AfterDawn: Tech news

News written by Petteri Pyyny

AfterDawn: News

Intel and Qualcomm cease business with Huawei - Effectively kills off Huawei's laptop and PC business, affects phones, too

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 20 May 2019 4:52

Intel and Qualcomm cease business with Huawei - Effectively kills off Huawei's laptop and PC business, affects phones, too After yesterday's decision by Google to revoke Huawei's Android license, more bad news are piling for Huawei. Now, U.S. semiconductor giants Intel and Qualcomm have stopped supplying parts to Huawei.

Even though Huawei has its own chip manufacturing business that produced Kirin chips and others for mobile phones, the company still relies heavily on U.S. chips for most of its other products. Effectively, the decision by Qualcomm and Intel will mean that the Huawei's PC manufacturing business ceases to exist. Only U.S. companies produce chips needed to build x86 compatible computers, at least in scale that is required by a giant like Huawei.

Furthermore, some of the Huawei's phone models - especially those in the high end - use at least some U.S. -made chips - and this will mean trouble for those models, too.

The decision is based on U.S. administration putting Huawei officially to its trade blacklist on Thursday, making it illegal for any U.S. company to do business with Huawei.





AfterDawn: News

Google confirms Huawei ban, says the decision wont affect current Huawei or Honor phones - for now

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 20 May 2019 3:56

Google confirms Huawei ban, says the decision wont affect current Huawei or Honor phones - for now Google has confirmed the yesterday's news about Google revoking Huawei's Android license.

Company said that the decision is based on United States adding Huawei officially to the country's trade blacklist on Thursday and that it is simply obeying the decision made by the U.S. It also states that the decision wont affect the current Huawei phones and that those will still have access to Google's services and updates. However, it is not clear whether the current Huawei phones will continue to receive Android updates or updates to Google services.

Huawei losing its Android license means that it has to rely on open sourced version of Android (AOSP) for its Android updates. This means that all new Android versions will arrive to Huawei models with considerable delay - sometimes the delays between the official Android update and AOSP update have been almost a year or so.

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AfterDawn: News

Google blocked: Huawei phones wont be able to access Gmail, Play Store, new Android versions and more

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 19 May 2019 3:12

Google blocked: Huawei phones wont be able to access Gmail, Play Store, new Android versions and more United States has waged a war against Chinese telecom giant Huawei for some time now. But now the big guys are joining the fight. According to reports, Google will stop all collaboration with Huawei.

Decision means that Huawei phones wont get any new Android updates, ever. It also means that all future Huawei phones will be blocked from accessing Google services. No access to Gmail, no access to Google Play store, etc.

Huawei will still have an access to open sourced versions of Android, but without the access to Google's proprietary services and APIs. Google will also cease all collaboration and support for Huawei that involves Android development and testing, Reuters' sources say.

Google's decision comes shortly after United States officially added Huawei to the U.S. trade blacklist.

Huawei also owns popular sister phone brand, Honor, and the decision applies to that brand, too.

EDIT 20/05/2019: Google has clarified what the decision means to existing Huawei users.

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AfterDawn: News

Ultra-rare Commodore 65 in on sale at eBay - price might hit $20'000 soon

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 11 May 2019 7:01

Ultra-rare Commodore 65 in on sale at eBay - price might hit $20'000 soon Most of the computer fans know the legendary Commodore 54. Even those of you who are too young to personally experience machine might have heard of the computer. But very few have ever heard about Commodore 65, C=64's planned successor.

Commodore, noticing that during the era of 16-bit computers, their old cashcow, Commodore 64 was quickly losing its sales, set up a team to milk the last pennies out of the decade-old Commodore 64. They built a backwards compatible Commodore 65 that added features similar to Commodore's other computer line, Amiga.

C=65 had a built in 3.5" disk drive, high-resolution graphics and CPU at 3.54MHz (C=64 ran at 1MHz) with 128kB of memory (expandable to 1MB) - and most importantly, a C=64 mode, allowing the computer to run C=64's massive software and game selection. Commodore 65 never made it to the market and only appx. 50 - 200 prototypes were ever built.

After Commodore went bankrupt in 1994, its assets were liquidated and the prototypes were sold all across the world.

Since those days, the Commodore 65 has begun one of the most sought-after collectibles in the computing history and some of those few prototypes tend to appear in various online markets for sale. We reported of one such incident 2 years ago when an "almost complete" Commodore 65 was on sale at eBay.

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AfterDawn: News

Finnish bank introduces portrait bank cards

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 06 May 2019 7:06

Finnish bank introduces portrait bank cards The old magnetic strip of debit and credit cards is nowadays rarely used in most of the Western countries, having been mostly replaced by either contactless payments or chip-and-pin payments. Finnish bank S-Pankki has now introduced a line of debit and credit cards that are designed vertically rather than horizontally.

Reasoning behind the design change is that consumers mostly see their cards positioned vertically - either when stored with their phone flip-covers or when paid with chip-and-pin terminals.

The card itself is still the same, standard-sized bank card we all know, but the all the graphical design elements - including the numbers on the card - are positioned so that they're meant to be read when the card is positioned vertically.

S-Pankki is not the first one to do the switch, as some banks have introduced the portrait cards in past two years, too, such as Sterling Bank in the UK. But S-Pankki is one of the largest banks in Finland, whereas most other banks around the world to introduce portrait cards have been "new banks" rather than traditional, big banks.

Traditional 16 digit card number is split into four lines, each having four numbers. Card still has the old, black magnetic strip so the card can still be used in countries where chip-and-pin payments and contactless payments aren't the norm. More info from S-Pankki website (in Finnish).





AfterDawn: News

Soon you'll be able to send messages from WhatsApp to Messenger and Instagram - and vice versa

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 01 May 2019 2:38

Soon you'll be able to send messages from WhatsApp to Messenger and Instagram - and vice versa Facebook owns some of the world's most popular social media and communication channels, but haven't done much to improve their interoperability. This is about to change soon, as the company plans to allow sending private messages between its main messaging platforms: Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp.

The feature was already rumored earlier this year, but it was finally confirmed at yesterday's f8 developer event. It is unclear how the interoperability would exactly work, as WhatsApp relies solely on phone numbers, while Instagram and Messenger require users to create their own accounts. Thus, to what "phone number" would WhatsApp user send a message to when wanting to contact a person who is only in Messenger.

Company didn't give a clear timeline for the change, but it wont happen soon - it seems that the next year is most likely timeline for the roll out.





AfterDawn: News

Facebook wants to know who of your friends you fancy - Secret Crush feature launched

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 01 May 2019 6:35

Facebook wants to know who of your friends you fancy - Secret Crush feature launched Facebook has been tipping its toes with the massive dating app market recently with its Facebook Dating feature, available in handful of countries. Now, company is expanding that business by launching a feature called Secret Crush.

With Secret Crush, one can tag up to 9 of his/her friends as the ones who the user is interested in. To limit the scope, the people added to the Secret Crush list must be either user's friends or friends of the user's friends.

People added to the list wont know about the addition ever, unless they also add the user to their own list. If so, both users will receive a notification from Facebook about the match. According to Facebook, the feature, announced yesterday at the f8 event, wont change the way Facebook newsfeed works, i.e. the people you've added to the lis wont appear more frequently in your newsfeed than without the list.

Secret Crush is part of the Facebook Dating feature, which has been available only in select few countries, including Colombia and Canada. Now the service is expanding to 14 new countries, but yet to the U.S. or any of the Western European countries.

Feature itself is simply a "power to the user" feature - it could be automated, as studies have shown that Facebook actually knows about your love interests before you do.





AfterDawn: News

You can now get Android notifications to your Windows desktop

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 29 Apr 2019 6:56

You can now get Android notifications to your Windows desktop You know the feeling when you're at the office, working with your PC and your phone beeps about some incoming notification and you couldn't be bothered to find and open the phone? No worries, Microsoft has a solution for you!

Latest version of Windows 10, accompanied with the Microsoft's Your Phone app installed on your Android, can now bring all your Android notifications to Windows 10 notification area. This will help, especially with those mobile apps that don't have a web or Windows counterpart at all - SnapChat for example.

The feature relates to Your Phone concept the Microsoft launched last year. At first, installing a Your Phone app and connecting it to your Windows PC would allow one to browse through images and text messages stored in the phone via PC. Since then, the concept has evolved and nowadays, if your phone is in the supported devices list, you can actually mirror your entire phone to your desktop, in its own window.

Now, the latest version of Your Phone now also brings the Android notifications to Windows 10 and ties them into Windows 10's own notification area. The feature is already available to Windows Insider users, but should roll out to all of us in next couple of days. In order to get the notification mirroring, you need to have Android phone with Android 7.0 or newer and Windows 10 with at least version 1803 update available (released in Spring, 2018). More about the Your Phone and its notification mirroring can be found in Microsoft's blog entry. You can download the Your Phone app for Android here.

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AfterDawn: News

Dating app will soon block, blur and alert about incoming d**k pics

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 28 Apr 2019 4:01

Dating app will soon block, blur and alert about incoming d**k pics Women using dating apps are more than familiar with the concept of receiving unsolicited pictures of male genitalia. To the point that one of the biggest dating app developers, a company behind Bumble, Badoo, Chappy and Lumen is developing a technology to block those.

Bumble, the parent company, is developing an AI-based solution that detects such pictures when users send them to other users. If detected, the picture will be blurred and the recipient will be alerted about the image. Recipient will have the ability to show the image, if he/she wants to, but also an ability to report the sender automatically to the company's moderators.

"The safety of our users is without question the number one priority in everything we do and the development of Private Detector is another undeniable example of that commitment," founder of the company said in a statement emailed to Mashable.

Feature, dubbed as "Private Detector", will roll out in June, 2018 to all Bumble's dating apps.





AfterDawn: News

War between PC gaming stores: Epic promises to stop exclusives, *IF* Steam lowers its own cut

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 27 Apr 2019 6:17

War between PC gaming stores: Epic promises to stop exclusives, *IF* Steam lowers its own cut During the past year, the Pc gaming giants have been fighting to dominate the gaming marketplace sector. The war started when Epic Games' got tired of paying an industry-standard 30 percent cut for various platforms, including those of Steam, Google Play and others.

Epic, who has the most cuccessful game of 2018 in its portfolio, Fortnite, has declared an open war against all major app stores and marketplaces. First of all, company has refused to add the Android version of Fortnite to Google Play store and instead, encourages users to download the game from it own servers. By doing this, Epic avoids handing out 30 percent cut of all subsequent in-game purchases to Google.

More importantly, Epic has expanded its own PC gaming store, Epic Store, to host other developers' games, too. And to infuriate gamers - and Valve, who owns Steam . Epic has managed to get several big brand games to be exclusive to its Epic Store. Epic's store takes only 12 pecent cut from developers, which is an extremely lucrative deal for most developers, despite missing out Steam's enormous existing audience.

To put the fight into context: Fortnite has been dubbed as the game with most revenue in a single year, ever. It generated a whopping 2 billion dollar revenue in year 2018. IF Epic would deliver the game only through Steam, Google Play and Apple App Store, it would mean the company would hand out a cool 600 million dollars to marketplaces. Now, other developers with potentially massive hits, understand this and they've been happy to use Epic Store rather than Steam. But the thing that has caused most annoyance among gamers has been the exclusive titles available only through Epic Store.

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AfterDawn: News

Tesla: Full autonomous driving "feature ready" by end of 2019, robotaxi service to launch in 2020

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 22 Apr 2019 5:29

Tesla: Full autonomous driving "feature ready" by end of 2019, robotaxi service to launch in 2020 Tesla just hosted its Tesla Autonomy Day today where it addressed its plans for autonomous driving. Company has massive plans for the near future, if everything goes as they hope fot.

Firstly, Tesla's CEO Elon Musk said that the company expects their autopilot to achieve the "Level 5" autonomous driving by end fo the year, meaning that it would be capable of driving without a human driver in nearly all possible scenarios imaginable.

Secondly, company outlined its plans for the year 2020 with its robotaxi service. Tesla recently changed the lease contracts of its new customers by stating that after the lease period is over, Tesla wont allow the lessee to buy the car, but instead, Tesla will own it. Now, according to Musk, company will use these previously leased cars, mostly Model 3 vehicles, as the core of its planned fully autonomous ride hailing service, dubbed as Tesla robotaxi.

Telsa expects, in company slides, to get first regulatory approvals for the fully autonomous ride hailing service by end of the year 2020.

You can watch the entire presentation here:





AfterDawn: News

Android will soon offer EU users to switch to another search engine and browser

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 18 Apr 2019 8:20

Android will soon offer EU users to switch to another search engine and browser European Union slapped Google a 4.3 billion euro ($5bn) fine last year for breaking EU's competition laws with Android operating system. Now Google has outlined its plans on how it will comply with EU legislation in future.

Google was fined for forcing manufacturers to bundle Google's search engine and Google's browser, Chrome, with the Android operating system if manufacturer wanted to have an access to other Google products. Company was also found guilty of preventing manufacturers to ship devices with modified Android versions, such as Lineage OS.

Basically this meant that if a phone manufacturer wanted to offer, say, Bing as the pre-installed search engine on its devices, Google wouldn't allow company to ship the device with certain Google products, such as YouTube. Most importantly, Google wouldn't allow manufacturers who didn't comply, to install Google Play to their devices, basically forcing users out of the de facto Android app store.

Now, to soften its grip on users, Google will provide two options for Android users in Europe: Firstly, it will ask whether the user would like to install another search provider to their phone. Secondly, Android will offer user to install other web browsers to their phones. If user installs another browser or search engine, Android will also guide user on how to set up the new installation as the system default. Furthermore, Chrome will offer user to choose an alternative search provider to be used within Chrome browser.

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AfterDawn: News

Almost 3 million Americans still use Netflix as a DVD rental service rather than streaming service

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 17 Apr 2019 3:27

Almost 3 million Americans still use Netflix as a DVD rental service rather than streaming service Most of the world knows Netflix only as a gigantic streaming service, but only few people outside the U.S. know that the company was founded as a DVD rental service back in 1998. It might come as a shock that this DVD rental service still exists - and is doing just fine.

Netflix's DVD rental service still works exactly like it used to work: the subscriber pays a flat monthly fee and for that fee receives one DVD by mail to his/her home, along with a pre-paid return envelope. Once the user is done with the DVD, he/she sends the DVD back prompting Netflix to send the user a new DVD in an envelope. The DVDs are shipped from user's "I want these" type of list, in priority order, if the DVD is available. If not, the next in line ships.

Pricing starts from $7.99 for "one DVD disc at a time" service and increases to $14.99 premier pricing, which allows user to have two DVDs rented at the same time - and to use Blu-Ray instead of DVDs. Netflix has revealed in its latest financials that a whopping 2.7 million people in the United States still use the Netflix's DVD.com service.

The reasons behind the decision for some people to stick with DVDs rather than jump the streaming service bandwagon are actually quite logical. In rural areas of the United States, there are still large areas where you can't get a fast-enough Internet connection to watch streaming content - or it simply costs too much.

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AfterDawn: News

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger are all down, globally - again

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 14 Apr 2019 8:59

Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger are all down, globally - again All major Facebook-owned properties, including WhatsApp, Facebook itself, Instagram and Messenger are down all over the world.

The problem seems to be worst in Asia, but reports also from South American countries and Europe are pouring to Twitter about the issue.

Uptime detection site, DownDetector shows that the problems started sometime around 11am UTC today and are currently ongoing.



current status of Facebook at DownDetector.com


For some users, at least in Europe, the services however seem to be working just fine. But some are experiencing problems when sending out WhatsApp messages or posting to Facebook.







AfterDawn: News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London

Written by Petteri Pyyny @ 11 Apr 2019 6:39

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in London WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London today, shortly after Ecuador removed his asylum status.

Assage has been hiding in Ecuador's embassy in London, UK since 2012 when he applied for a asylum status with Ecuador. Country granted him the asylum status, but UK stated that if he moves out of the embassy area, he will be arrested immediately. Thus, he has stayed within the embassy for the past seven years.

Ecuador removed his asylum status today, stating that Assange has breached international laws and should therefor lose his refuge status. Shortly after, he was arrested on warrant issued by London's Westminster magistrates court, issued in June, 2012, when he failed to surrender to the court.

Assange has refused to leave the embassy, stating that he would be extradited to the United States if he'd leave the embassy. In United States, he is likely to face charges related to WikiLeaks data leaks about U.S., including the leak of diplomatic cables back in 2010.

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