AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu

AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm's new 5G modem offers best of both worlds approach

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Feb 2020 9:10

Qualcomm's new 5G modem offers best of both worlds approach As the world's largest mobile conference Mobile World Congress had to cancel first time ever due to coronavirus issues, companies are announcing their new products in separate and mostly online fashion.

One of the more influential mobile companies is that chip company Qualcomm. The company provides huge amount of system-on-chips for Andoid phones, and this year there's one big difference maker.

It is of course 5G. Qualcomm has announced that it will be releasing the new Snapdragon X60 5G modem soon. This next-generation 5G chip is bringing big improvements over its predecessors Snapdragon X55 and X50.

Qualcomm isn't still ready to reveal all the facts about their new modem but they've shared with us some key features. The new modem, accompanied by a new RF front-end chip and a new more compact QTM535 mmWave antenna, can aggregate connections between mmWave (high speeds) and sub-6 Ghz (better penetration).

All this while being their first 5G modem produced with 5 nm process. This means that it is very versatile, nearly universal in fact, more energy efficient, has smaller footprint, and provides great performance.

The chip can max out at 7.5 Gbps over mmWave and 5 Gbps over Sub-6. Upload speeds are going to be up to 3 Gbps.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft releases all-encompassing Office app for Android

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Feb 2020 6:45

Microsoft releases all-encompassing Office app for Android Google Docs is great and all, but a lot of companies and even individuals still swear by the benefits of Microsoft's Office suite. These days Microsoft's offering on mobile is pretty strong too, which is more the reason to use it.

However, previously the app selection has been a little confusing. You'd have to download a different app for every different type of document and manage everything separately. In fact, this confusing method has tainted even Google, who now offers separate apps for example spreadsheet (Sheets) and documents (Docs).

Fortunately Microsoft has noticed themselves that this isn't the way to do it. They've now released a new Office app for Android which includes Word, Excel and PowerPoint.

You can managed and edit all the files without having to install a selection of apps. In addition, the new Office app can download and open files from your OneDrive.

However, there's no tablet optimized UI for the app which is a bummer for those that like to edit their files on the fly with an Android tablet. What's even more unfortunate is the fact that the app is forced in vertical view and can't be rotated.

Perhaps this is will be fixed later.

If you'd like to try the new app, you can find it here.





AfterDawn: News

Apple warns investors: iPhone production issues due to coronavirus

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Feb 2020 2:32

Apple warns investors: iPhone production issues due to coronavirus Apple has issued an update on guidance for investors yesterday. The company starts the letter by acknowledging the people affected and struggling to contain the coronavirus.

The company is increasing the donations to fight against the deadly virus that has taken officially nearly 2,000 lives.

However, the beef of the letter is of course the statement that Apple is struggling to return to previously estimated production capacity. Guidance released at the previous quarterly report in late January estimated that relative normalcy in production would return faster.

However, while production facilities are slowly returning to normal pace, it hasn't happened as soon and as fast as Apple anticipated.

This means that Apple doesn't expect to meet previous estimates in terms of revenue. This is due to iPhone production decreasing in China, where the devices are built, as well sales is China dropping due to reduced working hours and closed stores – again both due to the virus outbreak.

According to the letter, sales in other regions is going strong and are in line with previous estimates.





AfterDawn: News

Sony is ready to start teasing us about PS5 details, join mailing list

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Feb 2020 12:36

Sony is ready to start teasing us about PS5 details, join mailing list We've known for a long time already that Sony is preparing a PlayStation 5 launch later this year. In fact, the company has said that the release windows is "Holiday 2020."

This likely means a release sometime in November or December, perhaps October at the earliest. However, there's no official release date, or price, or even release titles yet.

Sony seems to be eager to already promote its upcoming gaming console, as it has released a new web form where enthusiasts can register for a mailing list that'll ensure you'll be among the first to hear about PS5 details, such as pricing and release date.

There's no announcement yet associated with the new page. It still only says "PlayStation 5 is coming. Launches holiday 2020" but the subtext reveals that Sony wants to start teasing us about PS5.

We've begun to share some of the incredible features you can expect from PlayStation 5, but we're not quite ready to fully unveil the next generation of PlayStation. Sign up below to be among the first to receive updates as we announce them, including news on the PS5™ release date, PS5 price and upcoming roster of PS5 launch games.

We'll have to wait and see how soon and indeed how frequently we'll be notified via email about new details of the upcoming PS5 release.

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AfterDawn: News

World's most powerful weather computer is Met Office's new $1.6 billion machine

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 18 Feb 2020 11:11

World's most powerful weather computer is Met Office's new $1.6 billion machine The UK's meteorological office, known as Met Office, has decided on one of its largest purchases. It's not a satellite, or even a constellation of satellites, but instead a computer.

This weather computer is said to cost around 1.2 billion British pounds or $1.6 billion. As one can imagine, it will be the most powerful weather super computer in the world.

While it seems utterly insane to spend billions on weather computers, this thing might actually be able to pay itself back in performance. According to Met Office, the new super computer can pin point weather forecasts to squares only a kilometer wide.

The predecessor, Cray XC40 super computer, has to rely on accuracy that is 10 kilometers wide. Essentially this means that Met Office can calculate and accurately forecast weather for neighborhoods instead of entire cities.

In fact, the super computer isn't even limited to a 1000 meter accuracy. They can improve the accuracy for important target, such as airports, where forecasts can be as pinpoint accurate as 300 meters per square.

Storm Dennis has been ravaging the UK and Ireland, flooding areas and even killing a few people. This is certainly going to make it easier for the government to spend massive amounts of pounds sterling on weather computers.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra has an insane camera that comes with a storage problem

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Feb 2020 12:44

Samsung's Galaxy S20 Ultra has an insane camera that comes with a storage problem This week has been big for Samsung. The company came out and announced their second generation foldable smartphone in Galaxy Z Flip, wireless Galaxy Buds+ earbuds, as well as the new Galaxy S20 lineup with the completely new Galaxy S20 Ultra.

While we did run through the specs and features of the S20 lineup in total, there are some interesting tidbits that might need a little more chewing. One in particular is the camera on the highest end S20 Ultra.

The model itself is a new venture for Samsung. Instead of resorting to last year's formula with a more budget-friendly S20e they decided to double down on high-end specs and release the ultimate smartphone in what is the Galaxy S20 Ultra.

The specs on the Ultra are top-notch throughout but one thing that really stands out is the camera. Even the look of it seems to mean business. There's the words Space Zoom and 100X written on the camera module.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung's Galaxy Buds+ offer better sound and battery life, won't challenge AirPods Pro

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Feb 2020 1:51

Samsung's Galaxy Buds+ offer better sound and battery life, won't challenge AirPods Pro Samsung announced last year their first-generation Galaxy Buds. At the time of the announcement pretty much exactly a year ago they were a really good competitor for AirPods.

Now the Korean company has announced the new generation of their fully wireless earbuds, Galaxy Buds+. This time around, the competition is way stiffer, including Apple's noice-cancelling AirPods Pro, and a metric ton of other rivals.

So what do the "plus" models offer that the older Galaxy Buds don't? Well, a bigger battery. That's pretty much it.

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AfterDawn: News

World's largest mobile conference cancelled due to coronavirus

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Feb 2020 1:11

World's largest mobile conference cancelled due to coronavirus Mobile World Congress has served for years as the platform for the new mobile innovation and smartphone announcements. The conference is held every year in Barcelona at the end of February, and this year didn't seem to differ from the regular pattern.

However, the spread of coronavirus in China had posed new difficulties to the gathering that was popular among Chinese tech companies. Earlier this week we told about some high profile exhibitors dropping out and organizer's new safety protocols.

Now, a few day later, the organizer GSMA has announced that they will be cancelling Mobile World Congress 2020 due to these difficulties.

According to GSMA, the risk of coronavirus spreading is too high so they've decided to cancel the conference. Although the ultimate decision came from GSMA, the decision had really been made after now several, if not dozens, of high profile companies had cancelled their attendance.

This is the first time Mobile World Congress has been cancelled in its existence since 2006 (or 2008 under the current name).





AfterDawn: News

Samsung releases foldable flip phone, here's Galaxy Z Flip

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Feb 2020 11:08

Samsung releases foldable flip phone, here's Galaxy Z Flip Samsung announced their new Galaxy S lineup yesterday introducing the Galaxy S20, S20+, and the new top tier S20 Ultra. Those phones are impressive in their own right, and you can read more about them in our overview.

However, there was another smartphone, a one more thing of sorts, that Samsung announced in San Francisco. The second generation of foldable phones, which follows Motorola's new Razr in design.

The new Samsung Galaxy Z Flip was already teased in an ad that ran during the Oscars a few days ago. Even before that leaks had pretty much confirmed the existence of said phone.

Now, though, we have all the facts and juicy details.

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AfterDawn: News

Mobile World Congress exhibitors pull out due to coronavirus

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Feb 2020 8:32

Mobile World Congress exhibitors pull out due to coronavirus The leading mobile technology conference, Mobile World Congress, will be held again in Barcelona later this month. While many of the most prominent smartphone manufacturers have their events these days to unveil their flagships, MWC has remained the most important event for the industry.

This year, however, it seems that there will be some downscaling, as some of the exhibitors and companies have decided to stay home. This is mainly due to the coronavirus epidemic prevalent especially in China.

Some of the cancellations include Chinese smarpthone maker ZTE as well as Sony, LG, Nvidia, and Ericsson.

Many of the companies are going to release their new products via a streamed event instead.

MWC organizer GSMA has had to resort to more thorough procedures due to increased security concerns posed by the spread of the very contagious illness. GSMA has disallowed anyone from Hubei province to attend the conference.

This includes one of the most populous cities of China, Wuhan, which is home to a large tech sector. Companies like Xiaomi, Huawei, Foxconn, and others, have either headquarters, R&D, or manufacturing in the city.

GSMA also wants to confirm that the attendees have been outside China for at least two weeks, and that they haven't been in contact with anyone infected with the virus.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung's new foldable flip phone, Galaxy Z Flip, unveiled in an Oscars ad

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Feb 2020 8:05

Samsung's new foldable flip phone, Galaxy Z Flip, unveiled in an Oscars ad This year's Samsung Unpacked, held tomorrow in San Francisco, is expected to be the event where the Korean smartphone maker unveils both the new Galaxy S20 as well as their second-generation foldable phone.

Surprisingly Samsung decided to take a bit of a head start yesterday by releasing an ad for the latter. The phone's first commercial aired during the Oscars yesterday.

The ad itself, which can be seen down below, didn't reveal much of anything new in terms of design, since the leaked photos have been circulating the web for quite some time, but there were some interesting features Samsung decided to show off.

Perhaps the most intriguing of them all is the tiny secondary display that is hidden under the back of the clamshell, next to the cameras. This display is seen alerting the user of a call that can be answered by swiping.

The ad also confirmed what was already rumored, the phone seems to be designed to work differently in different poses, and dual cameras are present, as are USB-C sans an accompanying headphone jack.

Now, I guess tomorrow we'll find out the specs and price. You can watch the unveiling live at samsung.com starting at 2pm ET / 11am PT.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix responds to criticism about automatic previews, here's how you disable them

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Feb 2020 2:34

Netflix responds to criticism about automatic previews, here's how you disable them Netflix is the king of streaming for a good reason. Not only over the years has it had very good content but it has been at the cutting edge of technology and A/B-testing.

The company is known for trying out all kinds of things to improve the experience and, most of all, improve the viewing numbers. Most of this has resulted in an experience that competitors simply can't provide, but there are definitely occasional hiccups.

One of these is perhaps the automatic previews introduced not too long ago. When you are looking for one it is neat that you get an automatically playing preview or a trailer of the movie or show in question, and it probably provides more in-depth look at it than reading a paragraph.

However, when you are flicking through the titles, and perhaps just want to pause for a second, automatically playing random previews can be irritating as hell. Apparently after enough rants online and in Netflix support inbox, the company themselves has acknowledged this as well.

Netflix has added an option to remove the automatic previews entirely. Their Twitter post makes it clear that it wasn't one or two complaints they've received about this specific feature.

Now, if you want to remove the automatic previews, just follow these steps:

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AfterDawn: News

Apple readying a launch of a new Apple TV?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 08 Feb 2020 1:07

Apple readying a launch of a new Apple TV? Apple is taking streaming media seriously. Not only did it finally challenge Spotify a few years ago with Apple Music, now the company has announced their own streaming video service too.

Apple TV+ might not yet be competing against Netflix or even Disney+ and its close to 29 million users in terms of viewership, but they've got something neither of these companies have.

That is Apple TV, the media player. The fifth iteration of Apple TV was released in 2017, and much has happened since. Not of course least, the introduction of Apple TV+.

Apple TV+ is available of course on many platforms in addition to iTunes and Apple TV, including smart TVs by Samsung and others, but that's suboptimal for the Cupertino company. They surely want to keep the Apple ecosystem as all-encompassing as possible.

9to5Mac has spotted a reference to a new Apple TV device in recently released tvOS 13 beta. Not only did they spot a reference to a new device, but they even managed to retrieve information that it is using a new architecture that's found in Apple's A12 and A13 chips. Those are found in iPhone XS and iPhone 11 respectively.

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AfterDawn: News

Huawei: Backdoor in security cameras not our fault

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Feb 2020 12:19

Huawei: Backdoor in security cameras not our fault A Russian security researcher Vladislav Yarmak released earlier this week a blog post in which he detailed how the controversial Chinese technology company Huawei has hidden a backdoor into some of their products.

This, among other security concerns, is something the U.S. government has been worried about for years. While Yarmak's claim seemed believable at first, it was in fact the security camera manufacturer using Huawei's product that had, likely mistakenly, included this breachable security hole.

In this case the security camera that was accessible via a remote access software allowed the creation of a session key that would let in telnet connections to the camera with default administrator logins.

Yarmak blamed HiSilicon, Huawei's chip manufacturing arm, of the faulty system-on-chip. However, HiSilicon did their own research and determined that it was the software, not the hardware, component that allowed this backdoor access.

Yarmak has since acknowledged his mistake.

Fortunately the software error isn't widely spread since it was only found in security camera by two manufacturers, both fairly insignificant. However, if you happen to own cameras by Hangzhou Xiongmai Technology or XMtech, you might want to look into possible patches.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix is introducing new video format, first for Android users

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 07 Feb 2020 11:59

Netflix is introducing new video format, first for Android users Netflix has revealed that it has started utilizing a new video codec in its streaming service. The video compression technology is called AV1 and succeeds Google's popular VP9.

Netflix is saying that the AV1 compression provides up to 20 percent improvement in efficiency, which ultimately could mean better quality with less bandwidth and less data traffic.

At this point Netflix is only enabling it for certain use cases. First ones to get it are Android app users, who can get better compression by enabling "Save Data" option from the app settings.

However, not every video will still be AV1 encoded, Netflix is only transitioning towards a catalog of AV1 content.

Netflix intends to bring the new codec to all platforms, but we'll have to see how long that'll take.

AV1 is developed by a consortium of media and tech companies called Alliance for Open Media. This includes Google, who developed the predecessor VP9, as well as Netflix, Intel, Amazon, and Microsoft, among others.






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