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AfterDawn: News

Apple, Amazon others form coalition to fight EU's "Cookie Law"

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jul 2016 21:41

Apple, Amazon others form coalition to fight EU's "Cookie Law" Apple, Amazon, Facebook and other tech companies have formed a coalition to fight the EU's "Cookie Law," asking for more refined laws and a better balance between data collection and privacy.

"We believe that simplifying and streamlining regulation will benefit consumers by ensuring they are provided with a simple, consistent, and meaningful set of rules designed to protect their personal data,"
said the group. "At the same time, it will encourage innovation across the digital value chain and drive new growth and social opportunities. This is critical at a time when digital companies are striving to launch new innovative services and working to build a 5G Europe."

The group includes some heavy hitters including Apple, Amazon, BT, Blackberry, Dropbox, eBay, Facebook, Fastnet, Foursquare, Google, Huawei, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Netflix, Orange, Paypal, T-Mobile, TalkTalk, Telefonica, Three, and Vodafone.


AfterDawn: News

Despite being banned in country, Twitter estimates 10 million users in China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jul 2016 10:59

Despite being banned in country, Twitter estimates 10 million users in China Despite being blocked in the country since 2009, Twitter estimates that over 10 million people actively use the service in China.

The source claims that the number is what Twitter uses internally and that it is an estimate because even the company can't be entirely sure due to the Chinese user's use of a VPN that could show them as located basically anywhere.

Of course, 10 million in China is a tiny fraction of active Internet users in the nation, and a fraction of Twitter's overall users (700 million and 300 million, respectively) but it is interesting to see the lengths people will go to to be connected to world news and get around China's state-imposed censorship.


AfterDawn: News

VLC media player is now a universal Windows 10 app

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jul 2016 10:09

VLC media player is now a universal Windows 10 app VideoLan has built a universal Window platform (UWP) app for their popular VLC media player, meaning it will eventually work across Windows 10 devices, Hololens and Xbox One.

The new app is in beta but already appears to have some cool features. As with desktop versions, the app will support nearly every type of file format, will offer a media library for managing content within the app itself, subtitle support, sync controls (for those poorly dubbed files you definitely have) and picture-in-picture mode to allow you to browse your content without closing your current video.

Over time, DVD/Blu-ray playback and TV tuning will also be made available, but VideoLan says the current UWP APIs do not allow such features as of yet.

Get the app here: Microsoft Store

AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry discontinues BB10 BlackBerry Classic

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jul 2016 9:50

BlackBerry discontinues BB10 BlackBerry Classic BlackBerry has confirmed this week that it will discontinue sales of its BB10-powered BlackBerry Classic smartphone.

The phone was first launched in 2014 and includes a built-in QWERTY keypad in addition to its standard touchscreen. The company says the Classic has "long surpassed the average lifespan for a smartphone" in today's market, hence the discontinue, but it is also easy to infer that the phone was just not selling.

Moving forward, there are reports that BlackBerry is working on new Android-based phones to compliment last year's BlackBerry Priv, although it is unclear how well that phone sold.

Publicly, the company has offered support for BlackBerry 10 and BB10-powered devices moving forward, but it is hard to imagine for how much longer.


AfterDawn: News

Report: Base model iPhone 7 will have 32GB storage

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jul 2016 9:36

Report: Base model iPhone 7 will have 32GB storage According to the WSJ, the upcoming iPhone 7 will finally up the storage for their base model, from a tiny 16GB to a more reasonable 32GB.

Apple has long offered multiple tiers, starting with 16GB and going as high as 128GB, but with the improvement of cameras over time and the size of apps growing (especially games), 16GB was just too small.

The publication also reports that Apple could offer a 256GB version although the price tag on that will likely cause you to take out a loan just to afford it.

Apple's latest is not expected to be a huge step up from last year's iPhone 6S, but this model will be thinner and more water-resistant, lose the 3.5mm headphone jack and offer twin camera lenses.

AfterDawn: News

Linksys' ever popular WRT54GL still brings in millions in revenue, 11 years after launch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jul 2016 9:22

Linksys' ever popular WRT54GL still brings in millions in revenue, 11 years after launch Arstechnica had a very interesting article today on a wireless router that should be familiar to many Afterdawn readers; the Linksys WRT54GL.

The router was released in 2005 and remains up for sale, bringing in millions in revenue for the company despite certainly having outlived its usefulness (from a tech standpoint). The router uses the 802.11g Wi-Fi standard (since elapsed by 802.11n and 802.11ac, it can only use the 2.4GHz frequency band, and it has max speeds of just 54Mbps, far lower than the new 1Gbps standard.

"To be honest, it somewhat baffles my mind," said Linksys Global Product Manager Vince La Duca. But will they stop selling it? No way. "We'll keep building it because people keep buying it," La Duca added.

Having sold over 30 million units since launch, why does the WRT54GL remain so popular? The answer may lie in its support for popular open source firmware like DD-WRT. Linksys has always allowed users to quickly and easily unlock their devices to run Linux-based open-source software that offers more advanced capabilities that some more locked-down routers nowadays don't even offer. Of course, the router does have great name recognition (nearly 4000 positive reviews on Amazon) and a cheap price tag ($43 on Amazon), which certainly helps with the popularity. The report also says small businesses use the routers as a cheap way to offer public Wi-Fi hotspots.


AfterDawn: News

OnePlus delays rollout of new OxygenOS 3.2 software

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jul 2016 9:06

OnePlus delays rollout of new OxygenOS 3.2 software On Monday, OnePlus began rolling out their OxygenOS 3.2 operating system update for the OnePlus 3 but issues have forced the company to stop the rollout.

Here was the company's post on Monday before the rollout began:

I want to thank all of you who have provided feedback. Your input has been absolutely valuable in ensuring that we produce a high-quality update. Thank you for your patience and as always, we look forward to hearing your feedback on this one.

This will be an incremental rollout. We should reach 100% coverage in the next 48 hours or so.

Here are some of the highlights of this update:
Enabled sRGB mode in developer options.
Improved RAM management.
Improved GPS performance.
Enhanced audio playback quality.
Updated custom icon packs.
Fixed some issues with notifications.
Improved camera quality/functionality.
Fixed some issues in Gallery.
Implemented latest Google security patches.
Fixed bugs in Clock/Music apps.
So let us know what you think. Enjoy!

Since then, staff member "Sam L" has said the following: "Due to some reports of issues while upgrading, we are temporarily stopping the rollout to investigate. We will start back up as soon as possible."

AfterDawn: News

Report: LG G5 is not selling

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jul 2016 22:51

Report: LG G5 is not selling In April LG released their latest flagship smartphone, the G5, to big hype and a large marketing campaign. According to one report, however, the phone is a flop.

The Korea Times says LG has made some serious changes to the executives in its mobile division, in part admitting that the latest flagship did not meet internal company projections nor expectations. Reportedly, the company even said that its "latest flagship G5 smartphone failed to generate sales," leading to the turnover.

Many believe the G5, despite its nice specs, was just downright confusing given its modular design, but the biggest problem is probably the fact that many have now invested years in the Apple, Nexus or Samsung ecosystems, with little reason to change.

The report concluded that LG will likely ship around 2.2 million G5 phones this quarter, well below their expectations for three million.


AfterDawn: News

Second 'Fappening' hacker pleads guilty

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jul 2016 22:04

Second 'Fappening' hacker pleads guilty A second hacker has pled guilty to violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for his role in the "Fappening" celebrity nude picture leaks.

Edward Majerczyk will face up to five years in jail for using phishing schemes to trick celebrities into giving up their email and iCloud credentials. From there, the man would search for any photos or videos, which included nude photographs of over 100 celebrities.

"This defendant not only hacked into e-mail accounts -- he hacked into his victims' private lives, causing embarrassment and lasting harm," said FBI assistant director Deirdre Fike in a press statement. "As most of us use devices containing private information, cases like this remind us to protect our data."

Another man, Ryan Collins, pled guilty to the same crime three months ago and will likely see prison time of 18 months. Neither of the convicted has been accused of leaking the photos, and the leaker remains "at large."


AfterDawn: News

Apple close to buying streaming service Tidal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jul 2016 23:05

Apple close to buying streaming service Tidal Just 18 months after rapper Jay Z purchased the service for $56 million, it appears that tech behemoth Apple is close to acquiring Tidal.

The company, which currently has the second-most popular music streaming service on the planet, is attracted to Tidal's roster of popular artists that have stakes in the service.

A few of those artists are Kanye West, Jay Z's wife Beyonce, Madonna, Rihanna and Daft Punk, all of which contribute exclusive content. Tidal is also the only service to offer Prince's catalog of music, thanks to Prince's relationship with Jay Z before he passed earlier this year.

Tidal offers a 40 million deep HiFi catalog for $20 a month, or standard MP3 quality for $10 a month (similar to Apple Music and Spotify). Tidal says it has over 4 million paying subscribers, a huge jump from when Jay Z bought it. Apple Music has 15 million paying subs, and Spotify has 30 million.


AfterDawn: News

Specs leak for upcoming HTC-built Nexus phones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jul 2016 22:41

Specs leak for upcoming HTC-built Nexus phones Specs have leaked for Google's upcoming Nexus device, this one built by HTC.

Codenamed 'Marlin,' the flagship device will allegedly have a 5.5-inch QHD AMOLED display, be powered by an unknown quad-core Snapdragon processor and 4GB RAM and up to 128GB of internal storage. Additionally, the phone will have dual 8MP/12MP cameras, Bluetooth 4.2, a 3450mAh battery and the same rear fingerprint scanner as its predecessors.

There have also been rumors of a project codenamed 'Sailfish,' a smaller model of the next-generation Nexus, just like this generation has the 6P and the smaller 5x.

As always, expect an official announcement in the August - October timeframe for the new Nexus devices.


AfterDawn: News

Xbox Play Anywhere to launch in September

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jul 2016 22:00

Xbox Play Anywhere to launch in September Xbox Play Anywhere, the service that gives gamers access to some games on Windows 10 PCs and the Xbox One with just one purchase, will go live on September 13th.

Microsoft announced the program at E3 last month and there are already 12 games listed as "Play" supported.

When the service launches Gears of War 4, Forza Horizon 3, ReCore, Sea of Thieves, Halo Wars 2, Scalebound, Killer Instinct Season 3, State of Decay, 2Ark: Survival Evolved, Cuphead, We Happy Few, and Crackdown 3 will be available, all at their regular prices.

Microsoft says Play Anywhere saves your progress to a single file in the cloud, as well as a single set of achievements.

Requirements are minimal to use Xbox Play Anywhere but you need to have August 2nd's Windows 10 Anniversary Edition on your PC and the upcoming summer Xbox One firmware update.


AfterDawn: News

Sony PlayStation Vue TV service tops 100,000 subscribers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jul 2016 21:39

Sony PlayStation Vue TV service tops 100,000 subscribers Sony's IPTV service PlayStation Vue is said to have reached 120,000 subscribers, largely making it a success among similar services.

The company launched the service in March 2015, but only went nationwide three months ago in the U.S.

Pricing for Vue ranges from $40 and higher depending on major broadcast network availability and the number of channels.

Initially, Vue was available just on select Sony devices including the PlayStation but has since expanded to iOS, Amazon Fire products and Roku players.


AfterDawn: News

RuuviTag Bluetooth beacon project meets its Kickstarter goal in just hours

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jun 2016 9:14

RuuviTag Bluetooth beacon project meets its Kickstarter goal in just hours We told you about the Finnish startup Ruuvi and its Bluetooth beacon technology that heading to Kickstarter couple months ago. Now the RuuviTag is finally on Kickstarter and before the first five hours passed it was already fully funded.

Now after three days it has been funded over five times the original goal of ten thousands dollars and unlocked the first stretch goal.

RuuviTag is a Bluetooth enabled Internet of Things beacon that provides environmental information with multiple sensors and transmits its data to smartphones via low-power Bluetooth 4.2. Its key selling points are the open source community that builds and enhances the device and a battery life of up to 10 years with just one coin battery.

The variety of sensors give readings about the ambient temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, altitude, and acceleration. Ruuvi says that the beacon works for example as weather station or a physical web address but the possibilities are endless with community support and good ideas.

RuuviTag costs $25 with all sensors and $20 with just the thermometer. Check the video below to get some inspiration for your own beacons.


AfterDawn: News

Nexus devices not enough, Google developing an in-house smartphone

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jun 2016 8:22

Nexus devices not enough, Google developing an in-house smartphone Google's Nexus devices have served for years as a reference device on Android. Developed by most of the largest smartphone manufacturers in the world they have provided different takes on what is a Google phone.

For a long time it has been suggested that Google wants to some day do it all by themselves but so far there hasn't been an official Google phone. According to The Telegraph this is going to change later this year.

Even though Google has always participated in the development of Nexus devices it has never made one from the ground up. The products always reflect the manufacturer and this time around Google wants to make it special.

The rumors have it that the device will be released this year but it won't replace Nexus devices, which are as well still arriving from HTC and possibly other manufacturers this fall.

Like Microsoft after the acquisition of Nokia, Google needs to be careful not to step on its partners' toes. Giving special attention to your own baby might discourage other manufacturers. Those questions were certainly in the air when the search giant bought Motorola.


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