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AfterDawn: News

Zagg to buy smartphone battery pack and case maker Mophie for $100 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Feb 2016 22:02

Zagg to buy smartphone battery pack and case maker Mophie for $100 million Zagg has announced it will be acquiring smartphone battery pack and case maker Mophie for $100 million.

Besides the $100 million, Mophie can actually earn more money depending on how well the company performs from April 2016 until March 31, 2017.

Zagg believes the synergies of both companies will lead to "numerous opportunities" for boosting revenue due to the company's respective strengths and distribution networks.

Mophie is best known or their JuicePack battery cases but the company also has 140 global patents and a plethora of retial relationships in the U.S.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to reportedly buy SwiftKey for $250 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Feb 2016 21:50

Microsoft to reportedly buy SwiftKey for $250 million Despite the fact that Microsoft has arguably the best mobile keyboard of the major operating systems, multiple reports claim that the software giant is preparing to buy SwiftKey for $250 million.

SwiftKey has long been a popular keyboard for Android and more recently for iOS, but the alleged selling price still seems high given that the company's main source of revenue is from in-app payments for different themes and emojis.

FT speculates that the deal and the high price has nothing to do with the keyboard but more to do with SwiftKey's current research in artificial intelligence and their new keyboard that uses a neural network rather than algorithms for predicting what you are typing.

Regardless of how they use the IP, Microsoft continues to make smart investments in smart teams as the company expands its cross-platform services.




AfterDawn: News

Yahoo to lay off 15 percent of employees

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Feb 2016 21:24

Yahoo to lay off 15 percent of employees Marissa Mayer's company is in deep trouble.

Yahoo reported their quarterly earnings this week, making $63 million in net profit on $1.27 billion in revenue. Four years ago, when Mayer was hired to turn around the company, the company had higher revenue showing that despite all of her efforts to make Yahoo 'cool' again, there has been very little to show for it.

After the report, the company announced it will be laying off 15 percent of its employees in a cost-cutting measure that will save it $400 million over time, likely a move to help the company be sold. At the same time, Yahoo is reportedly having issues selling their core assets, since investors value the company at little to nothing outside of the company's Alibaba stake and the cash it has on-hand.

Furthermore, Mayer killed off Yahoo Smart TV and Yahoo Games, with the company focusing now on Search, Mail and Tumblr, and four verticals - News, Sports, Finance, and Lifestyle.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube 'not liable' for copyright infringement

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Feb 2016 8:09

YouTube 'not liable' for copyright infringement A German court has found that YouTube is not liable for copyright infringement when a user uploads a video to the service illegally.

The sole responsibility for such infringement lies with the uploader and not YouTube, according to the Higher Regional Court Munich (OLG). GEMA, an organization representing songwriters and publishers, was disappointed with the decision of the court.

"Today's decision is most regrettable. The court has obviously followed YouTube's argument that it is only the uploaders who are responsible for the contents that are retrievable via the service", said GEMA General Counsel, Dr Tobias Holzmuller, reports Music Business Worldwide.

"We consider this to be wrong. Furthermore, the decision is not justified from an economic perspective, as it continues to enable YouTube to generate high advertising revenues without passing them on to musical authors."

GEMA - which represents more than 70,000 members - maintains that YouTube should obtain licences for the use of content just like any other music service online. To date, YouTube has never paid any licence fee to the group.


Source: www.musicbusinessworldwide.com




AfterDawn: News

Illegal football sites are 'dangerous', study suggests

Written by James Delahunty @ 01 Feb 2016 8:00

Illegal football sites are 'dangerous', study suggests Malware and malicious adverts are common on unauthorized football streaming sites, it has been warned.

Illegal sports streaming has become increasingly popular in recent years with hundreds of streaming portals offering live feeds of sports in varying quality for free. Some sites pull more than eight million visits per month from users seeking access to feeds.

However, a study from Stony Brook University that thoroughly detailed how such streaming services work found that around half of the sites fed malicious software to users' devices either through malvertising or other deceptive measures, such as directing a user to a "plug-in" download.

"[To watch the stream] you have to install the extension, and once the user installs the extensions, it can infect any website the user is visiting," lead researcher Zubair Rafique told the BBC News website.

"So, if a person installs an extension to watch a stream, and then visits a site like BBC.com, this extension can actually change the contents of BBC.com and include malicious links. This is extremely dangerous."

Some countries already have forced ISPs to block sites offering unauthorized streaming of sports events, but with so many portals popping up it is impossible to block everything.

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AfterDawn: News

'House of Cards' will return for fifth season on Netflix

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 11:58

'House of Cards' will return for fifth season on Netflix Despite the departure of series creator Beau Willimon, Netflix has confirmed that 'House of Cards' will return for a fifth season via the streaming service.

The renewal comes just ahead of the launch of the show's fourth season, which begins in early March. The next season will begin filming in 2017, without Willimon, who left to try his hand at other projects.

"I'm grateful to Netflix and MRC, my fellow executive producers, our two incandescent stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, our talented writers, as well as the incredible cast and crew with whom I've had the privilege to work,"
Willimon said last week. "After five years and four seasons, it's time for me to move on to new endeavors, but I'm supremely proud of what we've built together, wish the show much continued success, and leave it in the hands of a very capable team."

If you are already excited for season 5, don't miss the trailer for season 4, here:

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AfterDawn: News

OnePlus X now available to all, no invite necessary

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 11:49

OnePlus X now available to all, no invite necessary OnePlus has begun selling its OnePlus X smartphone to all, without the need for an invite.

The X sells for just $249 and comes with high mid-range specs. The X has a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED screen, a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, dual-SIM slots, 16GB internal storage (with microSD slot), dual 13MP/8MP cameras and a 2525 mAh battery.

OnePlus launched the device in November and says the move to general availability is its quickest ever for a phone.

The device has been generally well received, however, in the U.S. it is mainly useless as it is lacking LTE bands required by GSM providers here in the states.

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AfterDawn: News

The Jolla tablet is dead, but you may get a refund by the end of 2016

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 11:36

The Jolla tablet is dead, but you may get a refund by the end of 2016 Finnish startup Jolla has confirmed that just under 700 crowd-funded Jolla Tablets will ever reach consumers, and over 21,000 backers will eventually receive refunds.

The original Indiegogo campaign concluded in November 2014 and raised $2.5 million, hitting every stretch goal. So far, the company has only shipped 121 units running the company's own Sailfish OS 2.0, which remains in beta and will likely always remain in beta.

Says Jolla: "We have been analyzing different alternatives regarding the Jolla Tablet project situation. But no matter how you come at it, the tight financial situation remains a major constraint and, therefore, a main driver of the solution. Furthermore, due to the delays in the latest financing round it has simply become too late to produce all the tablets for the project. The supplier no longer has the needed components and many of them are no longer available. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done now to change this."

Unfortunately for backers, you will get a refund but it will likely not be until the Q4 2016. Word of advice: The next time a company claims it can 'disrupt' the Apple/Google duopoly, just close the web page and put your wallet away.

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AfterDawn: News

Free, ad-supported iTunes Radio is officially dead

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 11:18

Free, ad-supported iTunes Radio is officially dead As reported last month, Apple's free, ad-supported iTunes Radio service is now dead.

The free, streaming radio service will live on only through the DJ-hosted Beats 1 radio station that will remain active.

If you'd like to keep listening you will have to upgrade to Apple Music for $9.99 per month, giving you access to curated radio stations and on-demand access to tens of millions of tracks.

Apple Music has seen swift growth since it launched last summer, and now has over 10 million paying subscribers. Spotify is the leader in the market, with over 20 million paying subscribers, although Spotify launched nearly a decade ago.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony reports earnings: PlayStation rocks, mobile is horrible

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 10:51

Sony reports earnings: PlayStation rocks, mobile is horrible Earlier this week, Sony announced its quarterly earnings, showing small growth in revenue and a nice boost in profits thanks to strong PlayStation and Sony Pictures sales.

The company had $21.25 billion in revenue for the quarter and managed to bring in income of $1.69 billion, a huge turnaround for a company that has been losing millions (and even billions) for years.

Sony's Mobile and Devices division continues to bring the company down but Sony is trying to nullify those losses by offering less and less phones, TVs, tablets, etc with a better focus on quality. Perhaps most surprisingly, however, was the decrease in sales for the company's smartphone camera sensor business, normally a stalwart at the company. Sales fell 12.6 percent for the sensor business, leading to a $97 million loss for Sony compared to a nearly $450 million gain in the previous quarter.

On the positive side, restructuring costs dropped by 50 percent year-over-year, and cost cutting across the company's divisions appear to be paying off. PlayStation sales increased 10.5 percent, and revenue from the division increased to $4.9 billion.

Overall, Sony appears to have finally begun its long-awaited turn around although many could still argue there is more to cut at the legendary Japanese co.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple working on long-distance wireless charging tech for 2017

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 10:28

Report: Apple working on long-distance wireless charging tech for 2017 According to sources, Apple is working on wireless charging technology that can be used for its iPhones and iPads starting next year.

While wireless charging technology is certainly not new, Apple's will be different in that it will not require the phone or tablet to sit on the charging mat, suggesting the phone could be charged from feet away rather than inches.

The tech is not available today because Apple is still working on overcoming "loss of power over distance," say the sources. Efficiency is drastically reduced as the distance between the device and the charger increases, meaning it takes longer to charge the battery.

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AfterDawn: News

Official press shots of Galaxy S7 leak

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jan 2016 14:20

Official press shots of Galaxy S7 leak The grand old man of smartphone leaks, Evan Blass of VentureBeat has leaked one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year. It is of course the flagship model of Sasmung, Galaxy S7.

There's two pictures of the two different versions shown – the regular 5.1 inch Galaxy S7 and the larger 5.6 inch Galaxy S7 Edge. Blass has added one of the pictures to an ">early January VentureBeat story (show above) and the other picture is seen in his tweet below.

By the looks of it the phone will be pretty much identical to the Galaxy S6, but obviously a lot of differences can be found under the hood. The Galaxy S6 – and especially the Edge version – and its metal and glass finish got a warm welcome after a slew of plasticky models, so not changing the exterior certainly isn't a bad choice.

According to Blass, Samsung has also added some key features to Galaxy S7 that the community has been aching for. The battery is still non-replaceable but microSD card slot will allow memory expansion and the phone is also finally water and dust resistant.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft reveals Q4 results, another nail in the Windows Phone coffin

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jan 2016 14:01

Microsoft reveals Q4 results, another nail in the Windows Phone coffin Microsoft has revealed quarterly results and disclosed details on smartphone sales. It might not come as a surprise but the figures do not paint a pretty picture, and some have deemed the platform dead.

During the fourth quarter of 2015, Microsoft sold only 4.5 million Lumia smartphones, dropping over 50% from just couple years back. Other phones, so called dumb phones without Windows, Microsoft sold 22.3 million units. The figures are dreadful for the Redmont giant.

Windows Phone has never quite found its place in the smartphone platform wars and the acquisition of Nokia didn't seem to help Microsoft. After the acquisition Microsoft has seemed to scale the smartphone business down rather than give it a strong, maybe its last, push. Now it looks like the swan song was a rather weak one, if we indeed have witnessed it.

Since 2010 only 110 million Windows Phones have been sold, which is minuscule compared to more than 4.5 billion Android phones or iPhones. It's hard to see a way up for Microsoft. Everything could change with one magical product, but it's really hard to see that happening.




AfterDawn: News

Is Microsoft's Edge browser storing your private browsing data?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2016 18:16

Is Microsoft's Edge browser storing your private browsing data? Microsoft Edge, the company's evolution for Internet Explorer, may be storing data it should not be.

The browser, which launched last year with Windows 10, has an 'incognito' browsing mode called InPrivate which is supposed to ensure that your browsing history and habits are not tracked nor stored. According to researcher Ashish Singh, InPrivate is not protecting you as it should.

Singh says that any site visited while InPrivate can be recovered by examining the app's WebCache file. The sites are stored in a "Container_m" table just like your regular browsing history is.

"The not-so-private browsing featured by Edge makes its very purpose seem to fail," Singh wrote.

Microsoft has confirmed it is investigating the reports: "We recently became aware of a report that claims InPrivate tabs are not working as designed," a Microsoft spokesperson added, "and we are committed to resolving this as quickly as possible."

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AfterDawn: News

The hated Java plugin has finally been given its last rites

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2016 16:47

The hated Java plugin has finally been given its last rites Oracle has announced this week that the horrible Java browser plugin will be extinct soon.

After the upcoming Java Development Kit 9 is released, the plugin will be removed from future releases. Oracle says the move is necessary as browser makers are moving away from plugins.

"With modern browser vendors working to restrict and reduce plugin support in their products, developers of applications that rely on the Java browser plugin need to consider alternative options such as migrating from Java Applets (which rely on a browser plugin) to the plugin-free Java Web Start technology," the company said.

Throughout its life, Java has been exploited numerous times, with users being left vulnerable to malware and worse. Additionally, the plugin has harrased users to update almost daily for years, as well.

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