AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Matti Vähäkainu (December, 2017)

AfterDawn: News

Report: Walmart developing a cashier-free concept, not unlike Amazon Go

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Dec 2017 13:05

Report: Walmart developing a cashier-free concept, not unlike Amazon Go Early this year Amazon revealed its first cashier-free store in Seattle. While it seems to have been only a one-off for now, many expect for the concept to expand, especially now that the e-commerce giant owns Whole Foods.

Amazon's innovations with such stores has been picked up by Walmart, which is developing a similar concept, Recode reports.

Amazon has awoken the sleeping giant in many respects. Walmart has been trying to claw away Amazon's electronic retail advantages by introducing two day free shipping. Now it seems Walmart is worried about not only Amazon Prime perks but possible cashier-free brick-and-mortar stores.

The new store concept, known as Project Kepler, has been developed in Walmart's innovation department, Store No. 8, that is responsible for many of the startup offshoots of Walmart. One of these new concepts also includes a retail service for "high net worth urban consumer", or, as some Recode sources have described it, a service for busy NYC moms.

According to the rumors, the concept known as Code Eight will be a membership (with a fee) that offers 24 hour delivery for household items and 2 day delivery for other items. You can also order things by text messages or even just by snapping a picture.


AfterDawn: News

Google and Alphabet exec Eric Schmidt stepping down

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 23 Dec 2017 9:20

Google and Alphabet exec Eric Schmidt stepping down  Sergey Brin and Larry Page. People know those two men built the Google empire from ground up, but it was Eric Schmidt that was in the spotlight most of the important years. Now after being the CEO of Google for a decade and serving as the executive chairman of Alphabet since of its inception, he is stepping down.

While Schmidt is moving on and leaving the role of executive chairman, he'll still be helping Larry and Sergey out in some respects. After stepping down as the executive chairman he'll be considered a technical adviser that will share his insight in scientific and technological problems.

Schmidt's role was extremely important in the early years of Google. He was recruited from a US software company, Novell Inc., in 2001. At that time Google founders were looking for an experienced leader to guide them and their roughly 200 employees.

Since Google, and later the parent company Alphabet, have grown to employ roughly 150 000 people and develop products and services for billions more.

Alphabet is expected to replace Schmidt's executive chairman positions with an non-executive chairman. Officially Schmidt will leave his post at a board meeting in January 2018.

AfterDawn: News

Netflix adds HRD support for Windows 10 users

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 22 Dec 2017 13:50

Netflix adds HRD support for Windows 10 users Many of the Netflix Originals as well other content on the world's most popular streaming TV service are now available not only in 4K but also in HDR. Now the streaming giant has expanded the support to another major platform.

Supported by most high-end TVs, HDR gives you a clearer, more vibrant image with blacker blacks and more contrast. However, in addition to HDR supporting display, your playback platform also needs to support the feature.

Netflix can be watched on HDR for example via PlayStation 4 or Chromecast Ultra, but one of the more popular platforms, Windows 10, has lacked the support. Now Netflix has added HDR support – more specifically HDR10 – to Windows 10.

However, it has a few limitations. You will need to use the Windows 10 app or Edge browser, so no love for Chrome users. Also if the computer is powered by an integrated GPU by Intel, you'll also need at least 7th generation Core processor. For Nvidia GPUs you need GeForce 1050, 1060, 1070, or 1080, with no less than 3GB of RAM.

Unfortunately there is no support for Dolby Vision or AMD's GPUs or CPUs. Also, naturally, if you aren't connected to a HDR supported TV, or other HDR display, it doesn't matter what type of PC you have.


AfterDawn: News

First 5G specs have been completed

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 22 Dec 2017 12:28

First 5G specs have been completed 3rd Generation Partnership Project, known more commonly as 3GPP, has finished first fifth generation wireless network specifications earlier this week. The consortium gathered in Lisbon, where they announced the next-generation mobile network specifications.

The specifications detail how the first edition of 5G networks will be built and thus the manufacturers finally know how they should build their network devices. The first new generation of network technology is dubber 5G NR, NR standing for New Radio.

While the specifications have been completed and approved, they haven't quite yet been revealed to the public. That is, however, expected to happen before Christmas.

Obviously the completion of 5G specs is a huge step forward in getting next-generation mobile networks to the public. Technology companies and mobile operators can now focus on building the products and services necessary to implement 3GPP's plan.

5G NR supports a wide array of bands ranging from a low of 600-700MHz to high of 50GHz. That means that the technology supports many circumstances with different range and penetration requirements.

AfterDawn: News

Apple confirms its slowing down old iPhones – here's why

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 21 Dec 2017 14:39

Apple confirms its slowing down old iPhones – here's why Apple has been super effective at selling a new iPhone for existing customers for years. A yearly, or perhaps more commonly biyearly, cycle of buying a new iPhone has been very beneficial for Apple, but some have suggested that there's some foul play how Apple treats older devices.

Now it has been revealed that Apple is slowing down older iPhones as it releases a new model, or models. That would obviously incentivize people to invest in the new, much speedier device.

Previously these types of allegations have been met with denial from Apple, or even no response at all. This time around, though, Apple has had to confirm what has been rumored for years, TechCrunch reported.

According to Apple, they added a performance limiter to iPhones a year ago. That doesn't sound good at all, but Apple says that there's a good reason for it.

Apple's reasoning is that it wants to ensure optimal user experience in certain situations and circumstances. This means that when the battery gets older it is not anymore able provide the system with high enough voltage. Thus especially cold climate and sudden performance hogging could prove difficult for older iPhones.


AfterDawn: News

EU rules Uber a transportation service, not a digital company

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Dec 2017 13:50

EU rules Uber a transportation service, not a digital company European Court of Justice has ruled today on the Uber case where the US-based ride-hailing app was looking to be classified as digital company. Instead the EU court decided that it is regulated under transportation laws.

Uber has been calling itself a digital technology company that provides a platform for drivers and customers to connect. While the company itself wants to be classified as an IT company delivering digital products, it is already considered a transportation company in many countries.

The highest court in the EU, however, makes Uber's case harder to make, and is definitely a setback for them. Regulations for transportation companies are harsher than the ones for digital enterprises, and that might not only hurt the company's bottom line but remove it from some spaces altogether.

Even though the ruling was clearly not what the transportation company was looking for, according to Uber's statement it doesn't affect most of its business within the EU. This, however, was because it was looking to be freed from much of the regulations and the situation is not optimal to begin with.

AfterDawn: News

Google to roll out Chrome ad blocker in February

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 20 Dec 2017 12:20

Google to roll out Chrome ad blocker in February Google surprised many of us earlier this year by announcing that it will be adding an ad blocker element to its Chrome browser. The search giant that has made its billions thanks to advertisements realized that it can't stop people from using ad blockers.

Obviously Chrome's native ad blocker is not going to work quite like the rest of them. It will block all the advertisements from a single page if it has even one obtrusive ad. So it basically tries to block ads from sites with obtrusive ads, not ads in general. There are no exceptions for Google's own ads.

Now Google has revealed that the new feature will enter the Chrome pipeline in just a couple of months. Previously it has been unclear in what update the ad blocker will be enabled, but now Google says that it will start the rollout in February.

Chrome version 64 will be released in late January and version 65 in early March, so the ad blocker will be deployed somewhere in the middle. The launch will be gradual, and Google probably wants to make sure it doesn't lose too much ad revenue due to the new feature before adding it worldwide.

AfterDawn: News

Analyst: iPhone X might not be as good as expected

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 17 Dec 2017 11:37

Analyst: iPhone X might not be as good as expected After releasing what is the most revolutionary change in iPhones since perhaps their introduction, Apple has been suffering from shortages that accumulated from pre-release production problems.

Lately, however, the queues to buy yourself an iPhone X have been shortening, and some analysts have suggested that this is not due to lower demand but instead Apple has managed to iron out most of the production problems with its suppliers.

All seems to be well in the Appleland, and this would only suggest a new record-breaking Holiday quarter?

Well, hold on for a bit, other analysts say as reported by Pocketnow. Cowen and Company analyst Karl Ackerman has reported that demand for Apple's latest and greatest has actually been lower than initially was expected. According to Ackerman people have gravitated towards previous iPhone models, including iPhone SE that costs barely a third of a brand new iPhone X.

Ackerman says that it's not necessarily the problems with availability that has disincentivized people from buying the $999 flagship.

It's not horrible for Apple, though, as they are still expected to ship nearly 80 million iPhones in the first fiscal year of 2018, that includes the Holiday season. That could very well still be a record amount of iPhones shipped, and with a higher price point it would likely also break revenue records. Current record is 78.3 million iPhones from last year same time.

AfterDawn: News

YouTube VR is now available on Steam, supports HTC Vive

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Dec 2017 14:38

YouTube VR is now available on Steam, supports HTC Vive The future is in virtual reality. Or augmented reality. Or mixed reality.

Clearly people are looking for some other reality than the one we live in. It seems like in the last few years every technology company on the face of the earth has developed some kind of alternative reality device or application.

Of course the largest online video service YouTube is no different, not least because its owned by Google, who likes to innovate with technology. Now YouTube VR, the virtual reality app for YouTube, has been made available on Steam.

You can download the app starting today from the Steam store. The app supports both 360 degree VR videos as well as VR180, a format meant for easier and cheaper to film 180 degree clips. There's also support for traditional video which can be viewed with a VR headset.

To get the entire benefit of the app you obviously need a virtual reality device. Unfortunately at this point the support for such devices is fairly limited as you'll have to have HTC Vive.

There are still bugs and the device support is obviously something to be improved, and that's probably why it was released via Steam Early Access, but one can hope for quick updates in the future.

AfterDawn: News

Spotify wants EU to stop Apple from taking shares from subscriptions

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 15 Dec 2017 14:23

Spotify wants EU to stop Apple from taking shares from subscriptions European streaming music services aren't happy with Apple taking royalties from them, and they've signed a plea for European Commission to pressure Apple, The Verge reports.

According to Spotify, Deezer, and others, Apple shouldn't be taking 30 percent royalties when user purchases their Premium streaming service. The share is the same as for any other subscription purchase on Apple's App Store, but streaming services aren't happy about that.

They claim that this gives Apple's own music service an unfair advantage when they lose 30 percent from already razor thin margins. To avoid this trap they've started offering a link to their own website where you can buy the subscription without Apple taking a share.

Obviously for a user that doesn't really care about who gets the money as long as they get the service an extra step might be all too much. That is why the streaming companies are now pleading EU to stop Apple from collecting shares on competing music subscriptions.

AfterDawn: News

News agencies want Facebook and Google to pay for linking

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Dec 2017 12:51

News agencies want Facebook and Google to pay for linking Nine European news agencies have signed on a plea which details that the U.S. online giants should be required to pay for using their content as the copyright holders. They are claiming that the social media companies are abusing content creators to further their own businesses.

The plea claims, according to Yahoo News that Facebook, among others, has become a de facto news aggregator for many people who read content created by these news agencies. However, they say that Facebook doesn't compensate the news agencies in a fair manner for using their content.

Their contention is that the stories written by the news agencies are now part of the core business for Facebook and Google even though they themselves do not participate in creating the content or hold rights for them. Furthermore the payments are too small or nonexistent.

According to them, the profitability of news has been in decline for years because these platforms haven't had to pay for their content that they distribute, meanwhile the profits of said internet companies have been booming.

In Spain this debate was already started in 2014 as Google was required by law, a newly enacted one at that, to pay royalties to Spanish news agencies for linking to their content in their Google News web service. Google instead declined to pay and closed their website in Spain.


AfterDawn: News

Disney acquires 21st Century Fox for $66 billion

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Dec 2017 12:28

Disney acquires 21st Century Fox for $66 billion The media conglomerates Disney and 21st Century Fox have agreed on a deal in which the former will acquire most of the latter for a whopping $66 billion. After the acquisition Fox will retain control of only the news and sports businesses, including Fox News.

Disney will get a host of immaterial property, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises, which also means that this is the first time all Marvel franchises are controlled by the same company. One of the more important TV franchises to move to Disney is The Simpsons, a Fox show that's been running for nearly 30 years.

In addition to immaterial rights, Disney will gain control of the movie studio 20th Century Fox, Fox-owned cable TV networks that include FX and National Geographic, as well as stakes in British pay TV operator Sky and Asian network Star TV.

Disney will also get the 30 percent stake Fox owned of Hulu, which will make Disney the majority owner of the online streaming service with 60 percent ownership. The rest are split with Comcast (30%) and Time Warner (10%).

Rupert Murdoch will gain a five percent stake in Disney and the rest of the payment will be in cash. The cash portion is said to be around $52 billion. Murdoch has been trying to shed some of the extra baggage of less profitable entertainment branches and wants to focus more on news and sports.


AfterDawn: News

The iPhone's rumored in-display fingerprint sensor now coming to phones

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Dec 2017 12:14

The iPhone's rumored in-display fingerprint sensor now coming to phones You remember the rumors about in-screen fingerprint readers early this year, right? The iPhone X was supposed to have either face detection or a in-display fingerprint sensor that is able to read your fingerprint through the screen.

Back then many would've put their money on fingerprint sensor rather than a 3D face detector. Now we know that Face ID was indeed Apple's choice, for probably good reasons, but the in-display fingerprint sensor is not dead.

In fact, Synaptics, the company behind many a I/O device, has announced a new product that is just that. Even though we saw some early prototypes of in-display sensors from some Chinese manufacturers already before the new iPhone, there never was a good enough product to be inserted in high-end smartphones.

But even earlier Synaptics had developed a sensor by the name of FS9100 that was supposed to work through a 1mm glass. However, it never panned out as the company had hoped, and never really saw the light of the day in smartphones. This meant that some manufacturers had to move the fingerprint sensor to less optimal spots – *ahem* Samsung *ahem*.

Now that the new product has been announced, Synaptics is ready to give it another go. The FS9500, marketed under the name Clear ID, can read your fingerprint through the thick glass of the smartphone display. As a reminder that Apple's Face ID seems to be frustratingly slow, Synaptics said that its new reader is twice as fast as 3D face detection.


AfterDawn: News

Google expands YouTube TV to 34 new markets

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Dec 2017 11:35

Google expands YouTube TV to 34 new markets YouTube TV is Google's answer, not unlike Sling TV or PlayStation Vue, to people's declining satisfaction with cable TV. Unfortunately it is only available in very limited markets.

Now, however, Google has expanded it to new markets in the U.S. YouTube TV has tweeted that it is now available in 34 new metro areas. That almost doubles the available markets to a total of 83.

The new markets include Green Bay, Tucson, Tulsa, San Diego, San Antonio, New Orleans, Knoxville and Spokane. The complete list can be found from the FAQ at YouTube TV's official site, just scroll all the way down. Or watch the little video embedded within the tweet below.

YouTube TV is an internet only TV service that offers various cable TV channels for $35 a month. A total of some 50 channels, depending on the market, include Bravo, Disney Channel, ESPN, FX, National Geographic, and others. You can both watch the channels live or record the shows for later viewing.


AfterDawn: News

Apple bought music detector Shazam, allegedly for $300 million

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Dec 2017 14:20

Apple bought music detector Shazam, allegedly for $300 million Yesterday there were rumors that Apple was going to close a deal on Shazam. A deal, worth hundreds of millions, was later confirmed as Apple released a statement saying they've acquired the music detection service.

Apple and Shazam have been working together for a while now. After the release of iOS 8, iPhone's search has been integrated with Shazam detection. You can identify a song playing in the background just by pressing a button.

Shazam has a long history in music detection but it became widely recognized after the introduction of their iPhone app nearly 10 years ago.

Apple has not disclosed any financial details of the acquisition but according to early rumors from TechCrunch the deal was valued at $300 million. Even though that's a big number, the company was valued at $1 billion during an investment in early 2015, which is a big drop.

For Apple the app itself might not be super valuable, and perhaps the app is indeed nowadays valued quite a bit less than it was in 2015, but Apple has a huge appetite for AI expertise. In the mobile space the company is mainly fighting against Google, whose AI and machine learning prowess is arguably far above Apple's.


AfterDawn: News

Atari's upcoming retro gaming console soon available for pre-order

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Dec 2017 12:50

Atari's upcoming retro gaming console soon available for pre-order You remember the new Atari gaming device we told you about first in June? The one with a retro look topped by a wooden front panel?

If not, well, you should probably go back and read about it. Now, however, we're getting very close to its release. According to CNET the Ataribox – that's what Atari calls it – is going to be available for pre-order later this week.

Ataribox is slated for Q2 2018 release, so from April to June next year, but later this week, Thursday to be precise, you could make sure you'll get yours as soon as it hits the stores. I also could be that the availability will still be very limited, if Nintendo's retro console is any indication. However, Ataribox is much more expensive at $250 to $300, and might not attract as many casual buyers.

Atari's new gaming device is a retro-spirited gaming console that was clearly inspired by Nintendo's mini NES, unveiled last year. It looks a lot like the original, and very legendary, Atari 2600. The device is primarily meant for retro games, and it comes with dozens of original titles from decades ago, but you can create new games for the AMD and Linux powered device.


AfterDawn: News

Apple brought pre-orders to App Store

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Dec 2017 11:33

Apple brought pre-orders to App Store Apple has released a new feature in its App Store. The application store now allows users to pre-order apps built for iOS, macOS, and tvOS.

In a nutshell this means that the developers will get an indication of how popular the app seems to be as well as gives them another type of marketing possibility. Pre-orders were first introduces in beta form a year ago. Apple's trial was done with the help of Nintendo whose Super Mario Run was being released.

It was the first app on the App Store that you could pre-order before it became officially available, but now any developer can take advantage of the same hype generating marketing plot.

You can also find a new subcategory within App Store's Games category that promotes some of the games currently in pre-order.

When buying a product that hasn't been released yet, there's clearly always a possibility that you might not end up liking it. It is possible, though, that you'll get a better deal of the app when you pre-order it, so it's definitely a double edged sword.

You can find more about App Store pre-ordering from Apple's official website.


AfterDawn: News

Beloved VLC has updated its Android offering

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Dec 2017 9:58

Beloved VLC has updated its Android offering One of the most popular PC media players of all time, VLC, has been on mobile for quite some time, but unfortunately the update schedule has been fairly irregular. In fact, it's been more than a year since the last major update to the Android version.

Now there are some good news for you Android users, though.

VLC has finally released an updated version of their Android software. Previous larger update was the 2.0 that was released last year. Now VLC for Android has been updated to version 2.5.

As you might imagine, v2.5 is a rather major update that bring new features and updated functionality. First of all, VLC now supports Android Auto which adapts the UI while on the road. It also now supports 360 degree videos, a feature first added to desktop VLC November 2016, and with the newest Android Oreo version on board you can also enjoy videos in PiP (picture-in-picture) mode.

The user interface has been also revamped a little. This includes a new day and night modes, video gallery that now shows content information better, and you can even select to play multiple files as a playlist.


AfterDawn: News

Apple to pay Ireland $15 billion in unpaid taxes

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 05 Dec 2017 9:05

Apple to pay Ireland $15 billion in unpaid taxes Apple, like most companies, do not like taxes. In fact, it tries to avoid them in myriad of ways, but mostly within legal boundaries. However, not always can even the world's highest valued company get away with their tax schemes.

One of these happened for years between Apple and Ireland. The EU member state offered Apple special protections against taxes with agreements that angered the European Commission.

According to EU, Ireland's tax agreement with Apple is considered state aid which is illegal for a EU member state. Both Apple and Ireland have been against EU's decision, and Ireland has refused, or been very slow in the least, to charge Apple the taxes.

Lately EU has been pressuring Ireland to collect the $15 billion in taxes that Apple owes them, even to the extent that it has threatened to sue Ireland. Meanwhile, Apple has been moving their assets to other tax havens, at least to the island of Jersey, Paradise Papers revealed earlier this year – totally unrelated, right?


AfterDawn: News

Netflix will bring House of Cards back for one last hurrah – without Kevin Spacey

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Dec 2017 14:26

Netflix will bring House of Cards back for one last hurrah – without Kevin Spacey For Netflix one of the most important moves towards becoming an original content powerhouse, like it is today, was to release House of Cards, one might argue. It was the first truly spectacular tv show part of the Netflix Originals branding.

The series went on to wow the crowd but also managed to achieve the first ever Emmy for Netflix. However, now it has become a burden for Netflix.

The continuation, and ultimately the end, of the show has been in question as the star actor and executive producer of House of Cards, Kevin Spacey, has been in the forefront for all the wrong reasons.

Space was accused by a fellow actor, Anthony Rapp, of sexual harassment that happened in the 80s when Rapp was only 14 years old. After the allegations others followed suit claiming that such inappropriate action were take by Spacey even during the House of Cards set.

Netflix, even though spacing (no pun intended) themselves from the House of Cards lead, has now confirmed that House of Cards will indeed return with another season. It will, however, be the last season.

Obviously the sixth season will have to be largely rewritten, which will take time. At this point there is no schedule for the release, at least not one that Netflix wants public, but Netflix says that filming will start in 2018 and the last season will consist of eight episodes.


AfterDawn: News

Google bringing HDR-videos to Android Chrome

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 04 Dec 2017 11:55

Google bringing HDR-videos to Android Chrome Google's Chrome browser is by far the most popular mobile browser on the planet, thanks to world dominated by Android phones. The mobile platform's default browser, however, isn't just popular because it's default, it offers some excellent functionality, which is why people probably don't want to switch to Opera, Firefox, or recently released Android version of Microsoft Edge.

Now the search giant is updating its mobile browser with a new feature, Android Police reports. The information comes from changes in the code recorded by the Chromium team's Gerrit, a collaboration tool for the developers.

According to the changes, the Android version of Chrome is going to soon get HDR metadata support for VP9 codec. What this means is that the default browser on Android phones will likely soon support HDR videos.

HDR, or high dynamic range, offers better and more vivid colors, better contrast, and an all around better picture. It has been touted one of the most important innovations in TVs specifically, even offering more improvement to image quality than resolution upgrade from Full HD to 4K.


AfterDawn: News

Google offers a free Home Mini for Nest buyers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2017 11:44

Google offers a free Home Mini for Nest buyers Black Friday, and even Cyber Monday, are far in the past already, but fear not, there are still some offers in store that might want you to invest in some sweet tech gifts.

One of the more succulent offerings comes from Google that has decided to help you start with a smart home setup by bundling a smart speaker with a Nest purchase. What's even better, the Google Home Mini is for free.

This deal is available until the end of the year, so you can grab one even with Christmas gift happens to be a suitable gift card. The only requirements are that the Nest product, or single products bundle is valued at $99 or more, and you buy the products from Google Store or Nest Store.

After you've chosen the qualified product you'll be prompted to choose a color for your free Google Home Mini. Colors available are Charcoal and Chalk, so essentially a darker and a lighter shade of gray. Don't forget to add the Google Home Mini to your cart though, according to PhoneArena you'll hate to manually add it if you are using Google Store.


AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm fires back at Apple, new patent lawsuits filed

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Dec 2017 10:27

Qualcomm fires back at Apple, new patent lawsuits filed The patent drama between Qualcomm and Apple is ever-changing it seems. To start the year Apple sued Qualcomm for $1 million for abusing their patents. Then Qualcomm responded during the summer by taking Apple to court for patent infringement themselves.

A few months later, just a few days ago in fact, Apple filed more lawsuits claiming Qualcomm is using their power management patents without consent. And that gets us to today when Qualcomm has filed their latest claims.

Surprisingly Qualcomm is blaming Apple for pretty much exactly what they were sued for. According to Qualcomm, Apple has been using their camera autofocus and power management patents in their new iPhone models.

The three new claims bring the total number of Qualcomm patent complaints to 16, ZDNet reports. In addition to this, Qualcomm is challenging Apple's patent usage at the International Trade Commission (ITC).


AfterDawn: News

Apple developing another chip in-house to next year's iPhone

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Dec 2017 15:20

Apple developing another chip in-house to next year's iPhone Apple has been trying to get less dependent on other chip manufacturers in the recent years. Most importantly they started developing their own graphics processing units that were first deployed in this year's iPhone models.

Now, according to Nikkei Asian Review, sources say that Apple is developing another in-house chip that will probably find its way to future iPhones.

This time around the chip is a power management chip that makes sure battery lasts. Apple's work on iPhones has resulted in fairly good battery life, albeit not anything competitors don't have to offer. However, Apple's battery life work has mostly been done in software, thanks to iOS being very optimized, so there is certainly more they can do with semiconductor development.

Previously power management chips have been developed by Dialog Semicoductor. Previous GPUs on the other hand were developed by Imagination Technologies. In addition to GPUs, and now it seems power management, Apple's in-house development consists of designing the SoCs (e.g. Apple A11 Bionic), AI or so called Neural Engine chips, and image processing chips.


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft brings Edge browser to Android and iOS

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Dec 2017 10:03

Microsoft brings Edge browser to Android and iOS After years and years of development as a part of the Windows 10 ecosystem, Windows 10 Mobile never managed to grow into a proper business. All the bets Microsoft made with Windows 10 Mobile and buying smartphone business from Nokia failed.

After acknowledging that there is no future for Windows 10 smartphones, Microsoft has been focusing heavily on producing better Android and iOS apps. Many of its core software obviously are already on both platforms, including the Office suite and even Cortana, but now Microsoft has added another one to both iOS and Android.

Microsoft has just released their browser, Microsoft Edge, on both Android and iOS. Edge is, of course, the browser that comes with Windows 10 and replaced Internet Explorer, or IE, as the main browser on the platform.

The idea behind this is of course that people that are familiar with the Edge on desktop will start using it on their phones. Maybe a few will even discover it via the mobile version.

After a couple months of beta testing, the app is now available for all to download, so head to Play Store or App Store if you'd like to try out Microsoft's browser offering on your smartphone.

AfterDawn: News

Google Home now understands two questions at once

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Dec 2017 11:53

Google Home now understands two questions at once Google has updated their smart speakers with new type of functionality. As Amazon is ever updating their Echo lineup, consisting now half a dozen devices, and bringing new features via their Alexa app, Google needs to step up their game too.

Now Google has introduced multitasking to Google Home.

Finally, many of you probably think. Now you can ask your Google Home about weather and traffic in one go instead of asking, waiting, and asking again. However, there are a few drawbacks, as CNET notes.

Currently the feature only allows you to ask no more than two questions. Thankfully you aren't limited by things you can string together, unlike the Routines on Amazon Echo. Amazon's Routines only allow you to do certain tasks (including smart home, traffic, news, and weather) together, and you also need to preprogram them with your Alexa app.

Preprogrammed routines do have some other benefits too, though, so you Home owners will be happy to hear that Google is going to bring that type of feature to the Home as well. In the meantime you'll have to work with two questions for two answers.

AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 is now on more than 600 million machines

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 01 Dec 2017 11:43

Windows 10 is now on more than 600 million machines Microsoft released the latest iteration of their computer operating system Windows in July of 2015. Now three and a half years later, Windows 10 has become hugely popular and ever growing.

Windows 10 is clearly one of the more important generations of Windows, and it has numbers to back that up. In 2015 Microsoft claimed that in 2018 Windows 10 will pass the billion user mark if you count all the versions of Windows 10 (including tablets and phones).

While we're not yet in that kind of numbers, and 2018 is just around the corner, Windows 10 has passed an impressive milestone. Currently Windows 10 is used by over 600 million users. And you have to remember that the whole Windows 10 phone thing failed miserably which doesn't really help with the target.

Even if one billion might be a little bit off, Windows 10 is growing rather fast. In May Microsoft said that Windows 10 was in half a billion devices worldwide, which makes give us a 100 million user growth over six months. If the rate continues, and that is a big if, Microsoft would pass 1 billion mark around this time of the year in 2019.

That is not Microsoft's prediction, though, as the company has apparently decided to refrain from commenting on new predictions.

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