 patents from Microsoft Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi will buy 1500 patents from Microsoft in the coming months, likely a sign that the company wants to finally expand sales outside of Asia.

Xiaomi exploded onto the scene four years ago and quickly become the largest smartphone maker in China, and one of the top smartphone makers on the planet. Since 2014, however, sales have saturated and the company has seen its expenses gradually increase as they acquire patents, invest in R&D, and advertise more.

Along with the patents, Xiaomi also signed a cross-licensing agreement with Microsoft, where Xiaomi will preload Microsoft Office and Skype on a number of devices.

"Both Xiaomi and Microsoft respect intellectual-property rights,"
said Xiaomi. "We believe that with this kind of collaboration and also our commitment for the long-term investment in IP, we are going to build a very strong patent portfolio."

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AfterDawn: News

SoftBank to sell part of large stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jun 2016 21:47

SoftBank to sell part of large stake in Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Japanese carrier SoftBank has announced it will sell about $8 billion worth of its shares in the Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.

SoftBank says it will use the money to reduce its leverage and pay down debt that it took on when it acquired the failing U.S. carrier Sprint three years ago.

The company owns about 32 percent of Alibaba shares. Alibaba has a current market value of almost $200 billion. SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son invested $20 million in 2000 for the stake, making it one of the best bets in history.

SoftBank will sell $2.4 billion of its shares to Alibaba itself, $500 million to a sovereign-wealth fund and the last $5 billion to institutional buyers.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple's updated Thunderbird Display has an integrated GPU?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Jun 2016 13:02

Apple's updated Thunderbird Display has an integrated GPU? Apple's external display's are somewhat popular among certain professionals but the company hasn't released any new models in ages. Soon, however, we will likely see an upgrade.

What makes this display special, though, is not its amazingly color accurate panel or the super fast Thunderbolt connectivity. No, according to 9to5Mac the new Thunderbolt Display from Apple has an integrated GPU.

That means that the display will feature a full-fledged graphics card to run your Photoshop or Premiere on 5K resolution that your MacBook's GPU might not support.

Of course the upgrade will bring the resolution from QHD resolution in the 2011 model to a 5K resolution (5120x2880). This will bring it on par with the best current iMacs.

The sources have it that the display(s) won't be revealed at this years WWDC in June but it could be that they have been postponed to the fall iPhone event. They are reported to become available this year.




AfterDawn: News

Is Xbox One getting VR games next year?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Jun 2016 12:37

Is Xbox One getting VR games next year? Sony has a huge lead in this generation's console wars but it's far from over yet. There might be another hurdle that could change things up – virtual reality. However, looking at the current situation it seems like Microsoft is behind the curve on this too. Or is it?

Even though PlayStation intends to bring the VR experience to PlayStation as early as this year, Microsoft might not be out of the race as we've thought. According to Ars Technica's source a large European game studio is developing a VR game for both Windows and Xbox.

According to the leaked information this game will, however, not be available before 2017. This reaffirms that Microsoft is, like Sony, developing an improved console, mostly VR experience in mind.

It could be that Microsoft will rival the first official introduction of VR experience to their console at the E3 this year but would have to wait until 2017 to release it to the public. It also remains to be seen if the new Xbox is compatible with Oculus and/or Microsoft's own glasses. However, it does seem that Sony doesn't have this aspect totally in the bag yet.




AfterDawn: News

Samsung's new stamp sized SSD could be heading to next MacBook

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Jun 2016 12:23

Samsung's new stamp sized SSD could be heading to next MacBook Samsung has introduced a new super small SSD that might only cover your regular postage stamp but can fit 512 gigabytes of data. This PM971-NVMe chip is sized at one hundredth of a normal 2.5 inch SSD you usually see on laptops.

Laptops are becoming smaller by the year and storage this is one of the key things holding them back. Replacing a standard 2.5 inch drive with a miniscule chip like this not only slims the laptop down but also removes some excess weight. This first of it's kind SSD NVMe chip weighs only one gram – around 60 rice grains.

Obviously Apple is one of the key partners of Samsung – as well as a competitor – and it would be (read: have been) hugely important for Samsung's SSDs to grab a deal with the Cupertino giant for their next super slim MacBook. As Apple Insider notes the companies are closely cooperating in SSD space already.

The next question is obviously going to be if it's fast enough for laptops. And yes, in fact, it is. Read and write speeds are 500 MB/s and 900 MB/s respectively which puts it above most SSD drives that you'd find in computers. The chip is manufactured with Samsung's V-NAND technology that packs sixteen 48-layered 256-gigabit chips, an in-house controller and DRAM into one tiny drive.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft drops price of Xbox One ahead of E3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 May 2016 23:00

Microsoft drops price of Xbox One ahead of E3 Microsoft has announced a price cut on the Xbox One console ahead of next month's E3 event, suggesting the long-rumored "Xbox 1.5" could be on the way.

Every Xbox One bundle now has a $50 discount until June 13th, the start of E3, although there is speculation the price drop will be permanent.

The rumored Xbox 1.5 will be 40 percent lighter than the current model, following the previous generation's model of offering "slim" consoles halfway through the life cycle of the console.

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AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 upgrade woes sends woman to Microsoft offices for help

Written by James Delahunty @ 31 May 2016 8:25

Windows 10 upgrade woes sends woman to Microsoft offices for help A Finnish woman turned up at Microsoft offices demanding help after a Windows 10 update rendered her computer useless.

Microsoft has come under fire for how aggressively it pushes users of older versions of Windows to upgrade to its shiny new Windows 10 consumer operating system. Some even go as far as to accuse the Redmond-based giant of deception. When users do decide to give in to the constant nagging and upgrade, they would hope for a painless transition but that hasn't always been the case.

In Finland, one lady turned up at Microsoft offices demanding to be helped after a botched attempted update from Windows 7 to Windows 10. According to reports out of Finland, she even threatened to sue the company if she wasn't helped.

Leena Aro's attempted upgrade to Windows 10 resulted in nothing more than a black screen with a spinning circle that never moved on to anything else. After failing to restore her PC to Windows 7, Aro had enough and decided to confront someone at Microsoft. Aro is a photographer and had thousands of images stored on her PC that she was naturally concerned about.

"On Monday, I went to their offices. Surprisingly, they allowed me in, when I threatened to sue them," she said, according to digitoday.fi.

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