AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Andre Yoskowitz (March, 2013)

AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple to release game controller this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Mar 2013 7:42

Report: Apple to release game controller this year According to Jon Jordan, Apple made it clear during this year's GDC that they are ready to release their own dedicated game controller.

The reporter says the company used the conference to lets developers know about its plans and to ensure that their games will support the controller.

Additionally, the report says Apple booked a meeting room at the show under an assumed name, as to avoid media attention.

Apple is expected to announce the controller officially at its April event, in which they usually announce a new iPad.

Samsung recently beat Apple to the punch, introducing their own Game Pad for smartphones. (Pictured)





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Shareholder lawsuit against BlackBerry thrown out

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Mar 2013 7:21

Shareholder lawsuit against BlackBerry thrown out A shareholder lawsuit against BlackBerry has been dismissed this week, letting the smartphone maker breath a sigh of relief.

The suit, which could have become a class action, accused the company of purposely (and fraudulently) obscuring its falling market position.

U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan dismissed the case, claiming the plaintiffs "failed to adequately allege that the company or various executives had made deliberate and material misstatements."

Sullivan did say that BlackBerry clearly fell behind its rivals, and the company "has paid a price for their mistakes by way of demotions, terminations and sizable financial setbacks. Nevertheless, corporate failings alone do not give rise to a securities fraud claim."

The lawsuit had been filed in 2011 by BlackBerry stock investor Robert Shemian. The investor hoped to recover losses for shareholders of record from December 2010 through June 2011. During the time, the company's stock fell from $70 to $27 a share. It currently sits at $14 per share.





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NEC selling phone unit to Lenovo?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Mar 2013 5:04

NEC selling phone unit to Lenovo? According to sources, Japan's NEC is in talks to sell their mobile phone unit to China's Lenovo.

Additionally, the company is speaking with potential domestic buyers.

The division has been a heavy loser in the last few years, and it appears NEC is trying to slim down to remain more profitable.

"Amid the rapidly changing market we are considering a number of ways to bolster the competitiveness of our mobile phone business, but nothing has been decided," NEC said in a statement.

For the fiscal year, NEC shipped 4.3 million phones. It is unclear how much the division could fetch in a sale.





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Facebook to reveal modified version of Android next week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Mar 2013 4:47

Facebook to reveal modified version of Android next week Facebook recently sent out press invites for April 4th, saying bluntly "Come See Our New Home On Android."

Multiple sources are reporting that the event will be to showcase a modified version of Android that includes deep integration with the social network and will likely be released on an HTC hardware.

It will keep most of Android's foundations but will have "all sorts of extra Facebook functionality built in," says one source. This makes the Facebook UI similar to HTC Sense or Samsung's TouchWiz UX.

The rumored name of the UI is "Facebook Home" and the home screen would be highly dedicated to Facebook. This could include a widget reading Facebook news feed stories, and easy access to Facebook Messenger, Facebook voice calls and picture uploads.

Read more...




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Ouya will require credit card to download any games

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Mar 2013 1:43

Ouya will require credit card to download any games As reported, the Ouya gaming console has begun shipping to Kickstarter backers this week, ahead of a retail launch on June 4th.

The console will begin with 104 published games at launch, all of which are free.

8000 developers have already created developer accounts for the system, and new games are being developed "daily."

There is one annoying caveat for getting the games, however. Users must first enter credit/debit card details before they can download anything, even the free games.

Additionally, Ouya says there will be a mandatory software update right when you boot up the console for the first time, so make sure you are Internet-ready when you get the device.





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ARM co-founder: Intel needs to take an ARM license

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Mar 2013 1:23

ARM co-founder: Intel needs to take an ARM license Robin Saxby, co-founder of ARM, has used this week's GSA Entrepreneurship Conference to try to extend an olive branch to major rival Intel.

ARM is the top designer of processor architecture used in almost all tablets and smartphones.

"As an ARM shareholder, I recommend Intel to take an ARM license and stop messing about," said Saxby.

Although Intel is the dominant force in the x86 architecture market, used in PCs, servers and workstations, it has yet to take a meaningful share of the low-power market with its Atom processors.

The main reason for this is that ARM architectures remain more power efficient, leading to better battery lives for devices.

"We had to turn our enemies into friends, the only enemy we have not turned into a friend is Intel," concluded Saxby.





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HBO: We will live stream sports events by end of year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Mar 2013 12:48

HBO: We will live stream sports events by end of year Speaking earlier this week, HBO Sports president Ken Hershman made an important announcement.

The exec says the company will begin live streaming sports events via HBO Go, allowing subscribers to watch the events in real-time via their computers, phones, tablets and set-top boxes.

This move is hugely important since HBO offers top-tier boxing events amongst other sporting events.

Usually, live streaming of major sporting events has been available through dedicated networks like NBA's League Pass, Verizon's NFL Mobile and ESPN's WatchESPN. Additionally, one-time events like the Super Bowl have recently began being streamed, giving more users a chance to watch them.





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Amazon paid $150 million for Goodreads

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Mar 2013 12:29

Amazon paid $150 million for Goodreads According to ATD, Amazon actually paid $150 million for Goodreads, one of the most popular book review/recommendation services on the Internet.

Original reports had placed the purchase at closer to $100 million. Additionally, the deal could go as high as $200 million if a few important performance metrics are hit.

Goodreads had raised $3 million from angel investors, meaning those investors have cashed out large.

"Amazon and Goodreads share a passion for reinventing reading," said Russ Grandinetti, Amazon Vice President, Kindle Content, during the announcement. "Goodreads has helped change how we discover and discuss books and, with Kindle, Amazon has helped expand reading around the world. In addition, both Amazon and Goodreads have helped thousands of authors reach a wider audience and make a better living at their craft. Together we intend to build many new ways to delight readers and authors alike."

"Books and the stories and ideas captured inside them are part of our social fabric," said Otis Chandler, Goodreads CEO and co-founder. "People love to talk about ideas and share their passion for the stories they read. I'm incredibly excited about the opportunity to partner with Amazon and Kindle. We're now going to be able to move faster in bringing the Goodreads experience to millions of readers around the world. We're looking forward to inspiring greater literary discussion and helping more readers find great books, whether they read in print or digitally."





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Gaming startup 'Supercell' raises $100 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Mar 2013 12:16

Gaming startup 'Supercell' raises $100 million Supercell, the new hot gaming startup out of Finland, has raised $100 million, with a valuation of $625 million.

The company makes two games currently, Clash of Clans and Hay Day, both available for iOS. The games have been wildly successful, making about $1.3 million per day.

Supercell raised the $100 million by selling 16 percent of their outstanding shares. According to Crunch, the new investors are Institutional Venture Partners, Atomico and Index Ventures.

Accel Partners already has a 21.6 percent stake in the company, which they purchased for $12 million in 2011 before the games company even had any hits.





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Microsoft changes one requirement of Windows 8 tablets, suggesting smaller form factor is coming

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Mar 2013 11:26

Microsoft changes one requirement of Windows 8 tablets, suggesting smaller form factor is coming Microsoft has made a small change to its Windows 8 tablet minimum hardware requirements.

The new change will allow Windows 8 tablet makers to create hardware with a resolution of 1024x768, with no restrictions. Previously, OEMs had to disclose that a tablet with that resolution could not support Snap View, easily one of the best features of the operating system.

Thanks to a leaked build of Windows Blue, it appears that restriction has been lifted, with Snap View allowing users to run apps side-by-side.

The new changes imply that 7 or 8-inch form factor tablets may be in the works as Microsoft says the move is that "partners exploring designs for certain markets could find greater design flexibility helpful."





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Steam integration headed to Razer Edge tablet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Mar 2013 10:47

Steam integration headed to Razer Edge tablet Razer has announced that its new Edge gaming tablet will soon be getting Steam software pre-installed.

"Razer has one mission in mind: to innovate for PC gamers worldwide," says Min-Liang Tan, co-founder, Razer CEO and creative director. "Providing users with access to Steam will enable Razer Edge users to play their favorite games with greater ease than ever before."

Steam has over 2000 titles available for digital download, and currently has over 40 million accounts.

"The Razer Edge has more than enough power to play the latest and greatest Steam titles and it is completely built with PC gamers in mind," says Greg Coomer, product designer at Valve. "The tablet is a great way to experience everything Steam has to offer, including Big Picture mode."





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Microsoft Surface Pro to launch in China on April 2nd

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 9:23

Microsoft Surface Pro to launch in China on April 2nd Microsoft will make its Surface Pro tablet available for the first outside of North America.

Starting on April 2nd, the tablet will make its way to China, although the pricing remains unclear.

Microsoft made the post via Chinese social networking site Weibo, and the Chinese launch marks the first time the tablet is available outside of Canada and the U.S.

The announcement comes after the Redmond giant teamed up with Chinese seller Tmail to launch more stores in the region. Tmall sells Windows, Office, and Windows Phones and now will add the Surface.

Microsoft is looking to expand its tablet offerings to other regions, but those dates (and locations) remain unclear.





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Ouya begins shipping to Kickstarter backers, will reach retail stores on June 4th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 9:12

Ouya begins shipping to Kickstarter backers, will reach retail stores on June 4th Ouya has finally revealed its retail release date.

The gaming box will be available on June 4th for $99.99 at Amazon, Game, GameStop, Target and via the Ouya website.

Additionally, the company has begun shipping units to its Kickstarter backers, with a more full rollout over the coming weeks.

Ouya will be available initially in the U.S., Canada and the UK. For $99 you get a console, a controller, two batteries and an HDMI cable.






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Smartphone users check Facebook on their phones 14 times per day

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 8:30

Smartphone users check Facebook on their phones 14 times per day According to a new IDC survey, smartphone owners check their Facebook pages, on average, 14 times per day.

In total, users spend 32 minutes a day on Facebook, every single day.

The analytics firm surveyed 7446 Android and iOS users, all between the ages of 18 and 44.

Moving beyond Facebook, 44 percent of the group used their phones as an alarm clock, and 79 percent checked their phones within 15 minutes of waking up every morning. 79 percent of the group also admitted that their phones were out of reach for only two hours per day.

Email was the most used feature, actually followed by Facebook and then messaging and voice calls.





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AT&T to sell Samsung Galaxy S4 for $250 starting April 16th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 12:38

AT&T to sell Samsung Galaxy S4 for $250 starting April 16th AT&T has announced the availability and pricing of the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S4.

Customers will be able to pre-order the phone beginning on April 16th for $250 with new 2-year contract.

The carrier says it will be the first in the U.S. with the flagship although Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile will offer it, as well. T-Mobile has already said it will offer the phone beginning on May 1st, although it is unclear if pre-orders will begin earlier.

Samsung's latest has a 5-inch 1080p super AMOLED display with 441ppi. The screen is also protected by Corning's latest Gorilla Glass 3 and can be used with gloves thanks to "mitten tech." Under the hood the phone is powered by a Samsung Exynos 5 (international) or Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (North America), has 2GB RAM, 16-64GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, a removable 2600 mAh battery, 100 Mbps Cat 3 LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The device also has an IR blaster, turning it into a full remote control. The device is a thin 7.9mm.

Read more...




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Men arrested for trying to sever undersea Internet cable

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 12:20

Men arrested for trying to sever undersea Internet cable Egyptian police have arrested three men this week for trying to sever an undersea Internet cable.

The cable, the SEA-ME-WE 4 main line, is part of a larger network that connects the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Western Europe and has a total of 39 landing points.

Telecom Egypt owns the line, which was in Alexandria, and ISP Seacom said the attack reduced network speed in Egypt temporarily.

"The armed forces foiled an attempt and arrested three divers while they were cutting a submarine cable," said the authorities.

Seacom was quick to respond: "SEACOM can confirm that at 06:20 GMT 27 March, the SMW4 cable system suffered a cable cut off the coast of Egypt. Earlier this morning, SEACOM had restored all services on both SMW4 and IMEWE cable systems."





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Amazon Studios announces 'Betas' comedy about Silicon Valley

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 11:54

Amazon Studios announces 'Betas' comedy about Silicon Valley Amazon Studios has greenlit a new comedy pilot, called "Betas," about four Silicon Valley "geeks" trying to create code that will make them rich.

The show is the eight comedy to be accepted by Amazon Studios, with the first six getting greenlights in December and 'Zombieland' getting a greenlight last week.

Viewers will be able to watch the shows for free via Amazon Instant Video and through Lovefilm if they are subscribers.

Betas will star Ed Begley Jr., Jon Daly, Joe Dinicol, Margo Harshman, Charlie Saxton, and Karan Soni and the pilot at least will be directed by Michael Lehmann.

Producer Michael London says: "Amazon is giving us a chance to work outside the TV bureaucracies and connect directly with audiences hungry for original content, and Betas is the perfect match for that model. Betas is a half-hour comedy about a group of tech-savvy millennials trying to connect with the world both personally and professionally."





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PC gaming sees another year of strong growth

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 11:31

PC gaming sees another year of strong growth While the PC market itself has topped and has even been declining in recent years, PC gaming has seen continued growth.

For 2012, the gaming market saw growth of 8 percent compared to flat growth for the PC market.

There are over 1 billion PC gamers, with total revenue hitting $20 billion. China represented a good portion of the growth, with the nation accounting for $6.8 billion of the revenue, good for a 9 percent boost year-over-year.

Overall, the industry also saw growth in Korea, Japan, the US, the UK and Germany, all of which are considered "mature" markets in regards to growth.

Of the 1 billion gamers, a full 25 percent were not interested in "hardcore" games such as shooters, but preferred to play "core games" like strategy, role-playing and action titles.





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Sony shows off PlayStation 4 controller, Eye at GDC

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 11:00

Sony shows off PlayStation 4 controller, Eye at GDC At the ongoing Games Developers Conference (GDC) 2013 this week, Sony has taken the time to show off their new PlayStation 4 controller as well as the Eye technology.

The new face buttons and the L1/R1 buttons are now digital and not analog, which Sony says will reduce latency (and most likely cost). The analog sticks will have a smaller so-called "dead zone," a complaint for many years by active users.

Sony's new light bar glows a different color for different players and will also blink while charging, even if the PS4 is in standby mode.

The touchpad on the controller has a large 1920x900 resolution, can be "clicked" if you push on it, and supports 2 point contact.

Moving to the Playstation Eye, the camera has 2 cameras inside and four mics for better tracking.

Additionally, the company released some slightly updated specs on the console:

CPU: Single-chip custom processor, x86-64 AMD "Jaguar" 8-core

Read more...




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BlackBerry posts a surprise profit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 10:47

BlackBerry posts a surprise profit BlackBerry reported their quarterly earnings today, posting a surprise profit.

For their fiscal Q4 2012, BlackBerry reported a net income of $114 million, well above the consensus of a $130 million loss. Revenue was light, however, at $2.7 billion. A year ago, revenues for the quarter were $4.8 billion.

The company says they shipped 6 million smartphones in the past quarter, with 1 million being Z10 BlackBerry 10 phones.

Despite the profit, other numbers were not so pretty. Subscribers fell to 76 million, down from 79 million in December. Overall shipments were down 38 percent year-over-year.

Next quarter's earnings should be even more important for the company, as the Z10 has only just reached U.S. shores, RIM's largest market.





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Nokia gets massive tax bill from India

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 10:38

Nokia gets massive tax bill from India Large mobile phone marker Nokia says they will not pay the 20.8 billion rupees ($380 million USD) tax bill demanded of them by India for supposed unpaid taxes.

A Delhi High Court has so far issued a stay on the bill, but Nokia will still need to fight the claim moving forward.

"Nokia reiterates its position is that it is in full compliance with local laws as well as the bilaterally negotiated tax treaty between the governments of India and Finland and will defend itself vigorously," the company said in a statement.

Nokia cannot afford to get hit with such a lefty tax bill, as its cash reserves have been quickly dwindling in the past few years. Nokia ended 2012 with net cash on hand of $5.6 billion, down 22 percent from the end of 2011.

India has been aggressively pursuing claims against foreign companies, and others such as Mondelez, Royal Dutch Shell, Vodafone Group and LG Electronics have already received bills that they are fighting.





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Apple appears in Chinese court over Siri claims

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 10:28

Apple appears in Chinese court over Siri claims Apple appeared in court this week over claims that it stole software now used in the "Siri" personal assistant tech seen on iPhones.

Shanghai's Zhizhen Network Technology Co. accused Apple of patent infringement for the voice recognition software and both companies are now submitting evidence at the pre-trial hearing.

Zhizhen says it patented its own "Xiao i Robot" software back in 2004, three years before Apple began developing Siri. Siri was eventually unveiled in 2011. Xiao Robot works the same way as Siri, responding to voice commands.

Xiao i Robot is allegedly used by over 100 million users in China, including in the telecommunications, finance and e-commerce fields.

"The company will ask Apple to stop manufacturing and selling products using its patent rights, once Apple's infringement is confirmed," says Si Weijiang, a lawyer representing Zhizhen (via AFP). "We don't exclude the possibility of demanding compensation in the future,"





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Mozilla and Epic Games team up to bring Unreal Engine 3 to the Web

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 10:17

Mozilla and Epic Games team up to bring Unreal Engine 3 to the Web Mozilla and Epic Games have announced this week that they have teamed up to port the Unreal Engine 3 to the Web without the need for any plugins.

The browser company has long wanted to make the Internet a viable platform for modern games, and "about six months ago, Mozilla started to work on using its emscripten compiler to port C and C++ code to asm.js, a strict subset of JavaScript. This combination allows the JavaScript code to run at a speed within 2x of native performance and the latest versions of Firefox Nightly now support these optimizations," says TechCrunch.

For a demo, the companies showed off Epic's Citadel demo and Unreal Tournament running natively from within the browser.

Vladimir Vukicevic, Mozilla's engineering director and the inventor of WebGL, says the port only took four days and required minor adjustments.

Read more...




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Google Translate for Android adds offline support for 50 languages

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 10:07

Google Translate for Android adds offline support for 50 languages Google has announced today that it has added offline language support to its Google Translate app for Android.

The search giant says the new support is good for fifty languages ranging "from French and Spanish to Chinese and Arabic."

As a caveat, the company says the offline offerings are "less comprehensive" than if you were connected to the Internet but it should do fine if you need the occasional word.

To be able to use the service offline, you will need to download language packs from within the installed app.

The Google Translate app is free in the Google Play store.





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Boxee TV adds DLNA, 3D streaming support

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 1:26

Boxee TV adds DLNA, 3D streaming support If you have a Boxee TV device, a new firmware update is headed your way with a plethora of additions.

The new update will bring DLNA functionality, 3D streaming of Vudu content, better DVR scheduling and a TV guide that is more reminiscent of one you are used to on cable TV.

Boxee says the update should be rolled out to all owners by Friday.

Om adds that "DLNA will enable Boxee TV owners to play files stored on their computers or network-attached storage drives. Boxee TV also functions as a DLNA digital media renderer, meaning that users can beam music and videos straight from their mobile device to their Boxee TV, much in the same way as one would stream a video via Airplay to an Apple TV."

The DVR update is also notable since the company offers unlimited cloud DVR storage in certain regions.





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Ericsson eyeing Microsoft's IPTV business MediaRoom

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Mar 2013 12:52

Ericsson eyeing Microsoft's IPTV business MediaRoom Ericsson is in active talks to buy Microsoft's IPTV business, MediaRoom.

The division currently creates software used to deliver TV over the Web. Microsoft has large clients such as AT&T.

A deal could be announced in the coming weeks, and could net Microsoft $1 billion, or higher. Annual sales have been around $350 million per year for the last three years.

"This would make sense for Ericsson as it provides for a more complete offering," said Alexander Peterc, an analyst at Exane BNP Paribas. "Still, the technology started to get hyped about 10 years ago and may have reached its peak already, so I don't see this as a growth market."

100 million people will use IPTV services from phone companies this year, but most of the growth is in China and Japan. In the U.S., AT&T offers MediaRoom via its U-Verse service. U-Verse had 4.5 million subscribers at the end of 2012.





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Windows Phone outshipped the Phone in seven countries

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 11:56

Windows Phone outshipped the Phone in seven countries According to Frank Shaw, the head of public relations at Microsoft, Windows Phone outshipped the Apple iPhone in seven countries during the fourth quarter.

While Shaw did not reveal the countries, NYT did some digging with research firm IDC and found the nations. The countries were Argentina, India, Poland, Russia, South Africa, Ukraine and Croatia.

The numbers are not all that impressive, however, given that South Africa, Ukraine and Croatia each saw less than 100,000 Windows Phone unit shipments during the quarter.

Argentina would be a large win for Microsoft, but the IDC does note that high government levies and taxes have lead to a huge gray market for phones, most notably the iPhone, which means the numbers could be skewed.

Russia and Poland are traditionally big Nokia fans, and it appears that has not changed.





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Amazon expands 'X-Ray' to most popular TV shows

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 11:41

Amazon expands 'X-Ray' to most popular TV shows When Amazon released its Kindle Fire HD lineup, the company also introduced a few new features including "X-Ray for Movies," which integrates IMDB into any movie you may be watching on the tablets.

X-Ray for Movies allowed you to discover names of actors that are on the screen, and see their most popular movies/TV appearances right from within the playback area.

Today, the company has expanded the service to TV "bringing the seamless, fully-integrated X-Ray experience to TV shows."

"X-Ray has been one of the most loved features on Kindle Fire HD since it launched last September," said Peter Larsen, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. "For people who are passionate about movies and TV, there is no better way to watch than on Kindle Fire HD, which combines an exceptional viewing experience with the unbelievable power of the over 100 million pieces of data in IMDb's catalog."

"For over 20 years we have been cultivating a vast database of movie, TV and celebrity content," said Col Needham, IMDb Founder and CEO. "Can't remember where you've seen the actor playing Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey? No problem. Simply tap on the screen and you'll see a full filmography, where you'll realize that Hugh Bonneville was also in Notting Hill. Our vision is to make X-Ray available on every movie and TV show--we're excited to make another big step forward today, and we are working hard to add X-Ray to more TV shows and movies in the future."

Read more...




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Google selects only 8000 people to be able to buy Google Glass

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 11:24

Google selects only 8000 people to be able to buy Google Glass Google's augmented reality glasses, Google Glass, will only have 8000 users this year.

The search giant took applications from over a hundred thousand people last month to join the "Glass Explorer Program." As part of the application process, you had to tell Google what you would do with the glasses if you had them.

Applications were taken via social networks and had to include the hashtag "#ifihadglass."

By some accounts, there were 145,000 mentions of #ifihadglass, although it is unclear whether all were real "applications."

Google is selling the Glasses for $1500 and the company will be notifying all the winners this week.





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Nexus 5 to focus on camera and battery life?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 11:10

Nexus 5 to focus on camera and battery life? According to sources, Google will use the Nexus 5 to focus on the camera and battery life, not continuing the ongoing race to have the biggest, largest resolution display.

If the rumors are accurate, the company will keep a 720p IPS display instead of moving to a 5-inch 1080p OLED like rivals. The display will be 4.5-inches but 88 percent of the front will be the screen, meaning the bezel will be almost non-existent. The phone will have the extremely powerful Snapdragon 600 and 3GB RAM, giving it otherwise high-end specs.

In regards to the camera, the flagship will include a Nikon branded 9-megapixel triple prism sensor, which would likely be the best camera ever in a smartphone but much slower than CMOS sensors.

Read more...




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Netflix's new original program will be sci-fi thriller 'Sense8'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 10:56

Netflix's new original program will be sci-fi thriller 'Sense8' Netflix has announced its next original program will be the sci-fi thriller "Sense8."

The show will be directed by the Wachowski brothers, the team behind "The Matrix" and J. Michael Straczynski, the creator of Babylon 5.

"Andy and Lana Wachowski and Joe Straczynski are among the most imaginative writers and gifted visual storytellers of our time," said Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos. "Their incredible creations are favorites of Netflix members globally and we can't wait to bring Sense8 to life."

"We're excited to work with Netflix and Georgeville Television on this project, and we've wanted to work with Joe Straczynski for years, chiefly due to the fact his name is harder to pronounce than ours, but also because we share a love of genre and all things nerdy," added Andy and Lana Wachowski. "Several years ago, we had a late night conversation about the ways technology simultaneously unites and divides us, and out of that paradox Sense8 was born."

The first season of the series will be 10 episodes and will be made available in the Q3 2013.





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HTC One has seen 'hundreds of thousands' of pre-orders

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 10:34

HTC One has seen 'hundreds of thousands' of pre-orders According to Jason Mackenzie, HTC's president of global sales and marketing, the upcoming One flagship is seeing decent pre-orders in the U.S.

The company has seen "several hundred thousand" pre-orders so far.

Mackenzie also says the initial response to the phone has "been fantastic."

Says the exec (via Focus): "We are seeing our strongest initial response for any smartphone we've ever designed with several hundred thousand people in the U.S. pre-registering to purchase the new HTC One."

The company was forced to delay launch of the phone due to supply issues with the new Ultrapixel camera.





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New rumor suggests Apple's HDTV will be 4K

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 10:14

New rumor suggests Apple's HDTV will be 4K I'm surprised it took so long to manifest, but the latest rumor claims Apple's oft-rumored HDTV will have a 4K resolution, otherwise known as "Ultra HD."

Perhaps more notably, the sources say the device could reach consumers by the end of this year.

Digitimes, the Taipei-based publication, says the TV will have a 3,840-by-2,160 pixel display, voice and motion controls and internet connectivity. While the publication has been extremely wrong on many rumors over the past year, their display industry sources have been somewhat better.

Apple is said to be working with Foxconn on the UHDTV and is actively seeking a "reliable" panel supplier. LG is the expected supplier due to Apple's ongoing fight with Samsung.





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HTC kills off 'Quietly Brilliant' tagline

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 2:06

HTC kills off 'Quietly Brilliant' tagline HTC is preparing to kill its long-standing "Quietly Brilliant" tagline, as new CMO Benjamin Ho wants to refresh the image of the struggling brand.

Ho says the company has not "been loud enough" in the past, but will need to be now if it wants to compete against market leaders Samsung and Apple.

Moving forward, and starting with the new flagship HTC One, the company will use marketing themes such as "bold," "authentic," and "playful." '"Bold" demonstrates that HTC will be more aggressive in the marketing of its new products, "authentic" is said to reinforce its focus on innovation, and "playful" is meant to reference HTC's development of features that are based on consumer demand,' reads Verge.

Ho added that the company will be boosting its digital marketing budget by 250 percent this year, throwing money at some of their issues.

The HTC One was recently confirmed to be delayed due to camera component shortages, and will now be released in the U.S. in late April, just weeks ahead of the Samsung Galaxy S4, which will undoubtedly be the biggest launch of the year until the iPhone 5S or 6 steals some of its thunder.





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Intel inching closer to deals for pay-TV service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 1:39

Intel inching closer to deals for pay-TV service According to Bloomberg, Intel is making headway in its talks with Time Warner, NBCU and Viacom in an effort to obtain TV and film media for its upcoming pay-TV service.

Allegedly, the media companies have signed off on the outlines of the service, but are now working out financial terms.

Intel is creating their own set-top box that would deliver content through your Internet connection and give you more flexibility in regards to what channels you want, instead of paying a flat fee for hundreds of bundled channels you may never watch. The service would offer live and on-demand channels. Intel is said to also be looking for access to a cloud-based DVR. Customers could view the content on mobile devices, as well.

The company is said to be starting negotiations with News Corp. (Fox) and is in very early stage talks with CBS and Disney.





AfterDawn: News

Facebook now hosting 250 million gamers per month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 1:26

Facebook now hosting 250 million gamers per month Speaking at this week's Gaming Developers Conference, Facebook proudly boasted its social gaming stats.

The social networking giant now has 250 million monthly gamers, with 200 games boasting over 1 million active users.

In August 2011, the monthly gamer figure was 205 million, which jumped to 235 million by August 2012.

Additionally, the company says they paid out $2 billion to developers in 2012, a huge 30 percent increase from 2011.

Finally, the social network announced that a full 55 percent of the top 400 iOS apps are currently integrated with Facebook, with the company actually driving 263 million clicks to either the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store from mobile devices.





AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile USA launches new LTE network and new, cheap unlimited everything plans

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 12:57

T-Mobile USA launches new LTE network and new, cheap unlimited everything plans As we reported earlier, T-Mobile USA used their major press event to reveal they will be offering the iPhone, including the iPhone 5.

However, that was not all the carrier had in store for customers, as it also unveiled a new LTE network and new monthly plans that offer significant savings when compared to bigger rivals AT&T, Verizon and Sprint.

The 4G LTE service is available now in Baltimore, Houston, Kansas City, Las Vegas, Phoenix, San Jose, California and Washington, D.C. The carrier says they expect to reach 100 million people by June and 200 million by the end of the year, putting it ahead of Sprint but still behind AT&T and Verizon which started their LTE rollouts in 2012. Many of those not in the LTE areas already have 4G HSPA+ network access, however, which offers speeds comparable to mid-end LTE.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile to finally offer iPhone models, including iPhone 5 for just $99 upfront

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 12:25

T-Mobile to finally offer iPhone models, including iPhone 5 for just $99 upfront After years of not offering the popular device, T-Mobile will begin offering the iPhone starting on April 12th.

The carrier will offer the iPhone 4, 4S and 5, and the iPhone 5 will be compatible with the company's 3G, 4G HSPA+ and LTE networks.

Thanks to the company's new "Uncarrier" plans, the iPhone 5 will sell with two options. You can purchase the device at full price at time of purchase, or purchase it for $99 upfront and pay out $20 a month for 24 months, for a total of $579 over two years.

If you want an iPhone 4 or 4S, the installment plan cost is just $15 or $70 down with a $15 or $20 monthly charge, respectively.

T-Mobile also notes that the iPhone 5 will support "HD Voice," which the company defines as high definition voice calling with background noise reduction.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Google launches Play hardware store for India

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Mar 2013 12:06

Google launches Play hardware store for India Google has opened up its Play hardware store to Indian buyers.

Just days after opening up the Google Play Books store, buyers in India can now purchase some Google hardware to read it with.

The first device available is the popular Nexus 7 tablet, but only the 16GB Wi-Fi model.

Google is selling the tablet for 15,999 rupees ($294) with an estimated delivery by April 5th.





AfterDawn: News

Microsoft unveils details of upcoming Xbox Live sale

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2013 5:44

Microsoft unveils details of upcoming Xbox Live sale Microsoft has unveiled details of their upcoming Xbox Live sale.

The list of games and DLC will be available to both Xbox Silver and Gold members.

Microsoft says the sale will begin on Tuesday, March 26th and last until Monday the 1st.

Additionally, on the 1st, a whole new list of deals will be made available but only for one day.

(List via CVG)





AfterDawn: News

UK retailer slashes Wii U price significantly to move stagnant stock

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2013 4:21

UK retailer slashes Wii U price significantly to move stagnant stock Large (and bankrupt) UK retailer HMV has confirmed that it is slashing the price of the Wii U to help move stagnant stock.

The company is selling a custom Wii U Premium package, including both NintendoLand and ZombiU at 199.99, effectively a 140 discount from what the console was selling for, even without the zombie game.

HMV says the sale goes live on March 25 and is good as long as supplies last, which could be a while if the company still has as much inventory as expected.

There have been plenty of recent articles showing how little patience retailers around the globe have for the Wii U and its lackluster sales. Executives have allegedly claimed that even price cuts don't work, and Nintendo really needs to "act fast" before it's too late.

Asda, Amazon, ShopTo and GameStop have all already dropped the price of the console in the region by 50.





AfterDawn: News

Zynga.com no longer requires Facebook login

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2013 3:35

Zynga.com no longer requires Facebook login Zynga has announced this week that it is making its Facebook login requirement for Zynga.com now optional.

Beginning on Monday, gamers will no longer need to have a Facebook account to play the games at Zynga.com and can use new dedicated Zynga usernames and passwords.

Reads the press release:

Starting next week, when you visit Zynga.com you will see a new streamlined signup that lets you create your own account just for playing games. We also wanted to make sure that existing Zynga.com players continue to have the best experience possible so you don't have to start from scratch. All players will have the option to connect with Facebook and keep your game friends and game progress, while deciding what you share with your gaming community.

We thank you for the valuable feedback and hope you enjoy what we believe is a natural evolution of Zynga.com. We've kept a lot of the great features like live Social Stream, Fast Load and Online Presence which lets you see who else is playing right now. Some of your favorite games will be on the new site at launch and we will continue to work hard to bring you more great games and new features over the coming weeks and months.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Analyst: Plastic iPhone without Retina is coming this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2013 3:16

Analyst: Plastic iPhone without Retina is coming this year According to a new client note by Amit Daryanani of RBC Capital Markets, Apple is preparing a low-end iPhone for release this year.

The iPhone will include the 4-inch screen seen in the iPhone 5, but will be plastic and not include a Retina display.

Apple will release at least two phone during the Summer period this year, says the analyst, including the expected iPhone 5S and the low-end device. "With a lower price point, Apple will be able to target a growing and important part of the smartphone market (sub-$400 price band)," reads the note.

This note is certainly not the first time an analyst or other reporter has claimed that Apple is working on a low-end iPhone, aimed at emerging markets. Just last month, KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said the supposed phone would include a "hybrid casing of fiberglass and plastic will make it lighter and slimmer than general plastic casing and easier to make in various colors."





AfterDawn: News

First eight T-Mobile USA LTE markets found

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Mar 2013 11:50

First eight T-Mobile USA LTE markets found According to multiple sources, the first eight T-Mobile LTE networks will be located in New York, New Orleans, Denver, Las Vegas, Kansas City, San Diego, San Jose and Seattle.

The company expects to have a full rollout to over 200 million users by the end of 2013. Such a rollout would give T-Mobile the third largest LTE network in the U.S., slightly behind Verizon and AT&T, who began their networks in 2012.

Sprint, the third-largest carrier in the nation, has been slowly building their LTE network, as well, and is currently in 67 markets.

T-Mobile is preparing an event in NYC on March 26th, but the carrier is widely expected to introduce the LTE network and also unveil new unlimited, unsubsidized service plans that cost as low as $50 per month.





AfterDawn: News

Windows Store hits 50,000 apps

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2013 7:22

Windows Store hits 50,000 apps According to an unofficial tally by MetroStore Scanner, the Windows Store has reached 50,000 total apps.

The service also noted that there has been a large decline in new submissions since November of last year, with averages dropping from 400 to 150 in February before seeing an uptick to 200 in March.

It is unclear whether Microsoft's new rewards program has helped in the growth. The company began offering developers $100 per app for new published apps submitted to either the Windows Phone Store or the Windows 8 Store before June 30th. Each developer can qualify for up to 10 apps per store, for a net total of $2000 in bonuses. All apps must meet standard certification requirements, and the app must do more than just launch a web page. Additionally, you cannot clone existing published apps.

The store offers apps for Windows 8 and Windows RT.





AfterDawn: News

Apple blames record labels, movie studios for Australians paying higher prices on digital content

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2013 7:07

Apple blames record labels, movie studios for Australians paying higher prices on digital content Apple took a rare stance in blaming record companies, movie studios and TV networks for higher prices on digital downloads in Australia, especially when compared to the U.S.

The words came out during an interview by a special Australian parliamentary committee that is investigating price gouging by Apple, Adobe, Microsoft and others.

Recent surveys showed that Australians paid, on average, 50 percent more than U.S. consumers did for the same games, songs, software and hardware.

For example, Justin Timberlake's brand new '20/20 Experience' sells for $10.99 in the U.S. iTunes Store, but $19.99 AUD, which is the equivalent of about $21 USD. Software is even worse.

Tony King, the vice president for Apple Australia, New Zealand and South Asia said digital content pricing was based solely on wholesale prices negotiated by the media companies. "The content industry still runs with perhaps old-fashioned notions of country borders or territories or markets," King added.





AfterDawn: News

HTC issues update on 'One' phone availability

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2013 6:52

HTC issues update on 'One' phone availability HTC has sent out an update on the availability of their upcoming One smartphone.

The company recently announced it had issues acquiring component supplies for their device and therefore would have to delay the phone.

Reads the email:

"HTC has seen unprecedented demand for and interest in the new HTC One, and the care taken to design and build it is evidenced in early reviews. The new HTC One will roll out in the UK, Germany and Taiwan next week and across Europe, North America and most of Asia-Pacific before the end of April. We appreciate our customers' patience, and believe that once they have the phone in their hands they will agree that it has been worth the wait."


A lot of the company's future is hinging on the phone, and HTC's longtime CEO and founder Peter Chou has even bet his job on the success of the One flagship device, and will step down if its a failure.





AfterDawn: News

Happy 20th birthday to the Intel Premium line

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2013 6:05

Happy 20th birthday to the Intel Premium line Yesterday, the Pentium processor turned 20 years old, a huge milestone for Intel.

The first chip in the line, the Pentium P5, was introduced on March 22nd, 1993, boasting such impressive specs as 66 MHz clock speed, 3.1 million transistors, a TDP of up to 16 W, and a 800nm manufacturing process.

Intel's new Ivy Bridge processors have clock speeds up to 3.90GHz, 1.4 billion transistors, a TDP of up to 77W and a 22nm dye process, making the chips many, many, many, many times more powerful and smaller than their older brother.

Engadget has collected a couple of funny old Pentium videos, including one by parody artist Weird Al Yankovic.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Barnes & Nobles now offering a free e-reader with purchase of the NOOK HD+ tablet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2013 5:48

Barnes & Nobles now offering a free e-reader with purchase of the NOOK HD+ tablet Barnes & Noble, in an effort to boost sales of their flagship tablet, will offer a free Nook Simple Touch e-reader with purchases of the NOOK HD+.

From March 24th until March 31st, the $79 e-reader will be added to purchases made online and in-store. If you purchase from another retailer, like Wal-Mart or Target, the offer is good through the 30th.

"NOOK HD+, with its must-see full HD 9-inch screen, is perfect for experiencing movies, apps, magazines and more, while NOOK Simple Touch is ideal for reading millions of books with crisp, clear text on a portable and lightweight device that's comfortable to hold for hours," reads the statement.

The NOOK HD+ offers a 1080p screen, a 1.5GHz dual-core processor, weighs just 18.2 ounces and costs $269 for the 16GB model or $299 for the 32GB version.





AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry shares fall as demand for Z10 phone appears to be non-existent

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2013 5:25

BlackBerry shares fall as demand for Z10 phone appears to be non-existent BlackBerry made its return to the U.S. yesterday via carrier AT&T, but it appears consumer demand has not returned.

Shares of the company collapsed 7 percent on Friday after reports showed no demand in stores for the phone, and little excitement by AT&T employees.

AT&T locations around the nation did not even have the Z10 flagship phone on display yet, and Best Buy stores were also reporting weak demand.

Hudson Square Research analyst Daniel Ernst added (via Reuters): "This morning we visited and called stores to survey early demand for the BlackBerry Z10. We found no lines, no signage announcing the launch, and clerks told us they had very few pre-orders."

The Z10 is the first phone to feature the new BlackBerry 10 operating system, which the company hopes will let them move back into third place behind Android and iOS but ahead of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.

BlackBerry released the Z10 in Europe in February and has seen relatively strong demand in other markets but it appears that BlackBerry is completely dead to the U.S. market.





AfterDawn: News

Will Google's 'X' phone be the first customizable smartphone?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Mar 2013 5:10

Will Google's 'X' phone be the first customizable smartphone? The most interesting rumors yet to come out about the secretive Google/Motorola "X Phone" have surfaced.

According to sources, the X Phone will have customizable hardware options that will let users pick the features they want in their smartphone, similar to how computer makers offer different displays, memory, video cards and more.

While there is no hard evidence yet to back the rumors, Motorola's advisor Guy Kawasaki has added some fuel to the fire by posting a video to his Google+ page. (Article after the jump).

The video is about the Porsche Exclusive program that lets would-be buyers design their own cars from a list of features. Kawasaki says "wouldn't it be great if you could personalize your phone like this," as a closing statement.

Check his post here: Google+





AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry 10 reaches 100,000 apps

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 10:37

BlackBerry 10 reaches 100,000 apps In less than two months, the BlackBerry 10 mobile OS has reached a significant milestone, 100,000 apps.

Additionally, BlackBerry says a few notable apps that will be available soon are CNN, The Daily Show Headlines, eBay, eMusic, Maxim, MLB at Bat, MTV News, Pageonce, PGA, Rdio, Skype, Soundhound, and Viber.

"The response to the BlackBerry 10 platform and applications has been outstanding," noted Martyn Mallick, vice president of global alliances at BlackBerry. "Customers are thrilled with the applications already available, and the catalog just keeps growing."

As Z10 owners know, some of the more popular cross-platform apps have been available, including Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and WhatsApp (and let's not forget Angry Birds) but there are plenty others missing. A recent study found that only 33 percent of the top 100 Android and iOS apps had BB10 equivalents.

The Z10 flagship will hit the U.S. tomorrow via AT&T and in the coming weeks from Verizon and T-Mobile.





AfterDawn: News

Pandora finally available for Windows Phone 8

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 3:50

Pandora finally available for Windows Phone 8 Six months after it was announced, Pandora is finally available for Windows Phone 8.

Additionally, users will have ad-free listening through the end of 2013, thanks to a subsidy from Microsoft.

The last line is notable since ad-free unlimited listening normally costs $36 per year through a service called "Pandora One." Also, other users are limited to 40 hours per month for free. That cap is not enforced until 2014 for WP8 users.

One exclusive of the new app allows owners to pin their favorite stations to the start screen (as a live tile) and the tile will update the track information for the song is on. However, it appears lyrics and artist bios have disappeared, at least in version 1.0 of the app.





AfterDawn: News

US Department of Defense orders 650,000 iOS devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 2:59

US Department of Defense orders 650,000 iOS devices Following the conclusion of the current sequester, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) will order 650,000 iOS devices from Apple, replacing older BlackBerry phones.

The agency had been testing BlackBerry 10 devices to save on costs, but it appears they were not ready for primetime.

Allegedly, the breakdown will be 210,000 iPhones, 220,000 iPads (including Minis) and 200,000 iPod Touches. Of the devices, "more than half are headed to the battlefield, afloat, and to associated support commands. Most of the rest will stay [at the Pentagon]."

The DoD currently has 470,000 BlackBerry devices in daily use, all of which use the older and outdated BlackBerry 7 operating system.





AfterDawn: News

Twitter turns seven, hits new milestone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 2:05

Twitter turns seven, hits new milestone Twitter is celebrating its 7th birthday today.

On March 21st, 2006, founder Jack Dorsey tweeted "just setting up my twttr" starting the microblogging revolution.

The video features some of the more important events in the history of the service.

Additionally, Twitter also announced the milestone of hitting 200 million active users, with 400 million tweets being sent daily.








AfterDawn: News

YouTube now at 1 billion monthly users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 1:13

YouTube now at 1 billion monthly users Behemoth video sharing site YouTube has now reached 1 billion unique monthly users.

The number is extremely significant given that there are just under 7 billion humans on Earth.

Says Google:

What does a billion people tuning into YouTube look like?
-Nearly one out of every two people on the Internet visits YouTube.
-Our monthly viewership is the equivalent of roughly ten Super Bowl audiences.
-If YouTube were a country, we'd be the third largest in the world after China and India.
-PSY and Madonna would have to repeat their Madison Square Garden performance in front of a packed house 200,000 more times. That's a lot of Gangnam Style!


YouTube now joins an elite club started by Facebook last year.





AfterDawn: News

The rumors are back: The Xbox Next will require Internet connection and all games must be installed to HDD

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 12:08

The rumors are back: The Xbox Next will require Internet connection and all games must be installed to HDD While the rumors have been rampant for months, another leak from this week gives more credence to the rumor that the next Xbox will require an Internet connection and all games must be installed to the HDD.

VGLeaks posted screenshots of the Durango XDK (Development Kit) on Tuesday, and with them are some interesting facts.

The documentation says the console will include an HDD with enough capacity "to hold a large number of games." All games must be installed to the drive as "play from the optical drive will not be supported." That being said, it appears the discs will only be required for installation and then are useless.

Additionally, the documentation suggests the console will be "always on, always connected," which normally refers to a necessity of being connected to the Internet to be able to play games, including single-player modes.

Take everything from the screenshots with a grain of salt, however, as other sources are reporting that the documentation is from 2012, which could mean Microsoft has had a change of heart.

The Xbox Next is expected to be unveiled at this year's E3 for release over the holidays.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Google Play 4.0 leaked

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 11:46

Google Play 4.0 leaked Droid-Life has posted a 6-minute long preview of the upcoming Google Play Store 4.0 application.

The update is expected to be unveiled at this year's I/O event, alongside an update to Android itself, either 4.3, or maybe even 5.0.

From the preview, the redesign is a major overhaul. All the fonts and pictures are larger (including new fonts) and the store is a bit more green (just in color, not environmental friendliness).

Take a look at the preview after the jump. You can start at 1 minute in and not miss anything:





AfterDawn: News

HTC CEO will step down if 'One' is a failure

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 11:02

HTC CEO will step down if 'One' is a failure According to the WSJ, HTC's longtime CEO has bet his job on the success of the One flagship device.

Reads the exact quote, "In a meeting in late 2012, Mr. Chou told senior executives he would step down if the new smartphone doesn't succeed, according to people familiar with the situation."

The company recently had to delay the launch of the smartphone, which features high-end specs and the company's latest version of the Sense UI.

Chou founded HTC in 1997 and has remained its chairman since.

HTC One has a 4.7-inch LCD with 1080p resolution and a massive pixel density of 468ppi.

Under the hood is a Snapdragon 600 SoC that includes a quad-core processor clocked at 1.7GHz and LTE. The device runs on Android 4.1 with HTC Sense 5, has 2GB RAM, 32 or 64GB internal storage, GPS and GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a large 2300mAh battery.





AfterDawn: News

Amazon denies $99 Kindle Fire HD is coming

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 10:47

Amazon denies $99 Kindle Fire HD is coming Amazon has denied Crunch's report that they are actively building a $99 Kindle Fire HD.

The rumor had been that the company was looking to completely disrupt the market with the low-priced tablet in 2013, which would match white box Asian OEMs yet feature Amazon's popular Kindle hardware and software.

Says an Amazon spokesperson: "It's not happening--we are already at the lowest price points possible for that hardware."

As rumored, the $99 Kindle Fire HD would include a TI processor, 1280x800 resolution and a 7-inch display.





AfterDawn: News

OnLive is back

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 10:35

OnLive is back A few months ago, the cloud-based gaming company OnLive infamously fell apart, with company laying off all of its employees and selling for just $4.8 million, a fraction of its value just months before.

The service allows gamers to play PC games via a set-top box on your HDTV or on a PC that does not have powerful specs. The games were streamed via cloud servers and cost a nominal amount per month.

OnLive's new owner Gary Lauder has remained quiet since his acquisition but has finally posted today about the company and its return. The company now has 90 employees, a new office and a new SVP of Engineering.

"The Game Service and the Desktop are two great examples of what can be done with OnLive's core technology, but they are just the beginning," says Lauder. The OnLive Desktop service lets you stream an almost full copy of Windows to devices with other operating systems.

Adds the owner: "So now, the Next Big Thing for the team that built the first cloud gaming service is to build a robust, scalable open platform using our core streaming technology, but with a completely new architecture that will allow ANYONE to leverage our low-latency streaming solution."

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Samsung Galaxy S4 costs $244 to build?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Mar 2013 10:11

Samsung Galaxy S4 costs $244 to build? IHS iSuppli has released its first virtual teardown of the upcoming Galaxy S4, estimating the bill of materials at $236.

Adding in manufacturing costs, the total production cost clocks in at $244 says the company.

At $244, the phone costs 15 percent more ($31) to build than its predecessor, the S III. Most of the extra cost can be attributed to the Super AMOLED FullHD display and the upgraded processor (at least in the HSPA+ model).

The FullHD display cost $75, 10 percent more than the S3's 720p display.

Most surprising, the new phone's 13MP camera costs just $1 more than the 8MP camera of its predecessor, begging the question as to why more manufacturers don't use a larger sensor.

Check the full breakdown here (via GSMA):





AfterDawn: News

Intertrust sues Apple over patent infringement

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2013 10:32

Intertrust sues Apple over patent infringement Intertrust Technologies, a software company owned by Sony and Philips, has sued Apple over patent infringement.

The 15 patents are related to security and covers devices across Apple's spectrum such as the iPad, iPhone, Apple TV and Mac desktops and laptops.

Additionally, the suit covers iTunes, iCloud and the Apple App Store.

Intertrust develops and licenses DRM software, which is then used by content producers from the music, movie and gaming industries. Companies such as Samsung, HTC, Nokia and others license the software.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Google to merge messaging platforms under new 'Babble' umbrella

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2013 9:16

Google to merge messaging platforms under new 'Babble' umbrella According to multiple sources, Google is planning to merge their messaging platforms into one single service, dubbed "Babble."

Google, in there ongoing expansions into multiple fronts, has let their messaging platforms run rampant. Currently, there is Google Talk, Google+, Voice, Google Hangout and Chat for Drive. All work towards the same end, but behave differently and do not really collaborate.

The sources claim Google is seeking to end this by creating a new service fresh, a cross-platform solution that would take on up-and-comers such as WhatsApp and Line and also established services like BlackBerry Messenger.

Reads one source: "Babble continues Google's trend towards organization by conversation. You can share photos in chat windows just like you would in G+ Messenger, start a Hangout with anyone in your contact list, and the conversations are threaded across all the existing services. Moving forward, the individual services will all be pushed onto the single platform, and you'll be able to use the same chat window across all of Google's products with the same features available everywhere. It's not so much releasing a new product as it is pulling together all of the existing products under a single branding."

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

This week only, Origin slashes prices on 200 games

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2013 8:58

This week only, Origin slashes prices on 200 games Electronic Arts has started an 'Origin Player Appreciation Sale' this week, slashing prices on 200 games by up to 70 percent.

The sale will go until March 26 at 10:00am PT and will include Origin's entire spectrum including PC/Mac games and titles for the Xbox 360, PS3, Wii and Wii U.

For example, newer games like Dead Space 3 and Crysis 3 are down to $30, for all platforms they are available on.

Mass Effect 3 has been cut to $10, Hitman Absolution is $12 and the award-winning The Walking Dead series (all episodes) are $10.

Origin has 40 million registered users.

Check the sale here: Player Appreciation Sale





AfterDawn: News

Amazon in discussions with record labels over possible streaming subscription service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Mar 2013 8:42

Amazon in discussions with record labels over possible streaming subscription service According a new report, Amazon is looking to get into the streaming subscription music business, following other giants into the ring.

So far the talks with the record labels have been "informal," but Amazon is hoping to create a service similar to Spotify, the leader in the market.

Spotify, along with Rdio, Rhapsody and others, offer limited access to millions of tracks, for free via browsers or desktop apps. If you move to premium packages, you can gain unlimited access to the music as well as mobile access.

The sector leader, Spotify, now has 6 million users paying either $5 or $10 per month for premium accounts, with that number growing quicker every month. The company has a total of 24 million users around the world.

Google is said to be planning a rival service, integrating YouTube.





AfterDawn: News

Bloomberg: Samsung building smartwatch to once again beat Apple to the punch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2013 8:28

Bloomberg: Samsung building smartwatch to once again beat Apple to the punch According to Bloomberg, the rumors are correct, Samsung is actively developing a smartwatch to once again beat Apple to the punch.

Apple has long been rumored to be developing an iWatch, wearable technology that syncs with your iOS device, includes fitness features and can possibly even make and receive phone calls. However, the company has never confirmed and there is no word on a possible release date.

"We've been preparing the watch product for so long," Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung's mobile business, said during an interview. "We are working very hard to get ready for it. We are preparing products for the future, and the watch is definitely one of them."

There were little other details revealed, so it is unclear what features a Galaxy watch may include or when it will go on sale.





AfterDawn: News

Microsoft offering developers cash for apps

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2013 8:16

Microsoft offering developers cash for apps Microsoft has announced it will be offering developers $100 per app for new published apps submitted to either the Windows Phone Store or the Windows 8 Store before June 30th.

Each developer can qualify for up to 10 apps per store, for a net total of $2000 in bonuses.

All apps must meet standard certification requirements, and the app must do more than just launch a web page. Additionally, you cannot clone existing published apps.

Microsoft also notes that the promotion will run until 10,000 apps are published or the time ends, whatever comes first.

The company has struggled to meet expectations for Windows Phone, as it fights to take share away from Google and Apple. Windows 8 has also failed to gain traction in the operating system market.





AfterDawn: News

HTC One flagship delayed thanks to supply issues

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Mar 2013 7:52

HTC One flagship delayed thanks to supply issues Last month, HTC made a big show of unveiling its next flagship, the One, a powerful device with high-end specs and the latest version of its Sense user interface.

This week, the company has admitted it has to delay the phone due to supply issues.

One exec even went as far as to say that the company is no longer a "tier-one" customer and therefore has issues securing adequate supplies for big launches. Says the exec: "The company has a problem managing its component suppliers as it has changed its order forecasts drastically and frequently following last year's unexpected slump in shipments. HTC has had difficulty in securing adequate camera components as it is no longer a tier-one customer."

The phone was set for a March launch, but will now "hopefully" launch in April. The delay may be another nail in the coffin, especially since Samsung just announced the Galaxy S4 to much fanfare.

HTC One has a 4.7-inch LCD with 1080p resolution and a massive pixel density of 468ppi.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Justin Long to star as Steve Jobs in satirical biopic 'iSteve'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2013 9:24

Justin Long to star as Steve Jobs in satirical biopic 'iSteve' 'Funny or Die,' the comedy video website started by Will Ferrell, will host "the first Steve Jobs movie," a satirical pic called 'iSteve.'

The movie will star Justin Long as Jobs and Jorge Garcia of 'Lost' as Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak. The movie, which will be about 65 minutes long, will debut on the site on April 15th.

iSteve comes on the heels of Ashton Kutcher's 'jOBS' biopic being delayed, and Aaron Sorkin's Sony-backed Jobs biopic being set for release in late 2014.

The movie is a satire of biopics in general and will stretch facts and stick completely to Funny or Die's comedy roots, although the long-form film is certainly a move away from the site's regular content, which are 5 minute clips or shorter.

"In true Internet fashion, it's not based on very thorough research -- essentially a cursory look at the Steve Jobs Wikipedia page," said Ryan Perez, iSteve's writer and director (via NYT). "It's very silly. But it looks at his whole life. We might not be the best, but we will be the first."





AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp expanding subscription model to iOS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2013 9:05

WhatsApp expanding subscription model to iOS WhatsApp, the popular cross-market mobile messaging application, has announced it will be expanding its annual subscription model to iOS.

Currently, the app has a one-time $1 upfront fee for iOS. On Android, the app is free but the service costs $1 per year. The same goes for BlackBerry and Windows Phone.

"We're relaxed on dates, but definitely this year. It's on the road map," Jan Koum, WhatsApp's CEO, said in an interview.

WhatsApp has over 130 million users, and 17 billion messages are sent and received daily, making it hugely popular, especially within Android.

When asked if the company is working on a desktop version of the service, Koum says they are not. "We get that question asked a lot. We feel strongly that the world is moving to mobile and [so] we want to be mobile-only. Your phone is with you all the time, and desktop is to many becoming a secondary experience. [So] our answer is no, not anytime soon."





AfterDawn: News

Sony unveils Xperia SP and Xperia L smartphones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2013 8:43

Sony unveils Xperia SP and Xperia L smartphones Sony has announced two new mid-range Android phones today, the Xperia SP and L.

The SP has a 4.6-inch 720p display, a 1.7GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4, an 8MP camera, NFC, LTE, 8GB internal storage and runs on Android 4.1, matching high-end specs for 2012 but not for 2013.

Second, the Xperia L has a 4.3-inch FWVGA (854x480) display, a dual-core 1 GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, NFC, 8GB of internal storage, Android 4.1, and no LTE. However, the device does have an 8MP camera, including HDR tech, which the company is really touting.

Sony is making both devices available in Asia and Europe by the end of the Q2, and there was no word on price. Don't expect a U.S. release for these devices as they wouldn't sell well here.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

AT&T hacker gets 41 months in prison and fine

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2013 7:50

AT&T hacker gets 41 months in prison and fine Andrew Auernheimer, perhaps better known as "Weev," has been sentenced to 41 months in prison for exploiting AT&T and revealing data from over 114,000 iPad 3G owners.

Weev was sentenced for being found guilty on one charge of conspiracy to access a computer without authorization under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986 and one charge of fraud in connection with personal information.

In addition to the prison time, he will also serve three years probation and must pay $73,000 to AT&T. Both charges had maximum sentences of five years each.

Back in 2010, Auernheimer very publicly revealed the security flaw by giving the database info to Gawker rather than AT&T itself.





AfterDawn: News

EA CEO steps down following another poor quarter

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2013 7:34

EA CEO steps down following another poor quarter EA's longtime CEO John Riccitiello has resigned today following another poor earnings quarter.

The exec will step down on March 30th, with Larry Probst stepping in as an interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent replacement.

Riccitiello says he was resigning due to the company's poor financial performance, but surely the recent SimCity debacle must have had a small part in the decision, as well.

"My decision to leave EA is really all about my accountability for the shortcomings in our financial results this year," he noted. "It currently looks like we will come in at the low end of, or slightly below, the financial guidance we issued to the Street, and we have fallen short of the internal operating plan we set one year ago. And for that, I am 100 percent accountable."

The company said net revenue this quarter would be about $1.115 billion, at the very low end of the company's own recent guidance.

Mr. Riccitiello added, "EA is an outstanding company with creative and talented employees, and it has been an honor to serve as the Company's CEO. I am proud of what we have accomplished together, and after six years I feel it is the right time for me pass the baton and let new leadership take the Company into its next phase of innovation and growth. I remain very optimistic about EA's future there is a world class team driving the Company's transition to the next generation of game consoles."





AfterDawn: News

Owners of 'SimCity' can now claim their free EA game following debacle

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Mar 2013 6:48

Owners of 'SimCity' can now claim their free EA game following debacle Earlier this month, EA released its newly updated 'SimCity' title to critical acclaim.

However, the consumer feedback at launch was less than stellar (that is being extremely generous) due to the game's "always-on" DRM requiring a user be connected to the Internet and logged in to EA's Origin at all times to play, even in single player mode. The load on EA's Origin servers meant most players that put down $60 to download the game were unable to even log in or try their new game for a day or two.

Due to the backlash, EA announced on March 9th that they would be offering a free game to all buyers of the game, downloadable via the Origin digital distribution store.

Today, those games are available. Reads the full release:

Our SimCity Mayors are incredibly important to the team at Maxis. We sincerely apologize for the difficulties at launch and hope to make it up to you with a free PC game download from Origin.

Starting today, every player that has activated their copy of SimCity will receive an email that will give directions on how to redeem this offer, and you can also find more information on our FAQ. We'll be opening up the redemption portal country-by-country so some of you may see it a little sooner than others. The portal will be live worldwide for everyone to select their game by March 22. We don't want any of you to miss out on your free game, so please note that you must register your copy of SimCity before March 25, 2013 at 11:59 PM PDT and you must claim your free game by March 30, 2013 at 11:59PM PDT.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Nvidia: Being part of PlayStation 4 was not worth cost

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Mar 2013 1:18

Nvidia: Being part of PlayStation 4 was not worth cost Nvidia's Senior VP of content and technology Tony Tamasi has said this week that the company skipped involvement with the PlayStation 4 because it was not worth the cost.

The upcoming console has a custom APU built by Sony and AMD, and the Wii U has a similar chip as does the Microsoft Xbox 8.

"I'm sure there was a negotiation that went on, and we came to the conclusion that we didn't want to do the business at the price those guys were willing to pay," Tamasi added. "Having been through the original Xbox and PS3, we understand the economics of [console development] and the tradeoffs."

With the original Xbox, Nvidia built the 233 MHz "NV2A" application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) and the company also co-developed PlayStation 3's RSX "Reality Synthesizer" GPU (550 MHz).

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Wii U sales continue disappointment in February as does industry

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2013 10:20

Wii U sales continue disappointment in February as does industry The NPD Group has released their video game industry figures for February, with the overall downtrend not abating.

Hardware, software and accessory sales were down 25 percent year-over-year, with hardware seeing the biggest decline at 36 percent.

Wii U sales were disappointing, (and that's being generous), at 74,000, which was actually a 40 percent boost from January. The number is shockingly low for the console which is just four months old.

The full figures (via Sutra):

Video game hardware: $244.2M (-36%)
Video game software (console, handheld): $352M (-36%)
Video game software (console, handheld, and PC): $369.9M (-27%)
Video game accessories: $213.9M (-3%)
Total video game sales: $810M (-25%)


The industry is eagerly awaiting the launch of the PlayStation 4 in November, which should lead to a significant boost in hardware and accessories.





AfterDawn: News

'Xbox Addiction' leads to beating by sex deprived girlfriend

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2013 9:16

'Xbox Addiction' leads to beating by sex deprived girlfriend A sex deprived girlfriend was arrested this week for assaulting her boyfriend in the middle of a supermarket.

Heather Hayes walked into the supermarket, nude from the waist down and assaulted her boyfriend claiming that he would not have sex with her due to being addicted to his Xbox 360.

Hayes says her boyfriend had been playing his console for days with friends and refused to have sex with her.

The man, Eric Zuber, had run to the supermarket to call the police after Hayes bit him and grabbed him by the testicles, say authorities.

Hayes has been charged with indecent exposure, simple assault, open lewdness, and harassment.





AfterDawn: News

R.I.P. MSN Messenger

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2013 8:23

R.I.P. MSN Messenger Microsoft has laid its Messenger program to rest, after almost 14 years of service.

Last year, the software giant announced that it would be retiring MSN/Windows Live Messenger, replacing it with massively popular video chat and instant messaging platform Skype.

Today was the last day to migrate your account over to Skype.

Messenger launched in 1999, and was once very popular for instant messaging, just like AOL's AIM was. The service is generally credited with growing the popularity of emoticons.

MSN had lost popularity in recent years thanks to the rise of Google Talk, BlackBerry Messenger and Apple Messenger.





AfterDawn: News

Facebook to add hashtag functions to posts

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2013 7:12

Facebook to add hashtag functions to posts According to multiple sources, Facebook will soon be adding hashtag functionality to the social network.

The hashtags will be a complement to the current ability to tag people, places and company/other pages.

Twitter has famously made the hashtag a household term since 2006, but Facebook will likely use the service to attract premium advertising and to improve its Graph Search functions.

Facebook declined to comment.





AfterDawn: News

Samsung: High-end Tizen phone coming late summer

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Mar 2013 6:52

Samsung: High-end Tizen phone coming late summer Samsung Electronics has confirmed its plans to release a high-end Tizen smartphone this year, either in late August or early September.

Tizen is the open-source Linux-based operating system backed by Intel, and Samsung's effort to not have all their eggs in the Android basket.

"The Tizen phone will be out in August or September, and this will be in the high-end category," said Lee Young Hee, executive vice president of Samsung's mobile business. "The device will be the best product equipped with the best specifications."

This is good news for potential buyers, as there had been worries that Samsung may try to attack the budget-conscious market instead, and offer low-end phones.

The new phone will be the third of the company's premium devices for 2013, following yesterday's Galaxy S4 launch and the upcoming Galaxy Note 3.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is official with 5-inch 1080p display, 13MP camera, Cat 3 LTE, eye-tracking features

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Mar 2013 10:01

The Samsung Galaxy S4 is official with 5-inch 1080p display, 13MP camera, Cat 3 LTE, eye-tracking features Samsung unveiled its highly-anticipated flagship, the Galaxy S4, during a long and extremely strange event in NYC tonight.

While there was little announced that had not already been leaked in the past few weeks, the company's latest includes a number of very innovate new features including eye tracking.

From a design standpoint, the phone looks almost identical to the Galaxy S III, except with a larger screen.

As expected, the phone has a 5-inch 1080p super AMOLED display with 441ppi. The screen is also protected by Corning's latest Gorilla Glass 3 and can be used with gloves thanks to "mitten tech." Under the hood the phone is powered by a Samsung Exynos 5 (international) or Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Pro (North America), has 2GB RAM, 16-64GB of internal storage, a microSD slot, a removable 2600 mAh battery, 100 Mbps Cat 3 LTE, Bluetooth 4.0 and 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The device also has an IR blaster, turning it into a full remote control. The device is a thin 7.9mm.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

CBS brings full episode streaming to iOS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Mar 2013 9:24

CBS brings full episode streaming to iOS CBS has unveiled a new app for iOS devices giving iPhone and iPad owners streaming access to full episodes of their favorite shows including NCIS, CSI, and How I Met Your Mother.

The app will allow for streaming of daytime and late-night shows within 24 hours of the original broadcast date.

Primetime programming will be available 8 days after broadcast.

The app will integrate into the existing CBS Connect App, allow iOS owners to user their devices as second screens, including integrated social feeds and content synced to the shows. You must have iOS 5.0 or newer.

CBS also noted that apps for Windows Phone 8 and Android were in the works and will be available later this year.

"We have been methodically and strategically finding new ways to satiate the appetite for our content on new platforms, while tapping into the tremendous revenue provided by doing so," said CEO Leslie Moonves. "Our announcement today achieves both of these objectives, while protecting our very healthy current ecosystem. In addition, by making our shows available on all the leading mobile devices out there, we are confident we will bring a whole new set of viewers to the CBS Television Network and build upon our standing as the #1 network in the business."





AfterDawn: News

Rovio's 'The Croods' now available on iOS, Android

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Mar 2013 8:50

Rovio's 'The Croods' now available on iOS, Android Rovio, the company behind the blockbuster 'Angry Birds' franchise, has announced the launch of their new "Croods" game based on the movie by DreamWorks Animation.

The movie goes into wide release on the 22nd.

Available for iOS and Android, the game comes with an exclusive short animated clip.

The game will feature the Croods "breaking out of the Stone Age with the use of a new r-evolutionary tool: the IDEA!" You control the Croods as they hunt and gather food and discover new beasts along their travels.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix: Expect 4k streaming within two years

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Mar 2013 8:34

Netflix: Expect 4k streaming within two years Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt has said today that he expects the company to offer 4K streaming within two years.

The company is committed to the standard, despite its large bandwidth needs.

Hunt says streaming will be the first arena for 4K, rather than in disc form: "That's because of the challenges involved in upgrading broadcast technologies and the fact that it isn't anticipated within the Blu-ray disc standard. Clearly, we have much work to do with the compression and decode capability, but we expect to be delivering 4K within a year or two with at least some movies."

The exec also notes that House of Cards, the company's original show starring Kevin Spacey, is filmed in 4K.





AfterDawn: News

Catch the Samsung Galaxy S IV launch here, live

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Mar 2013 7:24

Catch the Samsung Galaxy S IV launch here, live We will have a round-up after the show, but for now catch the livestream here:





AfterDawn: News

Bloomberg: Only 1.5 million Microsoft Surface tablets sold

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Mar 2013 7:19

Bloomberg: Only 1.5 million Microsoft Surface tablets sold According to a new Bloomberg report, Microsoft's Surface tablets are falling short of sales predictions.

The company has sold 1.5 million Surface tablets since launch, with 400,000 being the new Surface Pros with a full version of Windows 8 but a heftier price tag.

Microsoft had ordered 3 million Surface RT, say the sources, meaning there is plenty of inventory still out there.

By comparison, the global tablet market reached 128.3 million units shipped in 2012, with Apple accounting for just over 50 percent of those.

Despite the tablets being generally well accepted, the company has been hampered by consumer confusion, especially over the two different types of Windows. Windows RT, found on the $500 Surface RT, can only run applications built specifically for its ARM architecture. The $900 Surface Pro runs on an Intel chip so it can use all legacy Windows software.





AfterDawn: News

Amazon slashes price of Kindle Fire HD 8.9, expands shipping to Europe and Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 11:55

Amazon slashes price of Kindle Fire HD 8.9, expands shipping to Europe and Japan Amazon has announced today that its Kindle Fire HD 8.9 has been launched for Europe and Japan, while U.S. consumers will see a price cut.

Starting today, the 16GB Wi-Fi version will sell for $269, and the 4G model will start at $399. The Wi-Fi model had been selling for $299 and the 4G model had been selling for $499.

In Europe, the nations to get access to the tablet are the U.K., Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

"We're thrilled with customer reaction to Kindle Fire HD 8.9. Customers tell us they love our large-screen version of Kindle Fire HD for web browsing, email, gaming, watching TV shows, reading magazines, and more," said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle via the press release. "As we expand Kindle Fire HD 8.9 to Europe and Japan, we've been able to increase our production volumes and decrease our costs. Across our business at Amazon, whenever we are able to create cost efficiencies like this, we want to pass the savings along to our customers."

The Kindle Fire HD 8.9 boasts a 1920x1200, 254 ppi display and Dolby audio.





AfterDawn: News

Another developer applauds PlayStation 4's memory, speed

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 11:31

Another developer applauds PlayStation 4's memory, speed Earlier this week, 'Dishonored' lead designer Christophe Carrier said he was delighted Sony decided to add so much RAM to its upcoming PlayStation 4 console.

The console will have 8GB of GDDR5 RAM, 16 times the 512MB available to PS3 developers.

Today, another developer added similar thoughts. Braid creator Jonathan Blow says the console will compare to PCs due to its memory and speed and streamlined environment.

Blow's latest game, 'The Witness,' will be a PS4 exclusive: "For The Witness we're mostly interested in the base machine and how fast it is - the fact it has faster RAM than a PC, which really helps in shuttling graphics resources around."

"Since the PS4 is not running a heavyweight operating system like Windows that gets in the way of your graphics ... Rendering stuff through Windows has an impact on performance. Since a console is just about games, that doesn't happen, and the equivalent game will run faster. And if you can target to specific hardware you can make it run faster, too."





AfterDawn: News

Google killing off Google Reader, Internet goes up in arms

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 11:19

Google killing off Google Reader, Internet goes up in arms Google has announced today that it is killing off the popular Google Reader service, among other services as it completes its second round of "spring cleaning."

The company has been killing off small projects and "non-core" projects since 2011. Google Reader is an aggregator that can read Atom and RSS feeds.

Reads the post:

"Everyone has a device, sometimes multiple devices. It's been a long time since we have had this rate of change--it probably hasn't happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago. To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus--otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact. So today we're announcing some more closures, bringing the total to 70 features or services closed since our spring cleaning began in 2011.

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months."

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Android boss Andy Rubin steps down

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 11:04

Android boss Andy Rubin steps down Google CEO Larry Page has announced today that longtime Android boss Andy Rubin will be stepping down from the position.

Sundar Pichai, the head of Google's Chrome division, will take over Android and will be tasked with balancing any remaining overlaps between Chrome OS, Chrome and Android.

The CEO was quick to note that Rubin was stepping down of his own accord and that he had "exceeded even the crazy ambitious goals we dreamed of for Android and left a really strong leadership team in place." It's unclear what Rubin will do for Google now.

In an email, Rubin says he is "an entrepreneur at heart and now is the right time for me to start a new chapter within Google." The exec co-founded Android in 2003, 5 years before a working Android phone hit the market.

Android remains the most popular smartphone OS in the world, found on 70 percent of all devices. OEMs shipped 500 million Android phones last year, 100 percent growth from 2011.





AfterDawn: News

Apple shows fear, trash talks Android day before Galaxy S IV launch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 7:58

Apple shows fear, trash talks Android day before Galaxy S IV launch Less than 24 hours before the company unveils the most-anticipated phone of the year, Apple's senior vice president of worldwide marketing Phil Schiller went on the defensive, attacking Samsung and Android in general.

The exec called Android "fragmented" and says Apple's research shows that four times as many iPhone users have switched over from Android as have switched from iPhone to Android.

Continuing the tirade, he added "Android is often given as a free replacement for a feature phone and the experience isn't as good as an iPhone."

"When you take an Android device out of the box, you have to sign up to nine accounts with different vendors to get the experience iOS comes with. They don't work seamlessly together."


Apple and Samsung continue to battle in the smartphone market, with the companies combining for over 95 percent of all the profits in the industry. It is not often that Apple goes on the defensive in this manner, especially since it is giving extra media attention to Samsung for their big day. The company continues to have innovation issues, and its stock is 39 percent lower than it was last summer.





AfterDawn: News

Nokia Lumia 928 headed to Verizon next month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 11:57

Nokia Lumia 928 headed to Verizon next month Verizon will have their own souped-up version of the Nokia Lumia 920, starting next month.

Dubbed the Lumia 928, the handset will feature aluminum casing and a "xenon and LED flash combination for the 8-megapixel PureView camera," says Verge report.

Additionally, the 928 will be just 10.2mm at its thinnest point and lighter than the 920.

Furthermore, the device will have support for "simultaneous voice and LTE (SVLTE)," unlike the iPhone 5 for Verizon, which does not allow browsing while making a voice call.

All other specs remain the same, a 4.5-inch IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen with 768 x 1280 resolution, a dual-core 1.5 GHz Krait processor, 1GB RAM and 32GB internal storage.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Amazon Prime reaches 10 million customers, Prime members spend much more

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 11:39

Amazon Prime reaches 10 million customers, Prime members spend much more While Amazon has never disclosed how many shoppers have signed up for their Prime program, Morningstar is reporting that the figure has just surpassed 10 million.

Amazon Prime costs $79 per year (or half if you are a student or new mother) and offers free two-day shipping, $3.99 overnight shipping and access to Amazon's streaming video catalog.

More importantly for the e-tailer, the report suggests that Prime now accounts for 30 percent of Amazon's entire operating income, making the club wildly profitable.

Amazon has an active customer base of about 180 million, but Prime members accounted for 9 percent of all purchases, a massive imbalance. The report says Prime members spend $1,224 a year versus $505 for non-Prime users.

In the report, Morningstar says that Amazon made about $78 per Prime member in 2012, after taking out the cost of expedited shipping and the streaming video licensing. Since Amazon breaks even on its shipping and other costs through purchases customers make, the subscription fee itself is completely profit to them.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix users can now link their accounts to Facebook

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 11:17

Netflix users can now link their accounts to Facebook Netflix proudly announced this morning that users can now link their accounts to social networking behemoth Facebook.

Dubbed "Netflix Social," the partnership was a longtime coming, and came into being after Congress amended a video sharing law from the 1980s. International users have had similar features since last year.

Social will allow streaming members to see what their friends are watching, and will add "Friends' Favorites" and "Watched by your friends" rows to the current "Recently Watched" and "Top 10 for You" (and many other) rows.

Netflix says the service will be available to all U.S. Netflix streaming users by the end of the week, and Facebook posting will be completely optional.

"There are few better ways to find a movie or TV series you'll love than hearing about it from your friends," said Tom Willerer, vice president of product innovation at Netflix. "Facebook already makes it easy for our international members to connect with friends over TV shows and movies and we're thrilled to now bring this experience to our U.S. members."

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Google Fiber, Cablevision offer best Netflix streaming experience in U.S.

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 10:57

Google Fiber, Cablevision offer best Netflix streaming experience in U.S. Netflix has released the February figures for its ISP SPEED INDEX, which tracks which service providers offer the best Netflix streaming experience.

Says Netflix:

"More than 33 million global members view over 1 billion hours of TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix per month. We use the data associated with the streaming experience to compare ISPs and give you monthly insight into which ISPs deliver the best Netflix experience."

In the U.S., there were two clear winners, Google's ridiculously fast Fiber offerings (as of know only available in Kansas City) and Cablevision, the ISP of choice for a lot of New York and New Jersey.

Cox saw a large jump of five spaces, while the rest of the majors in the U.S. stayed about the same, with each offering similar speeds.







AfterDawn: News

Analyst Pachter: PS4 and Xbox 8 games will cost $70

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 10:45

Analyst Pachter: PS4 and Xbox 8 games will cost $70 Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter, known for his wild calls on the video game industry (many of which have been accurate), says this week that he expects the price of the games to go up with the next generation of consoles.

Today, gamers pay as high as $60 for new games, Pachter says PS4 and Xbox 8 games will retail for $70.

The analyst made his prediction during the week's South by Southwest (SXSW) event, in which he also claimed that Microsoft would win the next generation, just as it did this one.

Despite saying Microsoft would win, he also predicted that the PS4 would thrive during the generation and outperform the PS3. Nintendo will remain undisputed software king but hardware sales will nosedive compared to their previous hits like the DS and Wii.





AfterDawn: News

Leak shows off new Motorola phone with bigger Google integration

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Mar 2013 10:30

Leak shows off new Motorola phone with bigger Google integration Thanks to Tinh tế, we have a newly leaked Motorola smartphone that seems to have more Google integration than previous handsets.

The prototype is different in design than the company's Kevlar-coated devices we have seen in recent times, like the Razr and Maxx. In fact, the design leads many to believe it may be an upcoming Atrix.

While there are little other details known, the device has a 720p SAMOLED display, and the bezel is notably thinner although the phone itself is not as light or thin as previous Atrix.

Additionally, the device is running an updated version of Android, without the bloat and nonsense of Blur or any other third-party UI.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Rdio expands to seven new countries

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Mar 2013 1:33

Rdio expands to seven new countries Rdio continues its global rollout.

The streaming music service will now be available in seven new nations; Mexico, Ireland, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, and Austria.

With the expansion, Rdio is now available in 30 nations, mainly in North America and Europe.

"Rdio is the best product on the market for discovering music," says Drew Larner, CEO of Rdio, "and we will continue to improve that discovery experience by developing smarter tools to surface artists and songs our users love. By opening the social circle to seven new international markets, we're making Rdio an increasingly global way to play, discover, and share music."

The service is almost identical to Spotify and has 18 million tracks available. You can stream for free for the first 6 months (up to a certain amount of hours) and $5 per month gets you unlimited web streaming. $10 per month gets you unlimited web and mobile streaming.





AfterDawn: News

Sony slashes prices of 3G PS Vita in U.S. stores

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Mar 2013 1:11

Sony slashes prices of 3G PS Vita in U.S. stores According to Joystiq, Sony stores across the U.S. have slashed the price of the PS Vita 3G model.

The stores are selling the console for $199.97, a full $100 cheaper than its retail price.

3G bundles include the console, an 8GB memory card and also a voucher for a free PSN game, as long as you sign up for the actual data plan.

Employees confirmed the price drop is permanent as the model is being discontinued.

Online, the console is still selling for $249 with the bundle.





AfterDawn: News

LinkedIn buying popular newsreader app 'Pulse' for $50 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Mar 2013 12:56

LinkedIn buying popular newsreader app 'Pulse' for $50 million According to sources, professional social network LinkedIn will be buying popular newsreader app 'Pulse' for at least $50 million.

The purchase price could even be as high as $100 million, with Microsoft and Yahoo having thrown bids in, as well.

Pulse, developed by Alphonso Labs, is available for iOS, Android and on desktops.

The company says over 20 million people use Pulse to read their news, from 190 countries.





AfterDawn: News

New bill could allow tablet use from airplane takeoff to landing

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Mar 2013 12:44

New bill could allow tablet use from airplane takeoff to landing Senator Claire McCaskill has stated this month that she will write a new bill that will allow passengers to use their electronics during all times of their flight.

In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, the democrat cited her "concern" with the admin's "lack of direct engagement" on expanding the long-standing rules on electronics use during takeoff and landing.

The current set of rules, which bans passengers from using their phones, tablets, e-readers and other electronics below 10,000 feet is "preposterous," says McCaskill. The new rule would not apply to cellphone use, however, which would still be banned.

McCaskill first began discussions with Huerta in December and received a response in February that the FAA shared an "interest in taking a fresh look at these issues." The FAA is collecting comments from the aviation and technology industries and has also created the Aviation Rulemaking Committee with recommendations expected by the end of July. McCaskill does not think that it quick enough.

"I didn't think it said anything," McCaskill said of Huerta's response. "It just basically said, 'We're in a process and we're looking at the process.' So the next step in the process is calling the stakeholders in ourselves and beginning to try to pull together the right legislation."





AfterDawn: News

Mozilla: No Firefox mobile browser for iOS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Mar 2013 12:22

Mozilla: No Firefox mobile browser for iOS At this week's SXSW event, Mozilla's VP of Product Jay Sullivan says there will be no Firefox mobile browser for iOS coming.

The company does not agree with Apple's attitude towards third-party browsers.

For example, Apple's Safari uses the Nitro JavaScript engine while the company forces third-party browsers to use the less-efficient and slower UIWebView.

More importantly, Sullivan says, Apple places too many restrictions. These restrictions would not allow Mozilla to build the kind of browser that they want to, says Sullivan.





AfterDawn: News

Designer: Working with PS4's 8GB RAM is 'great'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Mar 2013 12:00

Designer: Working with PS4's 8GB RAM is 'great' 'Dishonored' lead designer Christophe Carrier says he is delighted Sony decided to add so much RAM to its upcoming PlayStation 4 console.

The console will have 8GB of RAM, 16 times the 512MB available to PS3 developers.

"We were PC gamers at the beginning. We love PC games, and we had to make games on consoles. But the main problem was memory. The processors are good, but the memory, for our games, is the most important. So it's great," added Carrier.

Additionally, the PS4 will use an AMD x86-based processor, just like the Wii U, and supposedly the Xbox 8, as well, which should make cross-platform streamlining easier.





AfterDawn: News

Is Microsoft preparing for a Surface phone?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 8:03

Is Microsoft preparing for a Surface phone? Thanks to a new SEC filing, it appears that Microsoft may be ready to change its stance on creating a Surface-branded reference phone for Windows Phone 8.

Nokia made the filing, which is important as the company remains the top Windows Phone partner for Microsoft. Reads the filing: "Microsoft may make strategic decisions or changes that may be detrimental to us. For example, in addition to the Surface tablet, Microsoft may broaden its strategy to sell other mobile devices under its own brand, including smartphones. This could lead Microsoft to focus more on their own devices and less on mobile devices of other manufacturers that operate on the Windows Phone platform, including Nokia."

While the rest of the filing is standard disclosures about risk, the same wording was not used last year.

Microsoft is rumored to be in the concept stage of such a phone, despite long saying it would only make its own hardware as a "Plan B" to formal OEM partners.

(Mock via Verge)





AfterDawn: News

Sir Howard Stringer retiring from Sony in June

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 7:13

Sir Howard Stringer retiring from Sony in June After years with the corporation, Sir Howard Stringer will retire from his position as chairman of the board of directors for Sony.

The move was widely expected as Stringer was replaced as CEO and president last year and as part of the agreement he stayed on the board for a transitional period of one year.

Stringer will retire in June. He was CEO of the company from 2005 to 2012.

While the company had many continuous years of losses during his term and loss of brand recognition, Stringer grew the company's film and TV businesses, which remain strongly profitable.

Stringer says he will use his retirement to pursue "personal and philanthropic interest to me, namely medicine and education."





AfterDawn: News

Netflix original programming costs at least $3.8 million per episode

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 6:59

Netflix original programming costs at least $3.8 million per episode Netflix has (kind of) confirmed that its original programming is quite expensive.

Creative Artists Agency agent Peter Micelli, speaking during a media event at UCLA, says the streaming company is creating shows for at least $3.8 million per episode, with some going well above.

Micelli: "The cheapest show is $3.8 million an episode ... 'House of Cards' started at $4.5 million and (executive producer David) Fincher took it way above that. The next series is 'Hemlock Grove' and they're doing that for about $4 million an episode ... 'Orange is the New Black' is just under $4 million as well. They're huge budgets shows, doing things in a huge way."

By contrast, average broadcast shows rarely go above $4 million per episode.





AfterDawn: News

Samsung: 'Windows 8 is no better than Vista'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 6:40

Samsung: 'Windows 8 is no better than Vista' According to Jun Dong-soo, Samsung memory chip division president, Windows 8 will not lead to the revival of the struggling global PC market.

"The global PC industry is steadily shrinking despite the launch of Windows 8. I think the Windows 8 system is no better than the previous Windows Vista platform," added the exec.

Samsung itself is cutting down production on PC memory chips in 2013, as the market remains volatile.

Jun was very harsh on Microsoft, blaming the company's new operating system and consumer's "underwhelming reception to Windows 8" as partial reasons for the stagnant sales of PCs. Of course, Jun also blamed tablets and smartphones, as well.

Microsoft, for its part, says Windows 8 sales remain at levels near Windows 7's during its first months of availability.





AfterDawn: News

Marvel makes unlimited subscription service available to iOS users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 6:27

Marvel makes unlimited subscription service available to iOS users Marvel has finally made its unlimited digital comics subscription available to iOS users.

The app will give access to 13,000 issues from the last 70 years for unlimited reading.

Prices range from $10 per month to a discounted $60 for 12 months. You can get a free trial but upgrading a full subscription will have to be done away from the app since Marvel is trying to avoid Apple's 30 percent cut of all in-app transactions.

Subscribers get full access via the app and also to the archive via their browsers. You can select up to six comics for offline reading.

{Pic via AI}





AfterDawn: News

No Chrome OS winning exploits found at Pwnium 3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 5:42

No Chrome OS winning exploits found at Pwnium 3 Google will leave Pwnium 3 this year with their wallets intact.

The Chrome OS operating system survived all attacks, with no winning exploits found. The search giant had been offering up to $3.14159 million in prize money.

Google did say they were still evaluating some hacks for potential partial credit.

For the event, Google was offering the following two reward levels, which were higher than past years as the company really focused on its operating system:

$110,000: browser or system level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.

$150,000: compromise with device persistence -- guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.

Partial credit was offered to those for incomplete or unreliable exploits.


Google made this statment (via Crunch) after the event: "Pwnium 3 has completed and we did not receive any winning entries. We are evaluating some work that may qualify as partial credit. Working with the security community is one of the best ways we know to keep our users safe, so we're grateful to the researchers who take the time to help us in these efforts."





AfterDawn: News

Google settling 'WiSpy' case with 30 states

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 5:27

Google settling 'WiSpy' case with 30 states Google will soon be settling with the attorneys general representing 30 American states over the accusation that its Street View cars collected data from unsecured Wi-Fi networks during their travels.

The search giant will pay $7 million to be distributed amongst the states.

A settlement will be a long time coming as the case was brought in 2010. The so called "WiSpy" case referred to data collected between 2007 and 2010.

At first, Google denied collecting any data before flipping and admitting they had collected by accident. Later in the case, they admitted that the system was built by a "rogue engineer" and they still had payload data.

Google has always said it did nothing with the data: "We work hard to get privacy right at Google. But in this case we didn't, which is why we quickly tightened up our systems to address the issue."





AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry will not sell $50 smartphones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 5:13

BlackBerry will not sell $50 smartphones BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins has said this weekend that while the company is creating less expensive devices to compete in the emerging markets, it will not challenge Asian rivals that are pricing phones as low as $50.

"Understand where you are playing and resist being talked into segments that you know will not serve your purpose and will not result in shareholder value," said the exec. "You will not see us getting into the 50-, 60-buck phone segment. This is not BlackBerry."

He added: "You will see new products being launched this year based on BlackBerry 10, all fully LTE-capable, the whole 10 yards that are more geared towards those price bands where people need to be."

For example, the new Z10 sells for $600 unsubsidized, a price far out of the range of the average consumer in India, Brazil, and other emerging markets.

However, the executive says that all supply to India has already been exhausted, showing that maybe high-end phones do have their place in the nation.





AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile USA making BlackBerry Z10 available to business users on Monday

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Mar 2013 3:30

T-Mobile USA making BlackBerry Z10 available to business users on Monday T-Mobile USA has announced that business customers will be able to purchase the BlackBerry Z10 smartphone starting tomorrow.

Delivery is expected to be three days if you order on Monday.

BlackBerry sells the device in 21 nations, but U.S. carriers require longer testing periods. AT&T is expected to make the device available to all consumers on March 22nd and Verizon broadly said "by the end of the month."

The company needs the Z10 to be a hit in the U.S., where they make 20 percent of their revenue. The company will have an uphill battle against Samsung and Apple, which control the lion's share of the U.S. market with their Android and iOS offerings.





AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry Z10 to reach AT&T on March 22nd

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 10:09

BlackBerry Z10 to reach AT&T on March 22nd According to sources, BlackBerry's new flagship, the Z10, will reach AT&T on March 22nd.

The screen will be available online and in stores around the U.S. on that day, say the sources.

North America has long been BlackBerry's biggest market, and the company makes 20 percent of its revenue from the U.S. alone. The Z10 is available in 21 nations, but U.S. carriers often have longer testing periods for new phones.

Rivals Verizon and T-Mobile USA have both said they expect to offer the device by the end of the month, as well.

Sprint announced earlier this month that the will not be offering the Z10, instead opting for the Q10, a lower-end model that includes a full physical keyboard akin to older BlackBerry devices.





AfterDawn: News

Study: Legal movie sales and rentals increased after Megaupload was shut down

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 10:00

Study: Legal movie sales and rentals increased after Megaupload was shut down According to a research survey posted earlier this week, legal movie sales increased after cyberlocker Megaupload was shuttered last year.

Wellesley College assistant professor of economics Brett Danaher and Carnegie Mellon University professor of information technology and marketing Michael D. Smith say the closure led to increased digital sales and rentals for two major movie studios in the U.S. and in 12 other countries.

"We conclude that shutting down Megaupload and Megavideo caused some customers to shift from cyberlocker-based piracy to purchasing or renting through legal digital channels," the researchers said (via WSJ).

Online revenue was 6-10 percent higher than it would have been had the sites not been closed, concluded the research. To complete the research, the researchers used data "provided by the two studios on digital transactions in the months following the January 2012 closing of Megaupload."

After the shut down, "weekly digital sales of movies from the two studios to grow by between 10,500 and 15,300 units from what would otherwise have been expected. Rentals grew between 13,700 and 24,000 units a week."





AfterDawn: News

EA's horrendous always-on DRM leads to Amazon temporarily stopping sales of new 'SimCity' game, users to get free game as compensation

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 7:15

EA's horrendous always-on DRM leads to Amazon temporarily stopping sales of new 'SimCity' game, users to get free game as compensation Earlier this week, EA released its newly updated 'SimCity' title to critical acclaim.

However, the consumer feedback has been less than stellar (that is being extremely generous) due to the game's "always-on" DRM requiring a user be connected to the Internet and logged in to EA's Origin at all times to play, even in single player mode.

The load on EA's Origin servers has meant most players that put down $60 to download the game have been unable to even log in or try their new game.

On Amazon, the game has as 1.2/5 stars, with 1500 of the 1750 ratings coming in at 1 star. In fact, the game has been rated so low that Amazon even temporarily halted sales of the game until today. The page still has this warning: "Many customers are having issues connecting to the "SimCity" servers. EA is actively working to resolve these issues, but at this time we do not know when the issue will be fixed. Please visit https://help.ea.com/en/simcity/simcity for more information."

As compensation, EA will offer all buyers a free title. On March 18, all customers with activated copies will receive details via email on how to redeem their free EA game, which will be downloadable through the Origins digital store.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

HBO to make all of its shows available internationally within week of U.S. broadcast

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 11:16

HBO to make all of its shows available internationally within week of U.S. broadcast HBO has confirmed that it will make all episodes of its original shows available to international markets within one week of its U.S. broadcast.

Previously, the company's shows, including the most pirated show of 2012, Game of Thrones, would take weeks if not months to reach international audiences. This of course led to piracy, as fans of the shows could watch their favorite programs within hours of its broadcast instead of waiting.

If your market has HBO Go streaming, the shows will be available via that platform within a week, as well.

It is unclear what had changed in HBO's internal technical architecture that allows for the quicker availability, and HBO declined to specify.

Recently, the company announced that HBO was giving all of its international markets the option to simultaneously air Game of Thrones with its U.S. launch.





AfterDawn: News

Spotify browser Web player beta now available to UK users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 10:15

Spotify browser Web player beta now available to UK users Spotify has made its browser-based beta Web player available to users in the UK a few months before its full launch.

The Web-player will compliment your existing desktop application, or can replace it, says the company.

"We're letting a number of users in the UK test out a beta version of our basic web player, which we're gearing up to release later this year," says the company. The streaming service had been testing a closed beta for a couple of months.

If you are in the UK, open your favorite browser, head to play.spotify.com and re-enter your login credentials.

Right now, the Web player is pretty bare, but expect it to be robust in the near future.





AfterDawn: News

Google to lay off 10 percent more Motorola Mobility employees

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 10:07

Google to lay off 10 percent more Motorola Mobility employees Google has confirmed it will be laying off another 10 percent of Motorola Mobility's employees, following the 4000 it laid off last year as part of a major restructuring plan.

The new count will be 1200 employees.

Adds a Google spokesperson: "These cuts are a continuation of the reductions we announced last summer. It's obviously very hard for the employees concerned, and we are committed to helping them through this difficult transition."

The new layoffs will affect workers in the U.S., China and India. Motorola Mobility had 11,113 employees as of the end of last year.

It has long been assumed that Google purchased Motorola, at a hefty price tag of $12.5 billion, for only two reasons. The first reason was the company's patent trove, which undoubtedly has and will help with any future battles with Apple and others in the space. The second was Google's fear of Samsung, which is the most popular Android phone maker, and whose devices are now almost synonymous with the operating system itself. If Samsung were to gain even more share, Google will likely integrate Motorola into its Android division and use it for hardware purposes, with the Google branding known to Nexus phone and tablet owners.





AfterDawn: News

China lifts its long standing ban on IMDB

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 9:52

China lifts its long standing ban on IMDB Movie fans in China were delighted this week when the state censors unblocked IMDB, the world's largest movie and actor database.

The site had been blocked from access in the nation since 2010.

Both the English and Chinese language versions were unblocked, although it is unclear if the move is part of a larger media relaxation in China. All media is tightly-controlled by the government, part of the so-called "Great Firewall."

Originally, IMDB was blocked due to its promotion on the homepage of a documentary on Tibet. China blocks all notions of Tibet.

(Image via Tweak)





AfterDawn: News

Original 'Angry Birds' now free for iOS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 9:43

Original 'Angry Birds' now free for iOS Rovio, in an effort to boost sales of the aging game, has made the original Angry Birds free for iOS users, including iPad owners.

Additionally, the games are App of the Week in the App Store, which usually leads to a huge increase in downloads.

This marks the first time the games have ever been free for iOS, despite being free on rival operating systems (with ads) such as Android. The iPhone version used to cost $0.99 and the HD iPad version cost $2.99.

Of course, the games remain "freemium," meaning you can purchase power-ups and other bonuses from within the game itself.





AfterDawn: News

Ivy Bridge E processor suite delayed

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 9:21

Ivy Bridge E processor suite delayed Although unconfirmed by Intel, it appears that the upcoming high-end Ivy Bridge E chip has been delayed.

The chip, which is set to replace the company's powerful Core i7 3970X, had been slated for a Q3 release.

According to sources, there was no real reason behind the delay except that Intel's server team did not want to launch the chip in the relatively slow Q3.

The Core i7 3970X launched in November, 2011, and is based on Sandy Bridge.

Intel has priced the new processor at $999 MSRP.

(Pictured is old roadmap)





AfterDawn: News

Digitimes: Samsung and Apple to move to wireless charging this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 9:13

Digitimes: Samsung and Apple to move to wireless charging this year According to Digitimes, Apple and Samsung will add wireless charging capabilities to their new 2013 models.

Other OEMs, including LG, Nokia, Motorola and HTC have moved towards the Qi standard in the past year, although sales of the wireless charging accessories have been lackluster.

For its part, Samsung is widely expected to add Qi support for the Galaxy S IV and the Galaxy Note III although it is unclear if it will be built-in or require a special back cover or case.

Apple is said to be considering similar, although Apple often lags on a technology until it is more widely adopted or they believe the consumer is ready for it.





AfterDawn: News

Roku introduces third-generation set-top boxes

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 8:58

Roku introduces third-generation set-top boxes Roku has introduced their third-generation set-top box this week, aptly named the Roku 3.

The new set-top has an enhanced remote that includes "private listening" and a headphone jack (with headphones) and a more powerful processor under the hood.

Additionally, the company has refreshed the user interface which promises to make browsing and navigation "more fluid." The updated UI will also be rolled out to all existing second-generation Roku devices over the current coming weeks.

"Roku 3 introduces thoughtful new features that customers will love," added founder and CEO Anthony Wood via the press release. "The intuitive new interface makes it easy to find movies and shows quickly while the private listening mode is perfect for late-night streamers who don't want to wake up the family."

Outside of the private listening, the remote will also have motion control, allowing for easier playing of certain games, including Angry Birds Space.

Just like its current high-end boxes, the Roku 3 has USB ports, a microSD card slot, dual-band Wireless N, an ethernet port and 1080p support.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Five major studios partner with DCDC for digital movie delivery

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 8:50

Five major studios partner with DCDC for digital movie delivery Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition (DCDC) has announced agreements with Lionsgate, Universal, Disney, Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures with each receiving "theatrical digital-delivery services" in North America.

DCDC itself is a coalition of AMC Theatres, Regal Entertainment Group, Cinemark Theatres, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. The group "has created a satellite and terrestrial digital-distribution network capable of delivering feature, promotional, preshow and live digital-cinema content to theaters," says THR.

The group's ultimate goal is to move North America completely to digital cinema, reducing distribution costs significantly for the theaters and studios. Today, studios still often ship film prints or even hard drives.

"Our goal is to drive the cost of distribution as low as we can get it," DCDC spokesman Randolph Blotky says. "We'd like to drive it to zero over the course of time."

DCDC service is expected to begin mid-summer with theater appliances that are "one-port access to thousands of screens, for both movies and alternative content, from all content providers."





AfterDawn: News

Microsoft temporarily suspends Windows Phone 7.8 updates

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 8:37

Microsoft temporarily suspends Windows Phone 7.8 updates Microsoft has confirmed today that they have temporarily stopped pushing Windows Phone 7.8 updates.

The software giant is working on a fix for multiple software glitches with the release and it is unclear how long the suspension will be in place.

Phones such as the Nokia Lumia 800, Lumia 900 and Lumia 610 are all affected, adds Nokia.

Nokia says the glitches are minor and the update rollout should resume quickly.

Windows Phone 7.8 is a bridge between the old WP 7.5 OS and the newer WP 8, which requires better hardware specs than seen on the aged phones. 7.8 takes some of the new features of WP 8 such as resizable live tiles, but leaves out quite a few others.





AfterDawn: News

Android 4.x finally surpasses Gingerbread in OS share

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Mar 2013 8:25

Android 4.x finally surpasses Gingerbread in OS share It has taken quite some time, but Android 4.x has finally surpassed Google's ancient Android 2.3 Gingerbread in OS share.

Android 4.0.x is on 28.6 percent of devices, Android 4.1.x is on 14.9 percent of devices, and the more recent Android 4.2 remains relatively unloved (outside of Nexus devices) on 1.6 percent of devices. Altogether the operating systems account for a 45.1 percent share, beating out Gingerbread which remains on 44.1 percent.

Somewhat shockingly, operating systems released before Gingerbread still account for 9.6 percent share, despite their firmware being released as far back as 2009.

As can be implied, fragmentation remains a large problem for Android, as carriers often take extended periods to send updates since they require testing and (usually) carrier-based bloatware to be added.

Check the figures here: Google Devs





AfterDawn: News

Google Play celebrating first anniversary with special offerings

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Mar 2013 11:17

Google Play celebrating first anniversary with special offerings Exactly one year ago, Google merged its Android Market with a few of its other services to create the Google Play Store.

The Store offers hardware, ebooks, music, videos and of course apps and games.

In order to celebrate the birthday right, Google is offering discounts on books, video rentals and music, with a few apps and games highlighted, as well.

The anniversary part will extend to the rest of the week.

Check the deals here, daily: Google Play Promotion





AfterDawn: News

Apple held talks with Beats Audio over 'Daisy' streaming music service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Mar 2013 10:54

Apple held talks with Beats Audio over 'Daisy' streaming music service Apple allegedly had talks with Beats Audio on a potential partnership in an upcoming music streaming service.

Beats, which was started by music moguls Jimmy Iovine and Dr. Dre, have been planning a streaming service (a la Spotify) for some time, and the duo have some clout in the industry.

According to the reports, Apple CEO Tim Cook and Internet products chief Eddy Cue were in the meeting with Iovine, and Cook expressed interest in Beat's business model for the streaming service.

Dubbed Project Daisy, the streaming service recently secured $60 million in funding from a group of investors including Warner Music Group head Len Blavatnik. The service is expected to launch in the Q3 this year. The service will "bring an emotional connection back to the act of music discovery," says Beats.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft hit with $730 million fine in EU over default browser choice screen

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Mar 2013 10:35

Microsoft hit with $730 million fine in EU over default browser choice screen The European Commission has once again fined software giant Microsoft over failing to comply with its commitment to give users a chance to choose their default browser when purchasing a new PC.

Microsoft has been hit with the 561 million euro ($730 million) fine for what it has called a "technical error" within its Windows 7 OS.

In 2009, the company agreed to present a web browser choice screen to all users in the European Economic Area (EEA) in order to settle a competition investigation, in which the European Commission outlined its preliminary view that the company abused its dominant position in the market for client PC operating systems through the tying of Internet Explorer to Windows.

The Browser Choice screen is an unbiased browser selection program that allowed a user to install an alternative web browser, or stick with Internet Explorer as a default. However, Microsoft failed to roll out the browser choice screen with its Windows 7 Service Pack 1, which was released in February 2011, meaning millions of users were not given the choice to move away from Internet Explorer. As expected, the European Commission was not happy.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Ubisoft: Wii U needs a price cut

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Mar 2013 10:01

Ubisoft: Wii U needs a price cut Despite a strong holiday season, Wii U sales have fallen off considerably in the last couple of months.

The drop in sales led Nintendo to slash their fiscal year projections for the console, and President Satoru Iwata actually had to come out with a statement stating that the console would not be getting a price cut in the near future.

This week, Alain Corre, Ubisoft's executive director for EMEA territories, says the company may need a price cut to stay relevant, especially ahead of this fall's PS4 launch.

Ubisoft is one of the console's biggest game publishers, and they recently announced that expected blockbusters Watch Dogs and Assassin's Creed 4: Black Flag will both be available for Wii U this year. A price cut would help move consoles, and help Ubi's bottom line with (most likely) stronger software sales.

"We always want the hardware to be at a low price because we want as many fans as possible to afford to buy our games, so that's for sure. We think that Wii U will find its public at some point. Some were expecting sales to be quicker but we are optimistic. I think Nintendo has said that the Wii U sales in general were below expectations originally and the software tie-in ratio is also stable, so I think that when less machines sell, less games sell," says Corre.





AfterDawn: News

IDC: PC market to decline again in 2013

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 11:43

IDC: PC market to decline again in 2013 According to the latest IDC report, the global PC market will decline for the second straight year.

While it forecasted slight growth for 2013 last year, the research firm was forced to reverse its original prediction due to a number of factors including slowing growth in emerging markets.

For 2013, the firm expects PC shipments to decline by 1.3 percent to 345.8 million units. Last year the market contracted by 3.7 percent. Desktops will be the biggest losers, seeing a 4.2 percent decline for the year. IDC predicts desktop sales will continue to fall at least until 2017.

Loren Loverde, VP of IDC's Worldwide PC Trackers group, says customers have not been wowed by new models, and competition from tablets and high-end smartphones continue to crush demand.

"Growth in emerging regions has slowed considerably, and we continue to see constrained PC demand as buyers favor other devices for their mobility and convenience features," says Loverde.

Additionally, the firm has somewhat soured on Windows 8 and its potential to boost the market.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Google to launch YouTube music streaming service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 11:27

Google to launch YouTube music streaming service According to Fortune, Google will launch a subscription streaming music service later this year.

The service will be backed by the YouTube brand, and will offer free unlimited streaming for basic users and more advanced features for subscribers.

Most likely this will work just like Spotify, which is free for streaming, with ads, and costs $5 per month for unlimited without ads and $10 for unlimited without ads and mobile access.

So far, according to the sources, Warner Music has signed on for the new venture and that label is usually the hardest to negotiate with. YouTube is a powerhouse, and its top videos are music, with many new videos from top artists topping 200 million views in a couple of months. A recent report claimed that 64 percent of teenagers preferred YouTube for music listening over any other service.

Google will be entering a crowded market, which includes Spotify, Soundcloud, Rdio and to a lesser extent, Pandora.





AfterDawn: News

Google: The FBI wants some of your information without a warrant

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 10:47

Google: The FBI wants some of your information without a warrant Google has revealed today how many National Security Letters it received during the year.

The NSLs allow the FBI to demand account information without a judge's warrant.

Usually, the FBI sends such letters to credit companies, banks, ISPs and other companies in an effort to learn more about American's finances and private communications. The agency will normally demand phone numbers, email addresses, and websites visited from companies like Google, citing that the information is relevant to an ongoing investigation. Google notes (via Wired) that the FBI, in their demands, "may obtain 'the name, address, length of service, and local and long distance toll billing records' of a subscriber to a wire or electronic communications service. The FBI can't use NSLs to obtain anything else from Google, such as Gmail content, search queries, YouTube videos or user IP addresses."

Thanks to a new deal with the Obama administration, Google can reveal a "range" of NSL letters it has received. From 2009 until 2012, the company wrote that it received "0-999" National Security Letters.

Overall, in 2011, the FBI issued 16,511 NSLs related to 7201 different people.





AfterDawn: News

Japanese carrier Willcom shows off world's smallest phone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 10:33

Japanese carrier Willcom shows off world's smallest phone The small Japanese carrier Willcom has unveiled the world's "smallest and lightest phone."

Dubbed the Phone Strap 2 WX06A, the device weighs in at just 1.1 ounces and measures a tiny 32 x 70 x 10.7mm.

Besides having the title of smallest and lighest, the phone does not offer too much else. The Phone Strap 2 has a 1-inch display and two hours of talktime.

The point of the device is to "strap it" onto a tablet for calling, email, and texting capabilities.

As can be expected, the device will be released in Japan only, and only 12,000 will be manufactured.







AfterDawn: News

BBC iPlayer headed to Windows Phone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 8:51

BBC iPlayer headed to Windows Phone The BBC has announced that it will be making its extremely popular iPlayer streaming VOD service available to Windows Phone users.

Before today, the service had been available to Android, iOS and BlackBerry users.

Says the company: "Today I can let you know that we have signed a deal with Microsoft that will enable us to bring BBC iPlayer to the Windows phone platform.

We will be releasing a shortcut to BBC iPlayer in the near future which will be available in the Windows Phone Store, enabling the BBC iPlayer website to work on Windows Phone 7.5 and 8 via a live tile.

This shortcut will wrap the BBC iPlayer mobile website together with our media player. Hopefully these and other developments will help to expand our online reach further. Our latest figures show that over 650 different device types can access BBC iPlayer."

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Disney to start new VOD 3D service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 8:39

Disney to start new VOD 3D service Disney has agreed to a new content licensing agreement with 3D company Sensio Technology for an upcoming VOD TV service.

The new service is called 3DGO! and will go live later this month.

At launch, the service will be limited to 22 Vizio TV models, all of which have 3D and Internet capabilities.

Over 20 movies from the studio will be available, including newer films like "Brave" and "Frankenweenie."

For the time being, it would seem the service will be very niche, as 3D set sales remain lackluster.

"We are very excited with today's announcement with The Walt Disney Studios which heralds a new era for 3D movie watching at home," said Nicholas Routhier, SENSIO president and CEO. "The Disney 3D library is without contest one of the best out there and we are thrilled to add an incredible selection of titles from a true legendary studio and 3D pioneer. From day one, we've set out to bring the best of 3D entertainment to our clients and today's announcement is the concrete proof of the seriousness of our commitment. We are more determined than ever to realize our promise to address the lack of 3D content to the home and to support our SENSIO Hi-Fi 3D customers with the best library of 3D content in the market. We are really looking forward to the next few months, as more content providers will join us in this effort to give consumers instant and easy access to the largest variety of high-quality 3D content."





AfterDawn: News

Facebook expands free VoIP for Android, but only in Canada for now

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 12:39

Facebook expands free VoIP for Android, but only in Canada for now Last month, Facebook updated its iOS app, adding free VoIP calling for users in the U.S. and Canada.

Today, the company has expanded that support to its Messenger app for Android. However, the service only works in Canada for the time being, with a U.S. release coming in two weeks.

The social networking giant had been testing the feature through its Messenger iOS app since early January, and testing for Android since early February.

Accessing the free calling is simple enough. Tapping a friend's name in the chat menu, and then heading to "info" will show off a new option to make a free call.

For the call to work, both users must have the latest version of Facebook.

The calls work via your existing data plan.





AfterDawn: News

Asus Transformer Pad first non-Nexus device to get Android 4.2

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 12:33

Asus Transformer Pad first non-Nexus device to get Android 4.2 Asus has announced that its Transformer Pad TF300 is getting the Android 4.2 update this week.

The device will be the first non-Nexus tablet to receive the software.

U.S. users will be the first to get the update, with other regions getting the OTA update later this month.

It is unclear which build Pad owners will get, but it is very unlikely that it will be the brand new 4.2.2.

Asus cited its "very close" relationship with Google as the reason for being first with the operating system. Despite this boast, other new Asus devices, like the Transformer Pad Infinity, MeMO Pad Smart, and MeMO Pad will get the update in May.





AfterDawn: News

Bloomberg: Apple iWatch coming before end of 2013

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 12:26

Bloomberg: Apple iWatch coming before end of 2013 According to Bloomberg, the oft-rumored Apple iWatch could debut before the end of 2013, and be more profitable than any HDTV the company could be developing.

If accurate, the sources say the device would be able to "make calls, check caller ID, relay map coordinates and carry a built-in pedometer and health monitoring sensors." The watch will likely have a deal with fitness partner Nike, at launch.

While flexible display tech is still at least two to three years away, Apple may save that for future generations of the device, say the sources.

Previous reports stated that Apple has up to 100 engineers working on the device, which will have a massive launch when it actually debuts, whenever that may be.

Rival Samsung is also rumored to be working on a Galaxy watch, for launch this year.





AfterDawn: News

Samsung's patent infringement suit damages to Apple cut significantly by judge

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Mar 2013 12:09

Samsung's patent infringement suit damages to Apple cut significantly by judge Federal Judge Lucy Koh ruled late last week that Samsung may have been unfairly hit in the patent infringement case against Apple, slashing the damages in the case to $599 million from the previous $1.05 billion.

Additionally, there will be a new trial for the cut balance, which could mean that Apple will walk away with part of the damages.

Koh stated that "the Court identified an impermissible legal theory on which the jury based its award," and was therefore reducing the award.

The judge found that the jury miscalculated the damages, including the time period Apple should be awarded damages for.

While the verdict still stands on all the patent infringement, it is highly unlikely that Apple will get anywhere near the original $450 million awarded. The jury awarded damages for almost 15 months extra than they should have, for starters.





AfterDawn: News

Xbox Live gets its own exclusive indie film

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Mar 2013 11:50

Xbox Live gets its own exclusive indie film Indie film makers Adam Hamdy and Shaun Magher are bringing their film "Pulp" exclusively to Xbox Live.

The move is a first for the network, which offers tons of movies, music and games.

Hamdy says the move made sense due to the cost of distribution: "For a film like 'Pulp,' that doesn't have bankable stars with a track record, it's a challenge for any distributor to take that gamble."

Speaking of Xbox Live, he says, "It's a great fit. The film is really well aligned with our audience."

The movie will set you back 1,420 points for the HD version and 1,180 for the SD option, an expensive price point for an indie film.

Microsoft says it plans to distribute more exclusives this way into the future.





AfterDawn: News

Samsung teases Galaxy S IV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Mar 2013 11:40

Samsung teases Galaxy S IV Samsung has posted a quick teaser trailer for the upcoming Galaxy S IV flagship device.

In the clip, a boy is the "secret messenger" for the Samsung Unpacked 2013 event, and he is given a secret package, the S IV.

The device will be launched on March 14th during the Unpacked event in New York City.

Samsung's latest is expected to include a 5-inch 1080p screen, a top of the line GPU and new software which could include eye-tracking capabilities.

Check the trailer here:





AfterDawn: News

Windows 8 continues slow growth in global operating system market share

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Mar 2013 11:32

Windows 8 continues slow growth in global operating system market share According to the most recent NetMarketShare figures, Windows XP remains relevant in the global market share in the operating system world.

Window 7 remained the leader, at 44.55 percent, followed closely by the ancient Windows XP at 38.99 percent.

Microsoft is killing support for Windows XP SP3 in April, 2014, meaning there will be no more tech support, no more hotfixes and no more security updates. Effectively, after 13 years, Microsoft is killing off the operating system. That should eventually lead to an exodus towards Windows 7 and Windows 8, but for now the OS remains incredibly relevant despite being outdated.

Windows 8 is now up to 2.67 percent share, growing just half a percentage point from January. Windows Vista remains with a 5.17 percent share, and Apple's Mac OS X 10.8 has 2.61 percent share, with older Mac operating systems amounting to another 4 percent.





AfterDawn: News

Seagate ceasing production of 7200RPM mobile hard drives

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Mar 2013 8:04

Seagate ceasing production of 7200RPM mobile hard drives Seagate has announced today that it will cease production of 7200RPM mobile hard drives later this year.

The company will continue to offer slower 5400RPM drives for "value" notebooks and will also continue creating its solid-state hybrid drives (SSHDs).

"We are going stop building our notebook 7200rpm hard disk drives at the end of 2013," added David Burks, director of marketing and product management at Seagate Technology.

Although the company is ceasing production, the company says there will be sufficient inventory for customers who still require such drives for the time being.





AfterDawn: News

Hulu partners mull future of company

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 3:16

Hulu partners mull future of company Hulu partners Disney and News Corp. have begun mulling the future the online video streaming service, with the possibility of one company buying the other's stake.

Other ideas being thrown around include selling to outside firms or just keeping their current stakes.

Disney and News Corp. appear to have different views on what to focus on. Disney would like to push the ad-based free service while News Corp., unsurprisingly, would like to focus on the $8 per month Hulu Plus premium package that include back catalogs of nearly all shows.

Combined, the company's own two-thirds of Hulu, with NBCU owning the rest. However, NBCU has no decision-making rights due to regulations put in place after Comcast purchased the content company.

Hulu brought in $700 million in revenue in 2012.





AfterDawn: News

Evernote does global password reset after hack attack

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 2:52

Evernote does global password reset after hack attack Evernote, the popular multi-platform online note-taking service has announced this weekend that following an attack by hackers they have performed a global password reset for all 50 million account holders.

Reads the company's post:

"Operations & Security team has discovered and blocked suspicious activity on the Evernote network that appears to have been a coordinated attempt to access secure areas of the Evernote Service.

As a precaution to protect your data, we have decided to implement a password reset.

In our security investigation, we have found no evidence that any of the content you store in Evernote was accessed, changed or lost. We also have no evidence that any payment information for Evernote Premium or Evernote Business customers was accessed.

The investigation has shown, however, that the individual(s) responsible were able to gain access to Evernote user information, which includes usernames, email addresses associated with Evernote accounts and encrypted passwords. Even though this information was accessed, the passwords stored by Evernote are protected by one-way encryption. (In technical terms, they are hashed and salted.)"


Next time you log in to Evernote, you will be asked to reset your password.





AfterDawn: News

Netflix gets exclusive streaming rights to 'The Hunger Games'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 1:53

Netflix gets exclusive streaming rights to 'The Hunger Games' Netflix has announced this week that it has purchased exclusive rights to stream the blockbuster "The Hunger Games."

The movie will be available in the UK and Ireland beginning today and later in the month in the U.S.

For the time being, Netflix will be the only subscription-based streaming service to offer the film, beating out rivals like Redbox and Amazon.

"We are thrilled to be the exclusive online home for The Hunger Games in the UK and Ireland," noted Ted Sarandos, Netflix Chief Content Officer. "Since launching in the UK and Ireland in January 2012, we have continued to expand our offering of great movies and TV programmes, and we think our members are going to love the latest addition to the service."

Netflix and Amazon have upped their battles in recent months, most notably in the UK, where Amazon owns established rival LoveFilm.





AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry 10 gets first firmware update

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 1:38

BlackBerry 10 gets first firmware update BlackBerry has announced it is rolling out its first firmware update for the new BB10 operating system.

The update will improve usability issues relating to apps, the camera, the calendar, contacts, browser and also battery life.

Since its launch last month, most early adopters have complained about the app performance and its general bugginess. Most of the available apps are ports from Android and they tend to crash regularly.

For the update, BlackBerry has "improved performance for 3rd party applications," which should at least lead to an improvement in lag time.

The camera app was also seeing poor performance in low-light situations, which should be improved moving forward. The browser can now handle video playback better, and the BlackBerry Hub, contact and calenders apps have all been improved to fix outstanding bugs.

Most importantly, BlackBerry Z10 users have been complaining about battery life, which was clocking in at just 7 hours of heavy use. The update should boost that to 9 hours.





AfterDawn: News

Yahoo will kill off at least 8 older products

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 1:24

Yahoo will kill off at least 8 older products Yahoo has announced it will be retiring a number of products as CEO Marissa Mayer moves to streamline the company.

Most of the products being axed are related to their old school online presence.

The full list:

Yahoo! Message Boards website
Yahoo! app for BlackBerry
Yahoo! Avatars
Yahoo! Updates API
Yahoo! Sports IQ
Yahoo! App Search
Yahoo! Clues (beta)
Yahoo! Updates API


The company is looking to continue updating products that are a "daily habit that still resonates" including fantasy sports, Yahoo Mail and Flickr.





AfterDawn: News

Apple must pay $368 million after losing patent suit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 1:08

Apple must pay $368 million after losing patent suit Apple must pay patent holding firm VirnetX over $368 million following their lawsuit loss.

This week, a U.S. District Court upheld a previous decision against Apple. Apple was found guilty of infringing patents that related to "networking technology utilized in its FaceTime video chat service."

Additionally, Apple will have to pay VirnetX $330,000 per day until the case is settled, meaning Apple will likely seek a royalty settlement in the very near future.

If no agreement is made between the companies, there could be additional damages levied against Apple. Such a royalty agreement must be approved by VirnetX, so they could potentially put a squeeze on Apple moving forward.

All Mac computers, the iPhone 5, the fourth-generation iPad, the iPad Mini and the latest iPod Touch all infringe on the patents.





AfterDawn: News

New Nokia phone is water-resistant 'on molecular level'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 12:49

New Nokia phone is water-resistant 'on molecular level' P2i technology will protect your phone on "a molecular level."

Supposedly, the upcoming Nokia phone uses nano-coating allowing water to be repelled from the internal hardware.

The phone will keep all ports, such as the microUSB, headphone jack and potentially others, giving it a clear advantage over other similar devices that require vacuum caps and lids.

Nokia will partner with P2i for the water-resistant phone for launch later this year, although it is unclear when it will be released.

P2i has worked with Alcatel and Huawei in the past.





AfterDawn: News

Rovio launching 'Croods' game

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 12:32

Rovio launching 'Croods' game Rovio, the company behind the blockbuster 'Angry Birds' franchise, has announced it will be launching a new "Croods" game based on the movie by DreamWorks Animation.

The movie goes into wide release on the 22nd, and Rovio says the game will be released on March 14th.

Available for iOS and Android, the game will also be released with an exclusive short animated clip. The game will feature the Croods "breaking out of the Stone Age with the use of a new r-evolutionary tool: the IDEA!"

Check the game trailer:





AfterDawn: News

Sprint will not offer BlackBerry Z10

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Mar 2013 10:36

Sprint will not offer BlackBerry Z10 Sprint has announced today that it will be the only major U.S. carrier to not offer BlackBerry's flagship Z10 model.

Instead, the carrier will offer the QWERTY keyboard-based Q10.

"We aren't saying there's anything different about our customers," says Mark Elliott, s Sprint spokesperson. "We think our customers will be happy with the qwerty keyboard and touch screen on the Q10."

T-Mobile, Verizon and AT&T have all announced they will offer the touchscreen Z10, and BlackBerry itself says they expect the Z10 to outsell the Q10 by a 3-to-1 margin.

So far, the Z10 has sold well where it has been available, such as Canada and the UK. The Z10 will go on sale in March, and the Q10 in April.





AfterDawn: News

Apple's iTunes U hits one billion downloads

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Mar 2013 12:48

Apple's iTunes U hits one billion downloads Apple has announced today that its iTunes U catalog has seen one billion downloads.

The catalog, full of thousands of free lectures, is available around the globe.

iTunes U is currently available in 30 countries and features lectures from 1200 universities and colleges along with another 1200 k-12 schools.

A few of the other milestones stated by Apple include there being "2,500 public courses in use and "thousands" of private courses with some courses having 250,000 people enrolled in them.

"It's inspiring to see what educators and students of all types are doing with iTunes U," said Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. "With the incredible content offered on iTunes U, students can learn like never before―there are now iTunes U courses with more than 250,000 students enrolled in them, which is a phenomenal shift in the way we teach and learn."





AfterDawn: News

OUYA shipping on March 28th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Mar 2013 12:09

OUYA shipping on March 28th Kickstarter superstar OUYA will begin shipping the console on March 28th to backers.

The company says the "parts are in the factory and assembly lines are buzzing. We'll gradually ramp up production as we make sure things are working."

A full launch is set for June, when the console goes on sale in stores including Target, Best Buy, Amazon and GameStop.

Additionally, the company introduced Kellee Santiago to their team. Says OUYA: "We've been looking for someone to lead our outreach to developers, someone who really "gets" how developers work, someone who can help devs bring their most creative, exciting work to OUYA."

Santiago is the co-founder of thatgamecompany, the developer behind the extremely popular (and beautiful) Flow, Flower and Journey for the PS3.





AfterDawn: News

High Court orders UK ISPs to block multiple file sharing sites

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Feb 2013 11:28

High Court orders UK ISPs to block multiple file sharing sites The UK High Court has ruled today that BSkyB, BT, Virgin Media, EE, Talk Talk and O2 must block access to three large file sharing websites.

Per the ruling, the ISPs must now "take measures to block or at least impede access by their customers" to Kickass Torrents, H33T and Fenopy.

Between the six ISPs, 94 percent of the UK broadband market will be covered, effectively killing the sites in the nations.

The case was brought to the court by the major record labels, and was also supported by the Motion Picture Association (MPA).

Each of the torrent sites are major players, with Kickass ranking in the top 100 most trafficked sites in the world by most counts.





AfterDawn: News

Don't fret Windows Phone 8 owners, your phone will be upgradable to the next operating system

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Feb 2013 10:48

Don't fret Windows Phone 8 owners, your phone will be upgradable to the next operating system Unlike its Windows 7 devices which are now dead, Microsoft has confirmed that Windows Phone 8 device buyers will be able to upgrade to the next version of the operating system, codename Blue.

Greg Sullivan, a senior marketing manager at Microsoft, confirmed the fact during this week's MWC 2013, in which Microsoft was notably absent. "We're not going to do this thing where we announce the next version [of Windows Phone] months and months before it's available. Over the course of the next several months, I wouldn't be surprised to see some exciting new devices and more interoperability before we start talking about what [opeating system] is next."

Windows Phone 7 owners were not able to upgrade to Windows Phone 8 due to hardware restrictions, and are now stuck on a WP 7.8, a hybrid between Windows 7 and Windows 8's better features.

As the exec says, "Windows Phone 8 can evolve. We have an architecture that enables portability and is fundamentally hardware independent. As the market evolves and customer requirements demand it, we'll evaluate options."





AfterDawn: News

BlackBerry to launch BlackBerry 10 tablet this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Feb 2013 8:04

BlackBerry to launch BlackBerry 10 tablet this year BlackBerry has confirmed that they will be releasing a BlackBerry 10 tablet this year.

The company's last effort in the tablet market, the PlayBook, was an incredible failure. Sales were so low that the company was forced to liquidate hundreds of thousands of units at prices $200-$300 below MSRP.

While the company will be updating existing PlayBooks to BB10, as well, the hardware specs have begun to age and the company certainly knows that.

Sarim Aziz, the head of developer relations for Asia Pacific at BlackBerry, says 'the BB10 tablet is definitely coming later this year.'

The exec notes that the company's app store is approaching 100,000 apps after launching with 70,000 last month.





AfterDawn: News

Sony launching 4K movie service for PS4, downloads will exceed 100 GB

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Feb 2013 7:46

Sony launching 4K movie service for PS4, downloads will exceed 100 GB Sony's upcoming 4K movie service will be available to PS4 owners, and will require a ton of bandwidth.

Sony Electronics President and COO Phil Molyneux did not reveal too much about the service, except to note that major bandwidth will be a necessity, as most 4K movies will be over 100 GB large. Today's average Blu-ray-quality HD film can exceed 15-20 GB.

When asked how consumers in the U.S. would be able to handle such large files with typically low Internet speeds, Molyneux says they are certainly "challenges that we have to work through... we've got some very good ideas that will make that a comfortable consumer experience."

The company is also working on improved compression for smaller files, but that is still in early stages.

Read more...




AfterDawn: News

Comcast, Cablevision detail their Copyright Alert System 'punishments'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Feb 2013 7:24

Comcast, Cablevision detail their Copyright Alert System 'punishments' Earlier this week, the major ISPs in the U.S. rolled out the "six strikes" Copyright Alert System (CAS).

The system is designed to educate pirates on legal alternatives and to push them away from unauthorized downloads.

AT&T, Time Warner and Verizon had already revealed their six strikes proposals and today we have learned what Comcast and Cablevision will do.

For Comcast, the first step is annoying alerts. You will be emailed and receive pop-up notices in your browser if you are believed to have infringed any copyrights. The next step will require a member of the household to log in to their Comcast email account to dismiss the next alert. For strike three and four, Comcast says the language will get "more pronounced and urgent" and you will again have to log in to acknowledge alerts.

Read more...





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