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AfterDawn: News

Uber rival Didi denies U.S. IPO

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 May 2016 23:08

Uber rival Didi denies U.S. IPO Didi Chuxing, China's leading ride-hailing app company, has denied it plans to go public in the U.S. next year.

Multiple sources reported yesterday that the Uber rival was preparing to IPO in the U.S. in the next 18 months following a large fundraising campaign that included Apple's recent $1 billion investment.

"We currently have no IPO plan, so there's no point of talking about location or schedule,"
a spokesperson for Didi said in an announcement today, shutting down any talks of an IPO (for now).

Didi currently leads Uber in China, and the company claims 14 million drivers and 300 million active users. Didi offers taxi service, private cars, bus services and more.

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AfterDawn: News

Twitter will no longer count photos or links in 140-character limit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 May 2016 22:53

Twitter will no longer count photos or links in 140-character limit Twitter has finally addressed a long-standing user complaint and will no longer count photos or links as characters against your 140-character limit.

Previously, even shortened links took up as much as 23 characters, leaving even less space for your messages and text.

According to the sources, the change could take place by the end of the month although Twitter has not officially announced it.

The underlying goal appears to be to encourage users to add more media to their posts, especially during live events. Twitter itself has also been pushing for more original video content and having users reshare that content will be paramount.

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AfterDawn: News

Xbox One backwards compatibility now supports multi-disc games

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 May 2016 17:53

Xbox One backwards compatibility now supports multi-disc games Microsoft has confirmed this weekend that the Xbox One's backwards compatibility has now added support for multi-disc games starting with "Deus Ex: Human Revolution Director's Cut."

"We know fans were asking for this feature and our engineers worked hard developing a solution to enable it so we could further expand the titles included in Xbox One Backward Compatibility," an Xbox spokesperson said. "We're continuing to listen to our fans on Xbox Feedback and work with our publishing partners to grow out library of Xbox One Backward Compatibility titles and will work to include more multi-disc games."

Earlier in the day, Xbox spokesperson Major Nelson confirmed the news, as well. "I can confirm that the BC team has done work to support multi-disc scenarios," he wrote. "Be sure to thank the BC engineers."

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AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp testing video calling

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 May 2016 17:37

WhatsApp testing video calling Just two months after launching voice call functionality to the app, WhatsApp now appears to be testing video calling.

The latest beta for Android (v2.16.80) now shows the option for video calls, although the functionality is still not active.

Most likely, the feature will be activated server-side in the next update, or the feature can be rolled out in waves like past features have been including voice calling.

Some lucky users were actually able to complete a call, although it is unclear how. Here is one example:

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AfterDawn: News

Apple iPhone users are increasingly moving towards using Chrome over Safari

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 May 2016 17:22

Apple iPhone users are increasingly moving towards using Chrome over Safari According to Adobe's Google I/O Digital Index Report, iOS users are increasingly moving from Safari to Chrome for their browsing needs.

"iPhone users have to go out of their way to download the Chrome browser," said Adam Lloyd, an Adobe Digital Index (ADI) analyst. "The fact that people are actually doing so is a sign that Chrome offers an experience consumers are interested in."

After review of 600 billion site visits from mobile devices between January 2015 and March 2016, Chrome usage grew 77 percent year-over-year on Android smartphones and by 20 percent on iPhones.

ADI says users found Chrome but easier to use, and faster, than alternatives.

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AfterDawn: News

Evleaks says there are two models of the Moto G coming this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 May 2016 17:09

Evleaks says there are two models of the Moto G coming this year According to prominent smartphone industry leaker Evan Blass aka @evleaks, Lenovo will release two models of the next Moto G phone.

We recently saw some FCC filings that alluded to two sizes for the Moto G, and Blass' recent leak seems to confirm it.

There will be a "regular" sized phone in addition to a "Plus" sized model, with the larger phone having a physical home button. There is little else confirmed for now, but expect Lenovo to release the devices by the end of the summer.

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AfterDawn: News

Nokia reports huge loss for the quarter

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 May 2016 16:57

Nokia reports huge loss for the quarter Nokia has released their financial earnings report for the first quarter, posting a huge €613 million net loss.

During the quarter, the company completed its €15.6 billion acquisition of Alcatel-Lucent and also had significant goodwill impairment charges and restructuring costs.

"I am pleased that we were able to deliver solid profitability in what is typically a seasonally weak quarter, and at a time when the risk of integration-related disruption was high,"
said Nokia CEO Rajeev Suri. "While our revenue decline was disappointing, the shortfall was largely driven by Mobile Networks, where the challenging environment is not a surprise."

In the coming years, Nokia will reduce costs with some layoffs and more cost-cutting measures expected to save the company €900 million moving forward. "The headcount reductions are expected to take place between now and the end of 2018, consistent with Nokia's synergy target timeline," said Nokia. "Reductions will come largely in areas where there are overlaps ... As part of the program, Nokia also continues to target savings in real estate, services, procurement, supply chain, and manufacturing."

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AfterDawn: News

SoftBank considering selling their stake in gaming giant Supercell

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 May 2016 16:46

SoftBank considering selling their stake in gaming giant Supercell According to sources, Japanese carrier SoftBank is looking to sell their stake in Finnish gaming giant Supercell after seeing significant interest in the company.

It appears the potential buyers are based in China, but it is unknown who may be interested.

Supercell, known for massive hits like Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Clash Royale, is 73 percent owned by SoftBank. SoftBank is alleged to have paid near $3 billion for the stake, and the full company is expected to net a $5 billion valuation in an outright sale. The other 27 percent of the company is still owned by management and employees.

SoftBank has struggled to use Supercell's popularity to break into the notoriously hard Japanese market and Supercell has even called the country "the toughest market in the world."

For the time being, any discussions are preliminary and the sources say SoftBank may choose to not move the company.

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AfterDawn: News

ShowMax continues to expand in challenge to Netflix in Africa

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 May 2016 16:33

ShowMax continues to expand in challenge to Netflix in Africa Africa's largest company, Naspers, has expanded its streaming service ShowMax to 36 new sub-Saharan African countries in an effort to challenge the global leader Netflix.

The service began last August and has since expanded to 65 countries. Netflix is in 130 countries, including African nations, and has over 70 million subscribers. Naspers is Africa's largest pay-TV provider and the company has been actively looking to take customers in Africa before Netflix does.

"We've adapted our apps to address the needs of consumers in Africa, introducing features like downloads for viewing TV shows and movies when not connected," Barron Ernst, ShowMax chief product officer, added. "In the first four months of 2016 we pretty much doubled the number of active subscribers, and that's despite the entrance of Netflix into Africa."

Despite their foothold in the continent, Naspers has the same issue as all other streaming providers; limited Internet coverage, speeds, and bandwidth for the majority of the population.

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AfterDawn: News

Google facing multi-billion dollar fine in EU over search monopoly

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 May 2016 16:23

Google facing multi-billion dollar fine in EU over search monopoly According to sources, Google could be a facing a massive multi-billion fine in the EU in the coming weeks over their alleged abusive search monopoly in Europe.

The fine would be the conclusion of a seven-year investigation and could be as high as $3.4 billion USD (€3 billion). If true, the fine would be almost triple the largest the European Commission has levied to date, 2014's €1.1 billion fine against Intel.

Google had been accused of promoting its own price comparison service in general search results while pushing down the visibility of rivals. The EC has also been investigating alleged search abuses within Android, and the potential for monopoly abuses in search markets like travel.

It also appears that the EC feels Google used stalling tactics during the investigation and also made changes to algorithms during the investigation that made it harder for rivals to compete.

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AfterDawn: News

Google readying the release of a standalone VR device

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 May 2016 16:08

Google readying the release of a standalone VR device Google entered the VR market two years ago with Google Cardboard (pictured). At the time it was a low risk investment into virtual reality, one that it expressed the interest towards a possibly a tremendous opportunity in the future. Now it seems that Google is ready to gear up for a proper go at VR.

According to information Android Police managed to find from Google Play Developer Console, Google is indeed going to release an actual virtual reality device. Google Cardboard is, after all, just a box that fits a smartphone. It is a simplistic version of what Samsung is promoting with its newest flagship, Galaxy S7.

There's really three types of VR devices at the moment: the Gear VR type that require a phone or a tablet, the ones that have displays but require a PC for processing such as Oculus Rift, and the entirely standalone devices that run the software and have displays to display it.

Some rumors have it that Google is going to release VR goggles that are in the latter category. This would also mean that it would not rival Oculus or HTC Vive in terms of pure processing power but would be more portable.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple invests a billion dollars on Uber competitor

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 May 2016 8:18

Apple invests a billion dollars on Uber competitor Apple has been revealed to have invested a small chunk of its $130 billion bankroll on a transportation company that is one of the main rivals of Uber. Didi Chuxing is essentially the Chinese version of Uber, and it provides transportation to 11 million people daily.

Didi Chuxing (formerly Didi Kuaidi) was looking for a billion dollars worth of investment and had to look no further than Apple. The smartphone based transportation service offers cab rides, personal drivers, and premium cars in what is one of the fastest growing market for apps and technology.

Founded in 2012, the company has already gathered a few billions of investments but Apple's latest addition is the largest single investment. Apple CEO Tim Cook said that the investment is strategic and helps them understand "the critical Chinese market."

Apple is said to be developing an electric car, which seems to be the obvious reason for a such a huge investment. Also the pressure from Chinese regulators has increased on Apple, says Reuters. The investment will possibly aid both situations.




AfterDawn: News

Instagram gets a complete overhaul, renewed logo

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 May 2016 8:01

Instagram gets a complete overhaul, renewed logo The app that stroke gold with vintage camera filters years ago has decided to renew its look and feel both in and outside the app. Outside it means replacing the logo with a flatter one, inside the changes update the UI.

The logo has abandoned the skeuomorphic design and adopted the colorful and flat-faced look known from iOS. The change seems to be more or less the same what Apple did in iOS 7 back in 2013.

Even though the logo is a breath of fresh air with bright colors, that does not carry out to the new UI. User interface consists only of shades of grey, black and white. According to the company this is to draw attention to the user generated content, which is, after all, the point of the service.

The Instagram related apps, namely Boomerang, Hyperlapse, and Layout, got the same logo update.

As you can imagine, the web went insane over the changes. Especially the change in logo seems to have baffled a lot of people. The narrative is that a recognizable logo has been switched for one that iPhone has 13 in a dozen.

In the end, however, all Instagram wants is for people to use the app more.




AfterDawn: News

Official WhatsApp client released for Windows and Mac OS X

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 11 May 2016 4:03

Official WhatsApp client released for Windows and Mac OS X One of the most frequently requested "features" among WhatsApp users has been an official Windows desktop client. Now, the messaging app reaching almost billion users each month, has finally released official Windows and Mac OS X desktop clients.

Until now, desktop users have had to cope with WhatsApp's web client in order to use the app through their computers, but after the official desktop client, web app is no longer needed. Desktop client, like the web service, requires the app to be installed on user's phone and to be synchronized with the phone, as the encryption authentication is tightly linked to the user's phone and phone number.

So far, the desktop client doesn't support VoIP calls and provides just the same feature set as the web client does.

You can download the Windows version from our download section:

Download WhatsApp for Windows


...and you can download the OS X version (as well as other editions, including the Windows desktop client) from developer's webpage. Windows version requires Windows 8 or newer, while Mac OS X version requires OS X 10.9 or newer.




AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi shows off giant MiMax smartphone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 May 2016 0:44

Xiaomi shows off giant MiMax smartphone Chinese smartphone giant Xiaomi has unveiled the MiMax, a 6.44-inch behemoth that is only 7.5mm thick.

The MiMax has a Snapdragon 650 processor, 4GB RAM and a massive 4850mAh battery. Additionally, the phone has dual 16MP/5MP cameras and a fingerprint sensor, while running on the company's own MIUI8 Android variant.

Xiaomi has priced the phone at 1499 to 1999 yuan ($229 to $306) based on internal storage.

The phone will be available on May 17th in China.

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