AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Windows phones are back! Microsoft selling Lumia smartphones again

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 24 Feb 2018 12:40

Windows phones are back! Microsoft selling Lumia smartphones again Microsoft made it fairly clear last summer that it's not really interested in Windows phones any more by dropping support from almost all Lumia models. Just days later, IDC's figures revealed why: Windows 10 marketshare was 0.1% in Q1 of 2017 fiscal year.

If that wasn't enough for a proper killing blow, then Windows boss Joe Belfiore made it abundantly clear with his remarks in October.

However, Windows Latest, a site focusing on Windows content as you might imagine, has revealed something very, very interesting. They've noticed that Microsoft's website sells multiple Lumia models currently.

One might think there's probably a mistake, perhaps some kind of accidental rollback in the store section of the website. No, the phones are actually for sale, and according to Microsoft have been for a little bit.

You can find at least Lumia 950 XL, Lumia 950, Lumia 650, Lumia 550, currently costing $499, $399, $199, and $139 respectively.


AfterDawn: News

Intel's GPU driver update brings a boost to gamers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Feb 2018 9:35

Intel's GPU driver update brings a boost to gamers If you are a proper PC gamer then you consider Intel a CPU manufacturer and only a CPU manufacturer. However, obviously the company does a lot more and it includes GPUs.

However, the Intel GPUs are nothing to write home about in terms of gaming prowess, so you probably have ignored what they can do altogether. Obviously they are improving in performance year after year, and might even be able to run some less graphics intensive games.

Intel definitely believes that, and that is why they've released new drivers for their integrated graphics chips that includes optimization engine for games. The new v15.65 Windows drivers now come with a Graphics Control Panel, not entirely unlike Nvidia's GeForce Experience for example, that provides automatic game optimization.

Currently the feature is limited to Skylake, that is the 6th generation CPUs and integrated HD Graphics 620, and newer. According to PC World this includes the new AMD's Radeon Vega powered 8th gen Kaby Lake G setups which obviously are far better at gaming.

The feature is still in beta so results will most definitely vary but you should be able to use it for at least the following games: Battlefield 1, Battlefield 4, American Truck Simulator, Call of Duty WWII, Destiny 2, DOTA 2, Grand Theft Auto V, League of Legends, Overwatch, World of Tanks, Fortnite, Battle Royale, They Are Billions, Lost Sphear, Age of Empires: Definitive Edition, Final Fantasy XII: The Zodiac Age, OK KO: Let's Play Heroes, Subnautica, Legrand Legacy, Tale of the Fatebounds, and Dragon Ball FighterZ.


AfterDawn: News

Apple captures over half of global smartphone revenue

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Feb 2018 7:52

Apple captures over half of global smartphone revenue Every year Apple takes home nearly every penny of global smartphone profits. Thanks to huge margins no one has been able to replicate, it only leaves crumbles to Samsung and others. Obviously Samsung is competing in number of smartphones but most of them are way cheaper and barely make them any money.

However, what are the actual revenue numbers? How far behind is Samsung, and others, in terms of pure monetary value of smartphones sold? Well, very far.

A new report from Strategy Analytics has revealed the revenues of last quarter of the 2016 fiscal year. The numbers are very much in favor of Apple, which shouldn't really be a surprise for the largest company in the world by market cap.

Apple racked a total of 51 percent or $61.4 billion of the historically large smartphone market revenue of $120.2 billion. As mentioned, the gap between Apple and the second place holder, Samsung, was very wide.

However, Samsung, like Huawei on third place, managed to enlarge their slices of the pie. Samsung's share was 15.7% and Huawei's 7% with $18.9 billion and $8.4 billion respectively.

Everything comes down to the average prices really. As a typical smartphone manufacturer gets away with $200, maybe $300, average price, Apple manages to sell a phone with the average price of 800 dollars.


AfterDawn: News

Apple promises to fix the crash inducing message bug "soon"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Feb 2018 14:23

Apple promises to fix the crash inducing message bug "soon" A few days ago a new, and fairly severe, iOS bug was revealed. The problem occurs system wide but especially plagues the messaging and email apps, and crashes either the app itself or the entire operating system.

The problem is rather simple: iOS receives a text message, instant message or an email with a symbol from the Telugu language, a language spoken in India by some tens of millions, and can't compute it.

If the symbol is shown in a notification it will crash the phone and you'll have to reboot. If it is shown on iMessage, WhatsApp, or Gmail for example, it crashes the app and you'll have to reboot the app and somehow get rid of the message.

Now, that seems like a simple fix since it only happens with this specific symbol. And there is a fairly simple solution: iOS 11.3. However, the newest version of iOS is only available for the beta testers currently, but fortunately a fix will be coming "soon" according to Apple, The Verge reports.

Apple is not expediting iOS 11.3, though, which includes plenty of other updates that are still under development. Instead you'll be getting a midway update, perhaps something like 11.2.6, which would be the slightest update over current 11.2.5.


AfterDawn: News

Apple to replace iPhone's back camera with TrueDepth?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Feb 2018 11:35

Apple to replace iPhone's back camera with TrueDepth? Apple's latest iteration of iPhone, or the greatest one should say since iPhone X and iPhone 8 were released simultaneously, utilizes a new type of camera setup. However, it's not the back camera, mostly used for photographs that was significantly improved.

The front-facing camera, the selfie shooter, was upgraded with never-before-seen technology that Apple's marketing team calls TrueDepth. It allowed Apple to get away with the fingerprint sensor, Touch ID, and rely solely on identification via facial recognition.

Face ID couldn't have been done without the innovations behind the TrueDepth camera. Obviously there are face recognition implementations that are available on Android, and are faster too, but they aren't nearly as accurate, or more importantly secure.

You can, however, use the 3D camera tech for other things too. Forget that Apple decided to showcase it by introducing animojis, the animated emojis that follow your facial motions, there is so much more you could do with a 3D mapping camera.

And thus analysts believe that Apple is going to expand the TrueDepth capabilities to iPhone's back camera, Apple Insider reports. The Cupertino-based company is said to be developing new versions of TrueDepth camera that could bring for example AR experiences to a new level.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to add 'Ultimate Perfomance' mode to Windows 10

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Feb 2018 13:51

Microsoft to add 'Ultimate Perfomance' mode to Windows 10 Microsoft has posted another update on its official Windows blog about future Windows 10 builds. The post reveals new emojis but also touches on what is a new power scheme for workstations.

The new mode found in the Power settings of Windows 10 is called Ultimate Performance, and does exactly what you would imagine a setting by that name would do. It makes sure that the operating systems takes advantage of as much of your hardware as possible. Currently Windows 10 includes a High Performance power mode but the new mode will further improve efficacy.

According to Microsoft, Ultimate Performance is developed from High Performance by "eliminate micro-latencies associated with fine grained power management techniques" which means that it could likely result in consuming more power.

Unfortunately not everyone will be able to use the new setting as it is limited to a single Windows 10 version. Ultimate Performance can be used only in Windows 10 Pro for Workstations.

Microsoft says that the update is due somewhere in March or April.

Windows 10 Pro for Workstations on tarkoitettu ympäristöihin, joissa käsitellään paljon isoja data-aineistoja ja tehdään vaativaa laskentaa edellyttäviä tehtäviä. Kotiolosuhteisiin tai edes pelikoneisiin sitä ei ole tarkoitettu lainkaan.

AfterDawn: News

Hyped AR startup Magic Leap talks price

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Feb 2018 11:37

Hyped AR startup Magic Leap talks price Last year a new virtual reality, or more aptly Augmented Reality, startup was introduced. The company calls itself Magic Leap and has been developing an AR headset that is poised to revolutionize mixed reality content.

In Decembe, Magic Leap revealed what the glasses, and they do actually look like glasses this time around, will likely look like. As the above picture shows, Magic Leap headset has a very unique look with two lenses, and displays, as well as myriad of cameras and other sensors.

Now the CEO and founder of Magic Leap, Rony Abovitz, has sat down with Recode and talked about the future. According to Abovitz, the headset will become available in a couple different setups that are meant for distinct price points.

He says current plans are that the most affordable, and thus the least feature rich, version of the AR headset will cost around the price of a high-end smartphone. One could argue that there are high-end smartphones that cost around $500 but many would bet safe and take the latest, and greatest, iPhone as a reference. So it is very possible that the cheapest version will retail $999 just like the iPhone X.


AfterDawn: News

Apple's HomePod and Siri left on last place in a smart speaker bout

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Feb 2018 14:06

Apple's HomePod and Siri left on last place in a smart speaker bout Apple finally managed to release their smart speaker to the public last week. First shown to the public last summer, Apple HomePod, was supposed to be launched by Holiday season where it would wreck havoc, or that's what Apple hoped for at least.

Now that the device has landed on many reviewer's desks, it has been torn apart, although for now only figurative as we wait for JerryRigEverything or iFixit to grab one. A company by the name of Loup Ventures, that calls itself "a research-driven venture capital firm", has compared the new speaker and its assistant to the competition.

HomePod has been receiving quite a bit of criticism from reviewers for not having any connections or supporting Bluetooth. It also is not meant only for the most extreme Apple enthusiast, since it doesn't support Android phones or even really Apple Music competitors like the twice as popular Spotify.

However, most are very impressed with the sound quality that might not be as loud or as bass-y as on Google Home Max, but offers a really balanced good audio experience.

When it comes to comparing Siri, Loup's test seems to be the best so far. A fairly scientific test included a total of 782 inquiries on four of the most popular assistants on four different smart speakers. They had the Amazon's Echo with Alexa, Google Home with Google Assistant, Apple's HomePod with Siri, as well as a Harman Kardon Invoke with Microsoft's Cortana.


AfterDawn: News

VLC updated to 3.0, finally with Chromecast support

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Feb 2018 12:06

VLC updated to 3.0, finally with Chromecast support VLC, or as some may know it VideoLAN Client, has updated their app universally. The new versio of the popular media player has finally reached v3.0, and it brings some new and highly anticipated features.

The new versio is available for all VLC supported platforms, both mobile and desktop. You'll be able to enjoy HDR videos and support for hardware encoding is now available for all platforms. However, the most important new feature is probably support for Google's media device Chromecast.

People have been long requesting the feature to, what for many is, the ultimate media player. VLC has finally added a beta version of this feature to VLC 3.0, but unfortunately you can't take advantage it on all platforms.

Currently Google's Cast feature is available only on the Android and Chrome OS, while VLC is also available on Android TV, Linux, macOS, iOS, Apple TV, and Windows. Also not that as the feature is still in beta it means that you might encounter some problems and bugs.

Perhaps by v3.5 we'll have a more wide range of platforms to choose when it comes to Chromecast support and hopefully the beta label has been stripped.

You can download the VLC from here:

VLC for Windows, 32-bit
VLC for Windows, 64-bit


AfterDawn: News

Nvidia admits that they aren't making enough graphics cards

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Feb 2018 12:19

Nvidia admits that they aren't making enough graphics cards A few days earlier Nvidia released their quarterly reports which happened to be a fairly nice read to those who've invested in the company. Revenue was up to a new record, $2.91 billion, and everything seems rosy.

However, while Nvidia might be dancing on rose petals there is an underlying issue that is stopping the company from getting an even sweeter result. As people buying a new PC, or at least a GPU, recently might have noticed, there seems to be a lack of graphics cards.

In many cases you can't just walk in to a store and get your preferred model off the shelf. You might have to wait a bit, weeks even.

Nvidia acknowledges, reports Polygon, that GPUs are few and far in between, which is obviously because demand has overtaken supply. The reason seems to be the cryptocurrency boom that really took off last year.

Bitcoin, and other cryptocurrency, miners are buying all the GPUs they can get their hands on if it means that they are able to make a profit. Extreme demand not only means that you aren't getting your GPUs as fast as you want, but you also have to pay more for them.


AfterDawn: News

Google to finally challenge iMessage properly? Leak suggests major Messages update

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Feb 2018 11:57

Google to finally challenge iMessage properly? Leak suggests major Messages update Android's default messaging apps are probably used by a minority small enough to fit on a palm of a regular sized human hand. Yes, no one uses them.

In most cases you either pick up WhatsApp or Facebook Messenger – both owned by Facebook, mind you – and only open up Messages, or whatever it's called, when absolutely necessary.

Now, this isn't the case on iOS. Apple has managed to capture many, perhaps even most, iPhone users with their iMessage. And I say capture, because it really limits their options moving forwards as there is no iMessage for Android, and likely never will.

So Apple knows that they have built a walled garden, with oh so delicious blue dots and off-putting green ones.

Obviously Google wants to be part of this messaging game. After all, Google wants to play all the games. However, every single approach since Gchat, later Hangouts, have been utter failures in the grand scheme of things. Google seems to be horrible at implementing social media and messaging.

Another try might be on the way, as Android Police have found proof, albeit very unofficial, about a new iteration of messaging on Android.


AfterDawn: News

Google pressures websites towards HTTPS: "A secure web is here to stay"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 09 Feb 2018 12:44

Google pressures websites towards HTTPS: "A secure web is here to stay" Google's crusade for a safer, more secure web has been taking place for years. Especially after the Snowden leaks everyone has been more interested of encrypted messaging and secure web traffic.

It is no surprise then that Google is about to take another step securing the entire web. The company has now announced on their Chromium blog that their upcoming browser will mark all HTTP sites as "not secure."

Starting with Chrome 68, Google's Chrome browsers will notify the user, albeit not intrusively, if they are using a website that doesn't support HTTPS connections. Currently Chrome does not inform the user about non-secure websites unless they click the information button next to the URL.

When users browse secure websites with HTTPS connection they are already notified that the connection is secure on the address bar.

Many popular websites have already transitioned to HTTPS, and that includes, but even on the top 100 websites 19 do not support HTTPS yet. Google tightening the noose around HTTP is bound to bring that closer to 100, and of course increase the overall HTTPS penetration, which currently stands at 68% on Windows and Android and 78% on Mac and Chrome OS.


AfterDawn: News

One of the most important parts of iOS leaked, hackers rejoice

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Feb 2018 13:18

One of the most important parts of iOS leaked, hackers rejoice Even though Google's mobile operating system, Android, is arguably not as open source as the company wants you to think, many of the building blocks of it, thanks to AOPS or Android Open Source Project, are everybody's game. This is not the case in Apple's world as most of iOS is completely closed off from anyone outside Apple.

This also means that changing how iOS operates requires some high-level hacking, and as many of us know jailbreaking is quite the hassle compared to Android. Thus it was probably quite a shock to Apple when they found out one of the most important, if not the most important, parts of iOS source code was leaked.

Motherboard reports that part of iOS source code found its way to GitHub, a hosting service for git version control often used for source code. This part, called iBoot, is the one responsible for starting up the device before the user has any control over it.

It's the same part that in Android devices is fairly accessible and it allows custom Android ROM's to be installed. One could imagine that hackers and jailbreakers are going to be enjoying a life of Riley.


AfterDawn: News

Galaxy S9 leaks ahead of launch, might be even more expensive than last year

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Feb 2018 11:49

Galaxy S9 leaks ahead of launch, might be even more expensive than last year The world's largest consumer electronic show, aptly name CES or Consumer Electronics Show, just ended few weeks ago and we're already approaching the largest mobile trade show, Mobile World Congress.

What we saw in terms of televisions at CES, although there was plenty more, we'll see in a few week about smartphones at MWC 2018. It usually starts with a bang as many of the biggest players on the market reveal their latest and greatest smartphones.

Last year, though, arguably the biggest of them all was missing as Galaxy S8 was released a month later in a standalone event. This year, Samsung returns to Barcelona's show floors with added flair as it is gearing up for the release of Galaxy S9.

Rumors and leaks around Galaxy S9 have been tightening the noose around the neck of Samsung's secrecy. Now, new leaks have revealed the devices, the normal and the plus-sized model, in full, and another set of rumors might reveal even the price point.

The duo of devices to be revealed on February 25th, Galaxy S9 and Galaxy S9, carry a very similar design. They seem to have the same glass sandwich design from last year, that is beautiful but fragile.

If you want to look for surprises, you could maybe call the camera setups one. The normal S9 has a single shooter, while the bigger one employs a dual-camera setup. Also Samsung has definitely learned a lesson with the fingerprint sensor, that was previously placed too high next to the camera. Perhaps the most complained about feature of last years model seems now fixed.


AfterDawn: News

Bitcoin goes under $10 000 again, dips under $8000 first time since mid-November

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Feb 2018 16:55

Bitcoin goes under $10 000 again, dips under $8000 first time since mid-November Ever since the mid-December peak of nearly $20 000 Bitcoin has been in somewhat disorderly decline. It has dropped under $10 000 a few times this year already but it took the lowest dip today since mid-November.

Bitcoin price dropped shortly to under $8000 which it hasn't done since November 18 according to Coindesk. The year has not been good for Bitcoin so far, as even after a short recovery to over $17 000 in early January it has lost half of its value.

The drop under $8000 only lasted for an hour though, and now Bitcoin is again closing on $9000, but it is uncertain when, if ever, it will break again even the $10 000 barrier.

The price drop is attributed to Japanese cryptocurrency exchange Coincheck being raided as well as general atmosphere around increased regulations. Bitcoin is not the only cryptocurrency to have had a rough start to the year.

The top dollar for Bitcoin was recorded on December 18th when it hit approximately $19 500 per coin.

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