AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Google One replaces Google Drive – here's what's new

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 Aug 2018 14:41

Google One replaces Google Drive – here's what's new As we already knew after their announcement in May, Google is revamping, and even rebranding, their cloud drive solution.

The search giant is trying to unify their cloud services by focusing everything under the same brand, Google One. This means that the cloud storage known as Google Drive will be in the future under the Google One umbrella.

This also means that if you're paying for a Google Drive service, you'll be automatically transferred to Google One. And don't worry, the deals are in many cases better.

The cheapest version (100 GB) is still $1.99/mo but there's now also another inexpensive 200 GB and $2.99 option that you couldn't get on the legacy service. The pricier $9.99 option is now 2 TB instead of Google Drive's 1 TB.

With the updated Google One, Google has also improved the cloud storage integration with Gmail and Google Photos. You can also add family members to your plan so you can share the storage efficiently, and get help from Google experts.

Google also promises extra benefits from other Google services, such as Google Play credits.


AfterDawn: News

Google Home catching up to Echo, Apple far behind

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 Aug 2018 14:17

Google Home catching up to Echo, Apple far behind Smart speakers are one of the most prominent technology trends over the past few years. After Amazon's original Echo, released in 2014, every major technology giant has joined in on the party and released their own voice assistant powered devices.

Now, most notably, we have the Amazon Echo, Google Home as well as Apple HomePod released earlier this year. But how do they compare when it comes to popularity?

Well, Amazon has been leading the pack with quite the margin until now. New 2018 Q2 figures from Strategy Analytics suggest that the lead is quickly narrowing.

Amazon still has the first place with a 41 percent market share but Google is on its heels with 27.6%. Only a year ago Amazon had still three quarters of the market to themselves.

Google has managed to more than quintuple the sales since last year's Q2. Apple hasn't yet made the mark they probably hoped for and still lack behind on the fourth place with a 5.9% marketshare behind the Chinese company Alibaba.

In total smart speaker sales volumes tripled from last years to 11.7 million units. Expect even bigger numbers in the future as the likes of Samsung get theirs on the market.


AfterDawn: News

Want an Apple Car and Apple Glasses? You might be in luck soon

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Aug 2018 11:45

Want an Apple Car and Apple Glasses? You might be in luck soon The first trillion dollar company in the world, Apple, makes fair few different products. Be it the iconic iMac, what seems like a hobby horse Apple TV, or the ultimate money making machine which is obviously the iPhone.

However, in Cupertino they've been very hesitant at engaging in new businesses, and with good results. There might be a few other products that could make a lot of money for Tim Cook and his friends but chances are that most ventures would fail. And that would be unlike Apple.

Behind the scenes Apple is of course developing all kinds of technology and rumors have been suggesting for years that things like Apple car are in development. Now we have more evidence that it actually might be happening, reports AppleInsider.

One of the more revered Apple analysts, Ming-Chi Kuo from KGI Securities, has suggested that Apple is planning on entering the car market with a vehicle in a few years. According to Kuo, Apple Car, or perhaps iCar, will be unveiled in 2023-2025.

His feelings are, and that's pretty much all it is for now, that Apple would not be willing to stay a bystander as the revolution in vehicles is happening. One would expect electric and autonomous vehicles from a technology powerhouse like Apple.


AfterDawn: News

Apple halts iOS 12 beta, users experiencing problems

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Aug 2018 18:41

Apple halts iOS 12 beta, users experiencing problems Apple released the seventh beta version of their newest mobile operating system, the iOS 12. Not long after the update shipped yesterday the Cupertino giant had to, however, take it back.

Users were reporting major problems with the update and Apple decided to pull the update. Many of the beta users were complaining about performance issues that struck right after updating their device.

Reports said apps are slow to start and the lock screen animations are sluggish, laggy or can even halt altogether. Some have also complained about problems in the Notification Center.

Even though the problems occurred in a pre-production beta version, Apple has decided that they are too severe to wait for another update. That is understandable as testing the platform would be hard if it keeps freezing and lagging.

Apple did not pull the update from all channels, though. Over-the-air (OTA) updates were stopped but developers can still access iOS 12 beta 7 manually.

AfterDawn: News

Nvidia unveils Turing architecture, teases next week's gaming GPUs

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Aug 2018 17:55

Nvidia unveils Turing architecture, teases next week's gaming GPUs The leading GPU manufacturer Nvidia has finally gave us some Turing news, and to start with it has revealed its most powerful professional GPU.

Turing is of course the company's new architecture that it will apply not only in the new Quadro RTX 8000 already revealed but also the upcoming, more gamer-friendly, GPUs that are expected from Gamescom next week.

Aforementioned Quadro RTX 8000 is a powerhouse of a GPU that professionals of all ilk working with extreme cases of graphics intensive workloads would appreciate. The unit includes 567 Tensor cores that have been upgraded to Turing specs.

That includes a dedicated RT Core unit which is responsible for raytracing calculations. Obviously that'll give the other processing cores more time to focus on other tasks whether they'd be AI calculations or more general purpose tasks.

Speaking of general purpose tasks, there are 4608 CUDA cores on board the new RTX 8000, and a completely insane 48 gigabytes of GDDR6 memory.

As you might expect, specs like that don't come cheap. In fact the price for RTX 8000 is an insane $10,000. Worry not, though, there will be more affordable Turing cards in the near future.

The company has teased upcoming gamer GPUs on a YouTube video. Nvidia is expected to release new GPUs at Gamescom on August 20.


AfterDawn: News

Snap gets a $250 million investment from Saudi Arabia

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Aug 2018 20:28

Snap gets a $250 million investment from Saudi Arabia Snap was once perhaps the hottest prospects in the messaging startup game but they've fallen quite a bit from their perceived glory. Now they've once again been trusted with hundreds of millions of foreign investments.

Thanks to Facebook, and others, who've been copying Snapchat's innovative features, and surpassing them in other ways, Snapchat has been struggling to stay relevant and afloat. A $353 million net loss previous quarter is just one of the signs of the waning platform.

Fortunately now Saudi prince Al-Waleed Talal has put forth $250 million to acquire 2.3% stake in the company.

Snap is nowadays known not only from its self-destructive messages, and AR filters called World Lenses that were released last year, but also social media sunglasses, 2016 launched Spectacles, that were revamped earlier this year.

Snapchat has currently just under 200 million users while Facebook-owned Instagram has recently surpassed a billion users according to Statista.


AfterDawn: News

Augmented Reality headset Magic Leap now available for $2,295

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Aug 2018 15:06

Augmented Reality headset Magic Leap now available for $2,295 Perhaps the most hyped Virtual, and by Virtual I mean Augmented, Reality headset, Magic Leap, ever has been released to the public. However, the Microsoft HoloLens -like AR headset is by no means everybody's entertainment device, for few reasons.

Magic Leap can be now ordered in six cities in the United States: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco and Seattle. But even if you live in one of these places, the price might put you off. See, the price for what seems to still be a fairly exclusive product, is $2,295, not including VAT.

If you still want to shell out the cash, you might want to know what you are spending your money on. The hotly anticipated AR device comes in a three pieces with the headset itself being one of them obviously. You also get one touchpad controller as well as the computing part of the operation called the Lightpack.

Included in the Lightpack is Nvidia's Parker mobile CPU, a GPU based on Pascal architecture, eight gigabytes of RAM and 128 GB flash storage. According to the company the battery can run the device for up to 3 hours at a time, which should be more than enough to tire your eyes.

Connectivity-wise Magic Leap supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 and USB-C.


AfterDawn: News

AMD's new top-of-the-line Ryzen chip goes on sale for $1799

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Aug 2018 12:52

AMD's new top-of-the-line Ryzen chip goes on sale for $1799 AMD has put their newest, and most powerful, addition to Ryzen Threadripper family of CPUs on pre-order. The chip in question is the 32-core and 64-thread Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX, the first of the WX series, that was unveiled in June.

Now 2990WX is available for pre-order for those looking for a truly top notch multithread processor. The second generation Threadripper chip includes new Zen+ architecture produced with 12 nm process, but its TR4 socket is supported by current X399 motherboards with a BIOS update.

According to AMD, the new Threadripper 2990WX managed to already snatch the record for Cinebench multithread benchmark, although not with default cooling solution, as you might imagine. The CPU normally clocked at 3.0GHz (and boosted at 4.2GHz) was overclocked to 5.1GHz during the test.

While powerful in all kinds of tasks, this specific family of chips is meant mainly for professional use, be it video rendering or other CPU intensive work, where core and thread counts are important. The price tag is telling as well, as not many PC enthusiasts are willing to shell out $1799 for a CPU.

Ryzen Threadripper 2990WX pre-orders are now open and it'll take another week for it to hit the stores on August 13. The cheaper $1299 24-core (and 48-thread) 2970WX will be released next month.


AfterDawn: News

Tesla's own AI chip to replace Nvidia's

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Aug 2018 10:58

Tesla's own AI chip to replace Nvidia's Known for its electric cars, Tesla wouldn't be thought as the first company to develop their own microchips. But obviously Tesla's vehicles are just moving computers, and one of the most important parts of that computer happens to be the brains, the artificial intelligence brains.

It's been actually known for quite some time that Tesla is trying to come up with a more cost-efficient and tailored solution than the current Nvidia chips for its cars. Now the company has confirmed that it will be dropping Nvidia in favor of their proprietary AI chips.

Amidst reporting on quarterly results Elon Musk revealed that the homebrew chip will be introduces during next year. According to the Tesla and Space X visionary, it has been developed from the ground up for Tesla's vehicles and according to their needs.

The new chip will be able to handle all the AI calculations unlike many competing chips that require some form of software emulation. This makes Tesla's chip "an order of magnitude" faster than for example the currently used Nvidia chip.

Tesla chip is also backwards compatible so old vehicles could get an AI performance boost with a chip replacement. However, there's no word what the procedure would cost or when it would be available.


AfterDawn: News

Virus shut down iPhone chip manufacturer TSMC

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Aug 2018 14:42

Virus shut down iPhone chip manufacturer TSMC Taiwanese contract chip manufacturer TSMC (Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) has had to shut down some of its factories after a virus infected its production lines. The world's largest semiconductor manufacturer builds Apple's system-on-chips, including for the upcoming iPhones expected to be released next month.

According to Bloomberg, TSMC was hit by a virus that crippled some of the company's factories. TMSC representatives have denied that the systems were compromised by a hacker but there is currently no explanation how the virus entered the systems.

For TSMC the timing is horrible, since it is currently trying to crank out as many Apple chips as possible for its most important customer before the release of upcoming iPhones.

The company did not, however, disclose if the affected factories were producing chips for iPhones and what kind of financial damage was inflicted by the virus. As the investigation matures TSMC hopes to answer more questions after the weekend.

Some factories are already back to normal but others with more severe problems are expected to take at least until Sunday to reboot.


AfterDawn: News

No headphone jack, not even a dongle, in next iPhones

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Aug 2018 13:43

No headphone jack, not even a dongle, in next iPhones Apple removed the headphone jack from iPhones almost two years ago with the release of iPhone 7. Whether it was at the time a brave move, as they spun it, or just a silly design choice it up to you.

However, $1 trillion Cupertino giant is not backing away from the strategy, rumors suggest. They plan to move further away from wired headphones towards a truly wireless future.

Barclays research team has been suggesting since early this year that Apple will be getting rid of the headphone jack dongle from the next iPhone. Now Cirrus Logic, a supplier for the headphone adapter, has all but confirmed to Barclays that this indeed is the case, MacRumors reports.

Apple is expected to release three new iPhone models next month, all of which are likely to not have headphone jack. Now users with traditional wired headphones might have to shell out some extra cash to use their preferred audio equipment.

The adapter isn't fortunately too expensive, currently at $9, and many of the current or previous generation iPhone users already have one adapter, but it is surely going to stir up some controvery if indeed Apple decides to exclude it from the retail box.


AfterDawn: News

This tiny retro game console outsold Xbox One and PS4

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Aug 2018 11:57

This tiny retro game console outsold Xbox One and PS4 A couple years ago Nintendo released what seemed like a silly promotional product, a mini version of the good old Nintendo Entertainment System, or NES.

After NES Classic other companies followed suit, including Atari (although their approach is way different), but it was the NES Classic with the strong lineup of classic retro games that caught all the attention. So much so that it was sold out almost immediately.

Huge demand meant that the prices rose to ridiculous amounts in the second-hand market. Now, two years later, the NES Classic is back and the supply has been far better.

The demand is still there which is proven by the fact that according to market research firm NPD it has outsold all other consoles, including the current generation favorites Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch.

This even though NES Classic was only sold for a few days during the analyzed period (June 2018). Of course one has to remember that NES Classic costs $59 while the others go for several hundreds.

So as the tweet by NPD analyst Mat Piscatella below shows, NES Classic outsold PS4 by unit numbers but not in dollar sales. If you want to know more about the numbers of both software and hardware sales head to Twitter and read the thread.


AfterDawn: News

Apple is the first company worth $1 trillion: Here's Tim Cook's letter to employees

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Aug 2018 11:32

Apple is the first company worth $1 trillion: Here's Tim Cook's letter to employees Apple has reached new heights that no company before it has reached. Cupertino-based tech giant closed the day yesterday with a share price of $207.39 which means it surpassed the magical and revolutionary (add other Apple-like superlatives) $1 trillion market cap.

Who would've guessed that making iPhones is such a good business model? Or as someone put it, buying low and selling high seems to pay off. Joking aside, Apple has done something no company has managed and to celebrate Tim Cook sent a memo to Apple employees reiterating what is important.

According to the note Apple's number one priority is customer. While people should be excited and happy about the milestone, they should remember that it is just a measurement of success in one, albeit super tangible, respect.

Obviously Cook knew the memo would be read by many outside the company and promoting a view that customer always comes first is good for the business in the long run. Not surprisingly Steve Jobs gets a mention as the visionary founder who instilled Apple with the values it holds.

And here's the letter Apple CEO Tim Cook sent to company's employees after hitting the historic milestone:


Today Apple passed a significant milestone. At our closing share price of $207.39, the stock market now values Apple at more than $1 trillion. While we have much to be proud of in this achievement, it's not the most important measure of our success. Financial returns are simply the result of Apple's innovation, putting our products and customers first, and always staying true to our values.

AfterDawn: News

Samsung disappointed after Galaxy S9 sales slump

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 31 Jul 2018 15:28

Samsung disappointed after Galaxy S9 sales slump Samsung has today released their second quarter results, and the fallout is fairly pessimistic for their smartphone division. The Korean electronics giant's Galaxy phones kept them at the top of the sales figures for years, but this year's flagship's sales figures might spell an unforeseen dive.

While the overall results of Samsung Electronics were good as expected, racking a 58.48 trillion won or around $53 billion in revenue, albeit being slightly less than in Q1 or last years Q2, and increasing the operating profit by 6% to around $13 billion, the top-of-the-line Galaxy smartphone has been suffering from disappointing sales numbers.

Samsung acknowledges that the sales of Galaxy S9 have been slow, and the iterative upgrade has obviously not been exciting enough. Apple and especially competing Android manufacturers are having a field day, but we'll see if that changes once Samsung releases the upcoming Galaxy Note9 smartphone expected in early August.

Fortunately for Samsung the smartphone slump has been filled by extraordinarily good memory sales. Both DRAM and NAND memory chips have been chipping in in record numbers.

AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp now supports group calls

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 31 Jul 2018 15:11

WhatsApp now supports group calls WhatsApp has updated their mobile messaging platform with a major new feature. Facebook-owned, world's largest, instant messaging app first unveiled group calling in May, now it's finally available.

Group calls were introduced at Facebook's F8 conference in May and now the company has managed to finish the feature and released it in their mobile app. Both iOS and Android versions of WhatsApp got the feature.

Group calls offer both video and audio only calls between multiple people. There are limitations, though, and most importantly the group calls are limited to four concurrent connections.

Other platforms offer even up to 32 people chatting all at once. However, four people calls is a good start for WhatsApp, and it wouldn't be a complete surprise if the company will expand the support.

What is nice about the WhatsApp calls is that they are entirely end-to-end encrypted, a feature that has made WhatsApp's text messaging a huge success.

To make a group call you'll just make a regular call between two people and add the other recipients from the button on the top right.

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