AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (1 / 2015)

AfterDawn: News

Spotify to raise $500 million with a value nearing $7 billion

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Jan 2015 12:36

Spotify to raise $500 million with a value nearing $7 billion Unlimited streaming music giant Spotify is working on raising $500 million in new funding valuing the company at about $7 billion.

The raise would be Spotify's largest to date and its first since November 2013, when it raised $250 million from venture capital investors.

If true, such a huge investment round would likely delay an IPO, which has been planned over the past year. Besides venture capitalist, the major record labels combined own about 15 percent of the company, as well.

Spotify has over 60 million users, and 15 million paying subscribers. In 2013, the company had revenue of €747 million ($842 million) but lost €57.8 million ($65 million) and the company has never been profitable. With massive competition and most of the revenue going to royalties, it is unclear how soon the company could even become profitable.

Source:
WSJ




AfterDawn: News

Adobe, Autodesk sue retailer Forever 21 for using pirated software like Photoshop

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jan 2015 11:15

Adobe, Autodesk sue retailer Forever 21 for using pirated software like Photoshop Popular fast fashion retailer Forever 21 has been sued by Adobe, Autodesk and Corel over their alleged use of pirated software including Photoshop.

Adobe filed suit claiming that they found 63 instances of copyright infringement for software such as Photoshop, Acrobat and Illustrator and Autodesk and Corel found instances of pirated copies of Autodesk, WinZip and PaintShopPro.

The company claims to have registration numbers and dates for each instance of piracy, which it claims is "willful, intentional, and malicious copyright infringement." The companies have asked the court for an injunction and damages to cover lost revenue, court costs, and additional damages for willful infringment.

Forever 21 had revenue of $4 billion last year so it is unclear why employees were using pirated software on their systems.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Amazon launches its own enterprise email service: WorkMail

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jan 2015 10:41

Amazon launches its own enterprise email service: WorkMail For years, Microsoft's Exchange has been the defacto service for the enterprise world and now Amazon wants to take a bite out of the monopoly.

The e-commerce giant has announced the launch of WorkMail, an enterprise secure email and calendar platform.

Similar to existing services, you can use WorkMail with existing email clients including as far back as Outlook 2007, you can share inboxes, share calendars and add a global, company-wide address book, an important perk for small or larger companies.

On the security end, Amazon took its experience from AWS and is ensuring the service is as secure as possible. The company uses encrypted private keys and will be even let clients choose the geographic region to store their emails. Scared of the NSA spying? Store them elsewhere, no problem.

For pricing, Amazon does not break the mold and will cost $4 per user per month for a 50GB mailbox. Amazon expects WorkMail to launch in the Q2.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft unveils Outlook for iOS and Android

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jan 2015 9:46

Microsoft unveils Outlook for iOS and Android Microsoft has unveiled their Outlook app for Android and iOS devices today, and it is quickly gaining praise for being one of the best email apps ever.

Over the coming months, Microsoft will discontinue their previous Outlook.com app and their Office 365 Outlook apps, none of which worked particularly great and replace it with the new Outlook apps.

Microsoft purchased email app Acompli for $200 million last year and that app is the basis of the new Outlook apps. "We brought that team in and it's now a core part of the our Outlook team," said Microsoft's Julia White.

The new Outlook apps will support Office 365, Exchange, Outlook.com, Yahoo! Mail, Gmail and most other email providers. In addition, the new app will allow you to send attachments through cloud services like Dropbox, OneDrive and Google Drive, allowing for larger files to be sent.

There is one major caveat to note. The iOS version (for iPhone and iPad) is a full release, while the Android version is considered a "Preview" due to Android hugely varying "hardware ecosystem." Expect a fully supported version for Android in the coming months.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft preparing to invest in Cyanogen and its goal of taking down Google

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Jan 2015 2:48

Microsoft preparing to invest in Cyanogen and its goal of taking down Google Cyanogen, the maker of the CyanogenMod operating system based on Android, may have a powerful new investor.

Sources claim that Microsoft is prepared to invest in the startup, especially as the company is preparing a version of CyanogenMod that does not need to be tied to Google or its apps.

Microsoft would be part of the $70 million expected to be raised in the coming weeks that values Cyanogen at over $800 million. Of course, the move would be unorthodox for the software giant as it offers its own Windows Phone operating system and sells nearly 40 million units per year. It appears that Microsoft wants to be part of the team that takes some power away from Google's near monopoly in the smartphone industry.

Recently, Cyanogen CEO Kirt McMaster made bold statements, specifically saying "We're going to take Android away from Google."

There are over 50 million people using some version of CyanogenMod, and McMaster says nearly 9000 developers are voluntarily working on building the nightly builds of the operating system.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft's new Spartan browser will support extensions

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2015 10:54

Microsoft's new Spartan browser will support extensions Last week, Microsoft announced its Internet Explorer successor, codenamed Project Spartan, a browser experience focused on the "modern web."

Spartan will include a new rendering engine for better performance, will allow you to use your finger (for touch displays) to annotate webpages (or a keyboard and mouse), will include a reading list to save content and sync to other devices, has a reading mode that clears away ads and other noise for easier reading, and will also have the voice activated personal assistant Cortana tech built right in.

In addition, it appears that Spartan will finally bring extension support. Spartan will launch with Windows 10 across PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Microsoft also appears to be testing ways for Chrome extension developers to port their popular extensions over to Spartan.




AfterDawn: News

YouTube puts the final nail in the coffin for Flash, as videos now default to HTML5

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2015 9:57

YouTube puts the final nail in the coffin for Flash, as videos now default to HTML5 In 2011, YouTube began supporting the HTML5 < video > tag for video delivery, helping to start the end for Adobe's often maligned Flash tech.

Today, Google has announced that the HTML5 < video > tag is now default for all videos when used in Chrome, Firefox beta, Safari 8 and IE 11.

For those that are more technically inclined, YouTube spelled out just what had to improve in the last four years before they could truly kill off Flash:

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AfterDawn: News

Sony to cut 1000 more jobs from struggling smartphone division

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2015 9:36

Sony to cut 1000 more jobs from struggling smartphone division According to new reports, Sony is planning to layoff another 1000 employees from its struggling smartphone division.

Most of the jobs are in Europe and China and would be in addition to the 1000 already announced last year.

Employment at Sony's mobile division will drop by 30 percent, to around 5000 by the end of the fiscal year that ends March 2016.

Sony's smartphone struggles have been well televised as the company tries to find ways to sell its Xperia devices to the masses, with little success.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm confirms it lost a major customer for the Snapdragon 810 chip and is forced to cut earnings outlook

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2015 9:12

Qualcomm confirms it lost a major customer for the Snapdragon 810 chip and is forced to cut earnings outlook Qualcomm confirmed today that they lost a major customer for their flagship Snapdragon 810 chip, causing the company to revise its earnings outlook down.

Without actually saying it, the company seems to have suggested that Samsung was the major customer that moved away from the 810, which is in line with reports we have been hearing over the past week that Samsung was having overheating issues when using the chip in its upcoming Galaxy S6.

The Snapdragon 810 is still slated to be featured in about 60 devices this year, and that the chip does not have heating issues. Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf said the problems were limited to one customer and that "we just wish it had won one more design."

Unlike nearly all Qualcomm processors, the 810 used a licensed core rather than a Qualcomm customized one, in an attempt to get a 64-bit processor mass-produced quicker. The CEO promised the next premium chip will be 64-bit and use a Qualcomm-customized core.

Citing the Samsung fiasco, the company reduced their yearly outlook for profits and revenue, causing the stock to drop 8 percent, to yearly lows.

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AfterDawn: News

Evleaks leaks alleged HTC One M9 renders

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2015 8:46

Evleaks leaks alleged HTC One M9 renders Ahead of the company's March unveiling date for the device, Evan Blass aka @EVleaks has posted two renders of the upcoming HTC One M9, the successor to the popular M8 device released last year.

If the renders prove accurate, there will be two models of the M9, with one destined to be a phablet with a different look.

Although it is hard to tell from the pic, the designs do look sleek, and seem to be a step away from the design of the M8, which is a relief as there had been plenty of rumors that seemed to suggest HTC was just upgrading the inside and not the outside.

The phablet model also has a large home button, which is rumored to be housing a fingerprint scanner otherwise it makes no sense for the device to have a non-virtual button.

We will know more in March, but for now take a look at Evleak's post, which shows his history of leaking important HTC devices:

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AfterDawn: News

Apple shipped their 1 billionth iOS device last year, and they decided to keep it

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 7:30

Apple shipped their 1 billionth iOS device last year, and they decided to keep it Apple has announced a major milestone for the iOS operating system: 1 billion devices shipped.

CEO Tim Cook says the company reached the milestone on November 22nd: "It was truly a momentous quarter for iOS. On November 22, we shipped our 1 billionth iOS device. It was a space-gray 64-gigabyte iPhone 6 Plus, which we've saved here at Apple. One billion devices is an almost unfathomable milestone and we are all incredibly proud to be a part of it."

The executive added that the company sold about 34,000 iPhones "every hour, 24 hours a day, every day of the quarter" totaling a record 74.5 million when all was said and done. iOS is the operating system of choice for the iPod Touch, iPhone and iPad.

Google's Android operating system reached the same milestone last year, as well.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Tim Cook confirms: Apple Watch shipping in April

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 7:14

Tim Cook confirms: Apple Watch shipping in April Apple CEO Tim Cook put all the rumors to rest today and announced that the Apple Watch will begin shipping in April.

Cook says development for the watch is "on track" but did not give a specific release date.

Despite an unveiling event in which the company showed off what the device looks like and does, there are still quite a few important details that consumers are in the dark about. Apple says the device starts at $349 for the base model, but we do not know what the more expensive variations will cost. It is also unclear how Apple will sell the device given the fact that there will be plenty of customization options for each of the models. Obviously, the watch will sell online with easy customization but how will that work in stores? Finally, there have been reports recently of disappointing battery life for the watch, which will not likely make it even a full 20 hours before needing a charge, even with little use.

Apple analyst Ming Kuo wrote today in a client note that the company is also seeing supply issues and will not have more than 3 million units available at launch.

It seems that Apple Watch fans will have to wait a little longer to get their hands on the device, or even know how much it is going to cost.




AfterDawn: News

Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones last quarter

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 7:02

Apple sold 74.5 million iPhones last quarter Apple sold a record amount of iPhones over the holiday quarter, easily beating out analyst expectations and crushing their previous sales records.

The company sold 74.5 million of the devices, up 45 percent year-over-year, and up large from the previous quarter. Perhaps even more importantly for Apple, the iPhone average selling price increased to $687, from under $670 previously. This means consumers were buying more expensive devices, like the iPhone 6 Plus.

Apple set their record quarter thanks to finally offering an iPhone with a reasonably large screen. The iPhone 6 has a 4.7-inch display and the iPhone 6 Plus has a 5.5-inch display, both far and away the largest offered by the company. Millions of Apple fans waited patiently with their iPhone 4S or iPhone 5 to upgrade, and that time was now.

After such a huge quarter, isn't it prudent to think that Apple will sell less devices in the future? Apple CEO Tim Cook doesn't think so. The executive says that only 12 percent of Apple's current installed base has upgraded to a new iPhone and that the iPhone 6 had the largest amount of "Android Switchers" since the iPhone 4S, which shows that Google's OS' dominance may be slightly waning. Finally, Cook says the iPhone 6 had millions of sales from consumers buying their first iPhone, or even their first smartphone. For awhile, especially abroad, there will be plenty more of those.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple just had one of the best quarters in corporate history

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 6:47

Apple just had one of the best quarters in corporate history Apple just had its best quarter of all-time, selling an incredible amount of iPhones and bringing in the highest quarterly profit in the history of the world.

For the quarter, the company had revenue of $74.6 billion, up 30 percent year-over-year and a net profit of $18 billion, up 37 percent year-over-year.

The company now has $178 billion in cash, meaning they can buy nearly any tech company in the world with the exception of Facebook, Alibaba, Google and Microsoft.

Gross margins came in at 39.9 percent compared to the 38.5 percent expected, thanks to stronger sales of higher margin items. Across the board, Apple revealed higher sales than expected with the exception of the iPad, which continues to be in "limbo" for the company.

We will break down some of the more important sales figures in upcoming articles.




AfterDawn: News

LG plans to sue Qualcomm over reported custom Snapdragon processor made for Samsung

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 6:17

LG plans to sue Qualcomm over reported custom Snapdragon processor made for Samsung Earlier this week we reported that Samsung was not happy with Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon 810 chip which was supposedly overheating.

There were then reports that Qualcomm, to appease a massive customer, would be creating a custom 810 chip for Samsung to make sure they could use it for the upcoming Galaxy S6.

LG, who is using a standard Snapdragon 810 chip for their upcoming devices, is not a fan of this move, and may be seeking legal action against Qualcomm if they do in fact create a custom chip. The anger is not misplaced. Qualcomm has publicly stated that the chip does not overheat, and LG agreed. By creating a custom version, Qualcomm would be admitting to the issue and that could take sales away from LG if consumers are scared their phone may overheat.

So far, LG has announced the chipset for its G Flex 2 curved device which will be officially unveiled at next month's Mobile World Congress event, giving very little time for a full redesign.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft reports record Lumia and Surface sales, strong Xbox sales

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 6:05

Microsoft reports record Lumia and Surface sales, strong Xbox sales Despite a generally disappointing earnings report, there were a few bright spots for Microsoft, who announced some record earnings in a few categories.

In the hardware categories that Microsoft has been focusing on, there were some hits.

The company sold 10.5 million Lumia phones, with revenues of $2.3 billion. Last quarter those figures were 9.3 million and $2.6 billion, showing that the average price for Lumia devices went way down. The company sold $1.1 billion worth of Surface tablets, higher than the $908 million in revenue it brought in for the devices last quarter.

Regardless, the actual amount of phones and tablets sold hit record highs for the quarter, which must make Microsoft happy even if they are not making any money.

Microsoft also sold 6.6. million Xbox consoles, although the company did not break down how many were Xbox 360 and how many were Xbox One. This was a drop year-over-year from 7.4 million but that quarter had the launch of the Xbox One, so the drop makes some sense. Over the holidays, Microsoft slashed the price of the Xbox One, which led to a boost in sales and likely the strongest quarter yet for the next-gen console.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft's stock craters following earnings report

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 5:49

Microsoft's stock craters following earnings report Yesterday, Microsoft announced their quarterly earnings and the company's stock was destroyed today following the not-so-hot results.

The company had revenues of $26.47 billion for their fiscal 2015 Q2, and profits were $0.71 cents per share ($5.86 billion). Both of the headline numbers were in-line with what was expected, but profits were down nearly 9 percent year-over-year.

Despite the seemingly strong numbers, the company's stock fell nearly 10 percent as investors were scared by some of the other data. Commercial licensing of Windows and Office to business customers saw a hiccup overseas due to the conditions in China and Japan and a strong U.S. dollar (nearing 10 year highs) has reduced profits from overseas.

Additionally, now that Windows XP is officially dead, the upgrade cycle for newer Windows is seemingly over, as well and other sales fell across the board for Microsoft. Windows Pro edition revenue fell 13 percent as did non-Pro revenue. Windows volume licensing revenue only grew 3%.




AfterDawn: News

Here is the iPhone 6 clone that runs Android

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 12:20

Here is the iPhone 6 clone that runs Android Chinese OEM Dakele has unveiled their latest smartphone, the Dakele 3, a clone of the iPhone 6 that runs Android.

From a design standpoint, the devices are identical. The Dakele 3 has grey aluminum curved edges and a black face. The home button is circular just like the iPhone (although it is notably missing Touch ID). The back is identical, as well, minus the slight bump for the camera.

Under the hood, the device's specs are solid, as well. The Dakele 3 has a 5-inch display with 1080p resolution, 3GB RAM, a 64-bit Mt6752 octa-core processor clocked at 1.7Ghz, Mali-T760 GPU, and 16GB internal storage. Even the cameras are solid, with a 13MP rear camera and an 8MP camera up front for FaceTime, err, video chatting.

Most importantly, the device is priced at just 1500 yuan ($250 USD), a third of the price of an unlocked iPhone 6.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google expanding Google Fiber to four new cities

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 11:49

Google expanding Google Fiber to four new cities Although still unconfirmed, it appears that Google is expanding its gigabit Internet Fiber service to four new cities, including its biggest metro yet.

According to multiple reports, Fiber is headed to Nashville, Tenn.; Charlotte, N.C.; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Atlanta, Georgia.

Atlanta would be far and away the largest metro city to receive the fast Internet service which is over 15 times faster than most ISP's "high-speed" options.

Google had placed the four cities on their "Future of Fiber" list, but there is never a time frame for Fiber.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Twitter unveils group direct messages and new mobile video features

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 11:34

Twitter unveils group direct messages and new mobile video features Twitter has unveiled a few features that it previously announced in September, including group direct messages.

Explains Twitter: "The group function lets you start conversations with any of your followers and they don't all need to follow one another in order to chat. You can create a group in just a few taps. When you're added to a group, you'll get a notification. If you're brand new to Direct Messages, here's a good resource to learn more."

The experience will mirror what most mobile users are already doing via other apps, such as WhatsApp, GroupMe or good old texting.

In addition, Twitter will now allow you to capture and edit videos right from within the app.

Says the microblogging giant: "Tweets have been more than 140 characters for some time. The Twitter you experience today is rich and immersive, full of images, gifs, Vines, audio files and videos from some of the world's most recognizable figures and brands. And starting today, everyone will soon be able to seamlessly capture, edit and share videos right from the Twitter app, too.

We designed our camera to be simple to use so you can capture and share life's most interesting moments as they happen. In just a few taps you can add a video to unfolding conversations, share your perspective of a live event, and show your everyday moments instantly, without ever having to leave the app. Viewing and playing videos is just as simple: videos are previewed with a thumbnail and you can play them with just one tap."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google wireless service will reportedly be able to switch between Wi-Fi hotspots, T-Mobile and Sprint for best signal

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 10:58

Google wireless service will reportedly be able to switch between Wi-Fi hotspots, T-Mobile and Sprint for best signal According to the WSJ, Google's upcoming mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) service will be able to switch between T-Mobile, Sprint and Wi-Fi hotspots instantly to route your voice, text and data traffic through the best available signal.

The service, which was just reported on last week but is still not confirmed by Google, is expected to go live by June and will be nationwide.

For the rumors to be true, Google would have to offer only devices that can connect to all the spectrum bands that Sprint and T-Mobile currently use, and have the ability to dynamically switch when a signal weakens. By breaking dependency on just one carrier, Google appears to be caring more about connectivity than anything else.

The new report also confirmed previous reports that Sprint has added a "volume trigger" to its contract, meaning if Google's service becomes very popular, Sprint can renegotiate or terminate their deal.

MVNOs have seen varying success in the U.S., but FreedomPop, Net10 and Republic Wireless are household names at this point.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Facebook apologizes for small downtime

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 10:19

Facebook apologizes for small downtime Last night, Facebook and a number of other sites went down for around 30 minutes, leading to suggestions that the sites might be under attack.

Instagram, Tinder, MySapce, AIM and Hipchat were also down for varying times and the Lizard Squad, the group that took down Xbox Live and PSN last month, were quick to suggest they were responsible for the downtime. It appears now the group had nothing to do with the site outage.

Facebook says the downtime was "not the result of a third party attack but instead occurred after we introduced a change that affected our configuration systems." We have "moved quickly to fix the problem, and both services are back to 100% for everyone."

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AfterDawn: News

Analyst: Apple Watch slated for March release

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2015 9:40

Analyst: Apple Watch slated for March release KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, well known in the industry for his accurate forecasts on Apple products, says that the Apple Watch will finally see the light of day in March.

The Apple Watch was first announced in September, and given the very broad "by early 2015" time frame for release. Most interpreted that to mean the Q1, and if Kuo is correct, the Watch will be released sometime before the end of the Q1.

Kuo also says Apple is likely to have supply issues with certain parts of the watch which could limit shipments to under 3 million for the quarter. Kuo has accurately predicted new products and their release dates for a few years now.

You can read more about the Apple Watch here at AfterDawn.

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AfterDawn: News

You can thank Apple for the Nexus 6's missing fingerprint scanner

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2015 8:55

You can thank Apple for the Nexus 6's missing fingerprint scanner According to former Motorola Mobility CEO Dennis Woodside, Nexus 6 owners can blame Apple for their device's lack of a fingerprint sensor.

Motorola had planned to place a fingerprint scanner in the dimple on the back of the device that now holds the Motorola logo, but Apple bought fingerprint sensor maker AuthenTec, who was the "best supplier."

When asked why the device has the dimple that is completely unused, Woodside said "the secret behind that is that it was supposed to be fingerprint recognition, and Apple bought the best supplier. So the second-best supplier was the only one available to everyone else in the industry and they weren't there yet."

AuthenTec was the first supplier with tech that allowed users to just hold their finger over the sensor for recognition. All other companies at the time required some sort of swiping motion. Apple first used the tech for its Touch ID sensor in the iPhone 5S.

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AfterDawn: News

Lizard Squad defaces Malaysia Airlines site, promises data dump

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2015 8:15

Lizard Squad defaces Malaysia Airlines site, promises data dump Lizard Squad, the group behind the DDoS that managed to take down Xbox Live and Sony's PlayStation Network on Christmas, has defaced Malaysia Airlines' site today, adding a tasteless joke, as well.

Besides their standard lizard with a top hat and monocle, the site added the text "404-Plane Not Found" referencing flight 370, which disappeared in March, killing over 200 passengers. Additionally, the group said "Hacked by LIZARD SQUAD-OFFICIAL CYBER CALIPHATE," referencing the group that claims association with the extremist terrorist group ISIS.

Malaysia Airlines confirmed the DNS compromise, but said they expect to be fully up and running within 72 hours. All user data is said to be secure, but Lizard Squad still promised a data dump and showed a screenshot purporting to show passenger's itineraries.

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AfterDawn: News

isoHunt offers plentiful bounty to developers, mods and uploaders for 'Old Pirate Bay'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2015 7:32

isoHunt offers plentiful bounty to developers, mods and uploaders for 'Old Pirate Bay' Last month, following the raids and take down of The Pirate Bay, the team behind isoHunt launched The Old Pirate Bay, a copy of the original, but without some key features.

Regardless, the site now has over 1 million visitors per day, as it brings together torrent links from other sources into one repository. isoHunt is now offering money to make sure the site continues to develop. The Old Pirate Bay is offering $100,000 in Bitcoins to uploaders, developers and moderators who can clean the site over the next six months.

Reads the posting: "In order to boost that process we are announcing an unprecedented move. $100,000 for developing OldPirateBay.org, are you ready for that?! Anyone can take part in the website development and moderation which will result in public recognition. Also addition to your pay check would be a nice surprise."

Starting on March 1st, Old Pirate bay is adding upload and moderator capabilities, and $5000 a month will be split between the top contributors and mods for that month. $10,000 a month will be divied up between the developers who contribute the best features to the code of the site.

"The idea behind this message is to empower the community to create OldPirateBay.org as they see it. And we're ready to reward the most active participants along the way," the Isohunt.to team added. "The main idea is that community should develop the site in the way they want. So if there will be enough initiative the site will be developed by people. We just want to stimulate it."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

20th anniversary Sony PlayStation 4 with serial 00001 sells for $128,000 at auction

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2015 7:14

20th anniversary Sony PlayStation 4 with serial 00001 sells for $128,000 at auction During a recent auction, a buyer paid the incredible sum of ¥15,135,000 ($128,000 USD) to be the proud owner of the first 20th anniversary Sony PlayStation 4.

Sony announced in December that it would be celebrating the history of the PlayStation console by launching a special edition PlayStation 4 in the gray colorway of its two-decade old predecessor.

The winning buyer will now have serial 00001 of 12,300 special consoles, and all the proceeds have been donated to the "Save the Children Japan" charity.

Sony was surprised and delighted at the success of the auction: "We appreciate all who participated in the auction and are surprised at the highest bid price, which was higher than our expectations".

Other, later serial models have been selling on eBay for over $2000, on average.

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AfterDawn: News

Cyanogen wants to have no ties to Google in the future

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2015 6:22

Cyanogen wants to have no ties to Google in the future Cyanogen Inc. CEO Kirt McMaster really, really, really wants to break his company's dependence on Google.

Based on the open-source Android operating system, CyanogenMod is an OS that is built for speed, efficiency and openness, and the company recently raised millions of dollars from venture capitalists as it looks to expand from beyond a niche player.

Speaking at the "Next Phase of Android" event in San Francisco, McCaster made it very clear that the future of Cyanogen is devoid of Google. In introducing himself, McCaster said: "I'm the CEO of Cyanogen. We're attempting to take Android away from Google. We're making a version of Android that is more open so we can integrate with more partners so their servicers can be tier one services, so startups working on [artificial intelligence] or other problems don't get stuck having you have to launch a stupid little application that inevitably gets acquired by Google or Apple. These companies can thrive on non-Google Android."

The company wants to bill itself as a platform where other companies can build services that integrate into the core of Android, like Google's own Google Now. Google would not approve of that, so Cyanogen wants to break all ties:

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AfterDawn: News

The cable industry does not want to give Americans faster Internet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2015 3:54

The cable industry does not want to give Americans faster Internet The cable industry apparently does not want to give Americans faster Internet, with the industry's lobbying group opposing the FCC's wishes.

In 2014, the FCC set in motion plans to change the definition of 'broadband' to 25Mbps down and 3Mbps up, meaning ISPs offering slower connections could no longer market their Internet as broadband. The numbers certainly seemed fair, as the U.S. currently has some of the slowest broadband speeds on the planet, with the most expensive prices.

The National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) opposes this notion: "25Mbps/3Mbps isn't necessary to meet the legal definition of high-speed, switched, broadband telecommunications capability that enables users to originate and receive high-quality voice, data, graphics, and video telecommunications using any technology," the NCTA added. "Notably, no party provides any justification for adopting an upload speed benchmark of 3Mbps. And the two parties that specifically urge the Commission to adopt a download speed benchmark of 25 Mbps--Netflix and Public Knowledge--both offer examples of applications that go well beyond the 'current' and 'regular' uses that ordinarily inform the Commission's inquiry under Section 706" of the Telecommunications Act."

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AfterDawn: News

Week in Review: Microsoft shows off Windows 10 and HoloLens, WhatsApp hits your browser, Google getting into wireless carrier business

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 9:48

Week in Review: Microsoft shows off Windows 10 and HoloLens, WhatsApp hits your browser, Google getting into wireless carrier business This week was pretty heavy in major tech news, headlined by Microsoft's unveiling of Windows 10 and HoloLens.

Here were the top stories for the week:



Microsoft shows off Windows 10 on PC, smartphones and tablets
Microsoft unveiled Windows 10 for PC, smartphones and tablets, the first of their operating systems to be truly universal. More importantly, Microsoft says the OS will be available as a free upgrade for devices running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.

Read more about all of the new features of Windows 10, here: Windows 10 in-depth at Afterdawn



WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens fills world with holograms
Microsoft also unveiled the first stages of HoloLens, an incredible piece of tech that allows you to interact with your world via holograms. It is easier to watch the video, and read on to learn more here at Afterdawn.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google issues statement in response to Android's WebView security issues

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 7:52

Google issues statement in response to Android's WebView security issues Over the past month, there have been multiple major reports relating to the web security flaw of older versions of Android that could allow for remote attacks.

The flaw is related to WebView, the mobile framework that allows apps to display websites without a separate browser.

Adrian Ludwig has posted a long Google+ article discussing why Google cannot upgrade older versions of Android and what hundreds of millions of users can do to stay protected. Read it in full, here:

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AfterDawn: News

IMAX, Carnival announce first theater on a ship

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 1:23

IMAX, Carnival announce first theater on a ship IMAX and massive cruise line operator Carnival have unveiled the "world's first IMAX Theatre on a ship."

The theater will be part of Carnival's new monster ship, the Carnival Vista. The ship will be ready to sail in March 2016, and is the largest in the fleet.

Both companies say the the ship features an "IMAX screen three decks high, providing guests with the most immersive cinematic experience. Guest will be able to take in the latest Hollywood blockbusters and IMAX documentaries."

Here's a few mocks of the ship and the IMAX display:

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AfterDawn: News

Celebrating 100 years since the first transcontinental phone call was completed

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 11:39

Celebrating 100 years since the first transcontinental phone call was completed Flying way under the radar today is the 100th anniversary of a major historical event: the first ever transcontinental phone call being completed.

On January 25th, 1915 a four-way call was made "between Alexander Graham Bell in New York; his assistant, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco; President Woodrow Wilson in Washington, DC; and Theodore Vail, President of American Telephone and Telegraph company (AT&T) in Jekyll Island, GA."

The words spoken for the first ever call? "Ahoy! Ahoy! Mr. Watson, are you there? Do you hear me?"

It took over 3400 miles of wire on three circuits to connect San Francisco to NY, with 130,000 telephone poles and thousands of tons of copper. All of the infrastructure work was done by horse and wagon, as trucks were not yet truly viable.

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AfterDawn: News

Qualcomm dogged by overheating in its Snapdragon 810 chip

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 10:47

Qualcomm dogged by overheating in its Snapdragon 810 chip Over the past week, Qualcomm has been dogged by reports that claim that its new high-end Snapdragon 810 chip generates too much heat and smartphone makers are staying away.

One major report from the week claimed that Samsung is being forced to use their own Exynos chip for the upcoming Galaxy S6 flagship because the 810 overheated the phone too much. Qualcomm is working on an updated version, but it is unclear if it will be ready in time for the launch of the new device.

LG, on the other hand, is said to have worked around the heating issues by updating the cooling system for their upcoming high-end devices, including the G Flex 2.
"Heat levels don't depend entirely on the CPU (mobile processor) but also on how the phone's internal cooling system is designed," said Choi Yong-su, a vice president for LG's smartphone development.

Qualcomm is the biggest chipmaker in the world, and the Snapdragon 810 is a big part of its 2015 sales plans. Some analysts estimate profits could be reduced by up to 8 percent if the Snapdragon 810 is a dud.

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AfterDawn: News

China denies it hacked Microsoft's Outlook email service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 10:10

China denies it hacked Microsoft's Outlook email service China's cyberspace regulator has outright denied that the Chinese government had anything to do with an alleged hacking of Microsoft's Outlook email service last weekend.

On Monday, GreatFire.org, an online censorship watchdog, reported that the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC) was responsible for a "man-in-the-middle" attack in which it took control of the channel to monitor communications.

CAC spokesperson called the accusation "groundless slander" aimed to "incite dissatisfaction and smear China's cyberspace management system."

The news comes just a day after reports began surfacing of Chinese authorities blocking VPN services that were allowing Chinese citizens to access Google-based properties like Gmail and Google Drive, which are banned in the nation.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony is giving away freebies to settle PlayStation Network hack lawsuit from 2011

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 9:53

Sony is giving away freebies to settle PlayStation Network hack lawsuit from 2011 Sony has announced today that is taking claims to settle the class action lawsuit that was brought against it over the massive PlayStation Network hacking in 2011 that took down the network for a week and saw the personal details of nearly 100 million people stolen.

Reads the settlement page: "There is a proposed settlement with Sony Network Entertainment International LLC ("SNE"), Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC ("SCEA"), and Sony Online Entertainment LLC ("SOE") in a class action lawsuit about the illegal and unauthorized attacks in April 2011 on the computer network systems used to provide the Sony PlayStation Network, Qriocity, and SOE services (the "Intrusions").

Accountholders can get benefits if they had a PlayStation Network ("PSN") account, a Qriocity account, or an SOE account at any time before May 15, 2011."


There are, sadly, quite a few restrictions including Sony looking into how active your account has been since the hacks and whether you have any credits in your account. Also, the options depend on whether you took advantage of the freebies the company gave out in 2011 as part of their 'Welcome Back" promotion. Regardless, you are either going to get a free old game, free themes, or a free 90 day subscription to PS Plus, but current subscribers are not eligible.

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AfterDawn: News

Skype team reveals Windows 10 UI

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jan 2015 7:44

Skype team reveals Windows 10 UI Microsoft has been revealing the makings of Windows 10 this week. One of the most important aspects of all of its OS versions is the messaging. Now Skype team shows what its been up to.

The new Skype will come preloaded on all Windows 10 platforms be it phone, tablet, or PC. The new and updated Skype has been designed Windows 10 in mind but will of course land on Mac, iOS, and Android among others.

Microsoft's efforts are indeed in creating one app to rule them all. Like the competitor's iMessage it allows both SMS and instant messages to be sent from the same app, enabled by the linking of phone numbers and Skype names. It is available on all major platforms too, unlike the Apple's offering.

The new layout divides the view on panels and has a clean, simple look. Round icons are familiar from both Apple's and Google's messengers, as well as earlier versions of Skype.

Skype team promises more updates during the development in the next few months, and well keep you posted.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony delays their earnings report due to last year's massive cyber attack

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2015 12:07

Sony delays their earnings report due to last year's massive cyber attack Sony has said this week that it is delaying the reporting of its quarterly earnings as it continues to assess the damage from the cyberattack that took down Sony Pictures last year.

The company says it will still have a news conference on February 4th, but will not announce the results until later this year. Sony will give updated financial forecasts for the quarter, as well.

Hackers hit the company, taking down servers and entire networks while claiming to have stolen 100TB of data. Thousands of emails were released, often with humiliating results for Sony Pictures execs and celebrity actors. Five of the company's films, including 'Annie' and 'Fury' were also leaked, which hurt financially because many of the movies had not even hit theaters yet.

In addition, the company's financial and accounting software have been offline since the attack, along with other important platforms.

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AfterDawn: News

Walmart begins selling their own streaming stick, the Vudu Spark

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 11:17

Walmart begins selling their own streaming stick, the Vudu Spark Walmart's streaming stick, the Vudu Spark, is now available for sale.

The HDMI dongle is selling for just $25, undercutting Roku, Google and Amazon's rival devices. Walmart is currently selling the device in just 2400 of its stores, but it should be available online in the very near future.

Of course, at the extremely cheap price comes very little functionality. Walmart is not including a power adapter and just adding a USB cable (so you need to use your TV's USB port or BYOC), and the device only has Vudu installed, with little word on whether it can accept other apps like the popular Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime.

You can connect via 802.11 b/g/n 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi and the dongle supports up to 1080p and 7.1 surround sound.

If the price wasn't enticing enough, you get $25 in Vudu credit for activating and using the device for 5 months ($5 per month).

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple accounted for 50 percent of Q4 phone activations in the U.S.

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 6:16

Report: Apple accounted for 50 percent of Q4 phone activations in the U.S. According to a new survey from Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, 50 percent of all phone activations in the U.S. were for Apple devices like the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus.

Samsung remained relatively dominant, as well, at 26 percent of activations and LG came in third with 11 percent. Everybody else had minor shares, including HTC, Motorola and Nokia. Even Amazon and Blackberry made guest appearances combining for 1 percent of activations.

The survey also noted that 25 percent of previous Samsung owners switched to iPhones, while 18 percent of previous LG owners doing the same.

Keep in mind that the survey was only 500 subjects, which could mean the figures have significant margins of error.

Source:
GSMA




AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp launches Web client

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 5:47

WhatsApp launches Web client WhatsApp has launched their first web client, allowing desktop and mobile users to use the cross-platform messaging service directly from their Web browser.

Reads the company's post:

"Today, for the first time, millions of you will have the ability to use WhatsApp on your web browser. Our web client is simply an extension of your phone: the web browser mirrors conversations and messages from your mobile device -- this means all of your messages still live on your phone.

To connect your web browser to your WhatsApp client, simply open https://web.whatsapp.com in your Google Chrome browser. You will see a QR code --- scan the code inside of WhatsApp, and you're ready to go. You have now paired WhatsApp on your phone with the WhatsApp web client. Your phone needs to stay connected to the internet for our web client to work, and please make sure to install the latest version of WhatsApp on your phone. Unfortunately for now, we will not be able to provide web client to our iOS users due to Apple platform limitations."


The service has 700 million users, and is now owned by Facebook. The limitations on Apple users is certainly a bummer, but can hopefully be lifted in the future.

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AfterDawn: News

China has begun blocking VPN services

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 5:12

China has begun blocking VPN services According to experts and major tech companies, China has begun blocking VPN services that allow users to browse more anonymously and to avoid censorship in the nation.

VPN provider Golden Frog noted on its site that many of its popular services have been hit by the new controls, and popular service Astrill says their VPN protocols giving Apple users access to Gmail, Facebook and more have been blocked.

"The Chinese government has attempted to curtail the use of VPNs that its citizens use to escape the Great Firewall for a couple years," wrote Golden Frog President Sunday Yokubaitis in a statement. "This week's attack on VPNs that affected us and other VPN providers is more sophisticated than what we've seen in the past."

'The Great Firewall' is a reference to the Chinese government's blocking of thousands of sites and services because they contain "sensitive data" that the government does not want citizens to see. Many foreigners and many businesses in China use VPNs to access Google tools or other blocked data. The new move is particularly painful for smaller businesses that need such access.

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AfterDawn: News

Don't forget, 'The Interview' is now available on Netflix

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 4:38

Don't forget, 'The Interview' is now available on Netflix As a reminder, if you are a Netflix subscriber and haven't yet seen the now infamous 'The Interview,' it is available to stream starting today.

The company did not discuss the terms of the deal, but it certainly marks the quickest time in which a major motion picture has been made available via the streaming service.

Sony Pictures recently announced that the film brought in $46 million from digital rentals and sales and from theater showings in a a couple hundred independent theater chains. The movie will hit Blu-ray on February 17th.

The movie dominated headlines in December after Sony Pictures was decimated by a cyber attack and the attackers threatened a terrorist attack on movie theaters leading the major U.S. chains to suspend the release. Sony then made film available online as a rental or purchase on Christmas, where it became the top online film of all-time.

Source:
Netflix




AfterDawn: News

Google, Sony, Apple, others all sued over decades old music

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2015 12:07

Google, Sony, Apple, others all sued over decades old music Zenbu Magazines has filed seven proposed class action lawsuits against all the major streaming music providers over music from little known artists with recordings before 1972.

The suits are against Apple, Sony Entertainment, Google, Rdio, Songza, Slacker and Escape Media Group (Grooveshark).

At the basis of the suit is copyright laws, which were amended by Congress in the 1970s but only protected tracks written after Feb. 15, 1972. Radio, satellite radio, TV, movies and other performers have been able to use the music without any real issues but that all changed when in 2013 'The Turtles' filed a $100 million class action suit against SiriusXM and Pandora claiming that its recording were protected by state laws and they are entitled damages and profits.

Zenbu owns recordings from The Flying Burrito Brothers, Hot Tuna and New Riders of the Purple Sage, each of which has pre-'72 recordings.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

What kind of battery life can you expect from the Apple Watch?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2015 11:47

What kind of battery life can you expect from the Apple Watch? Apple's upcoming smartwatch, the Apple Watch, is expected to launch in March; one of the most highly-anticipated devices of the year.

Insiders have now revealed the "specific performance targets Apple wants to achieve for the Apple Watch battery" although experts don't believe those targets can be achieved.

According to those sources (via 9to5), Apple's S1 chip will be close in performance to the A5 processor of previous iOS devices, but that the powerful processor and high-end display will lead to major battery drain.

Apple wanted about 19 hours of use if the user was "mixing a comparatively small amount of active use with a larger amount of passive use" or up to 4 hours of "active application use" or 4 days in sleeping mode (meaning you are just telling the time).

It seems, however, that Apple could not achieve any of their goals. Instead the Apple Watch will have 2.5 hours of heavy app use, 3.5 hours of standard app use, and 2-3 days of standby mode.

At $349 at minimum, the newly reported battery life is not impressive but we will learn more in March.




AfterDawn: News

Google Play Edition devices all cleared out from Google Play Store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 2:17

Google Play Edition devices all cleared out from Google Play Store If you were looking to pick up a top device with stock Android rather than the maker's own user interface, it just became harder to do so.

The last of Google's offering of "Google Play Edition" phones is now depleted, with the HTC One M8 GPE now showing up as unavailable.

Over the last few months, Sony's Xperia Z Ultra, the Samsung Galaxy S4, the LG G Pad 8.3 and other GPE phones and tablets have been pulled from the store or sold out and not returned.

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AfterDawn: News

Dropbox released for Windows Phones, tablets

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 1:49

Dropbox released for Windows Phones, tablets Dropbox has announced today that their app is now available for Windows Phones and tablets.

The company did a brief list of the features available for the apps:

-Automatically back up your photos to Dropbox

-Mark files as favorites so you can get to them even when you don't have an Internet connection

-Access both your personal and work accounts at once

-We've also tailored the app for the Windows platform, so you can pin any Dropbox folder to your Start screen for quick and easy access.


Dropbox says the app is available for download on Windows Phones (8.0 or newer) and also on Windows 8.1 and Windows RT devices.




AfterDawn: News

Sorry Microsoft RT tablet owners, you are not getting Windows 10

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 1:26

Sorry Microsoft RT tablet owners, you are not getting Windows 10 Yesterday, Microsoft announced that Windows 10 would be a free upgrade for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 users (including Windows Phone) but Windows RT was notably left out of the conversation.

Windows RT was the operating system used on older tablets that used ARM architectures.

When asked, Microsoft said that "We are working on an update for Surface, which will have some of the functionality of Windows 10. More information to come." There were 5 tablets released in 2012 with the operating system before it was basically discontinued.

What that limited functionality will be is unclear. Most likely, some of the newly announced Windows Universal Apps will be made available for RT.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Office 2016 coming this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 12:54

Microsoft Office 2016 coming this year Microsoft has announced today that its upcoming Office 2016 will be released later this year.

The software giant had little to share except to say: "We will have more to share on Office 2016 in the coming months, but this suite will remain the comprehensive Office experience you're long familiar with, best suited for a PC with keyboard and mouse. We expect to make Office 2016 generally available in the second half of 2015."

Microsoft's new version of the popular software suite will include a dark theme, and a slight resurrection of "Clippy" who can assist with learning features. The UI will look similar to Office 2013, but will extend to include new features from Windows 10. All of the software will be more touch-friendly, as well.

A preview will be available in the coming weeks, with the full release slated for later this year.

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AfterDawn: News

Google will sell wireless services directly following deals with T-Mobile, Sprint

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 12:35

Google will sell wireless services directly following deals with T-Mobile, Sprint Google has struck deals with Sprint and T-Mobile U.S. and will offer wireless services directly to consumers.

There are no other details available about how much Google will charge, or where the mobile plans will be offered.

What is known is that Google will resell services on Sprint's and T-Mobile's networks under their own brand name. Sprint is said to have put a clause in their deal that if Google gets too many customers, the pricing can be restructured higher for renting the network.

Google will not have to pay to build or maintain a network, but will have to take care of customer service, billing and hardware sales.

Sprint and T-Mobile are vying for the third spot as the U.S.' largest carrier, and offer LTE networks although ones not as large as AT&T and Verizon.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix acknowledges that Popcorn Time is 'competition' with misleading chart

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 12:11

Netflix acknowledges that Popcorn Time is 'competition' with misleading chart During Netflix's recent quarterly shareholders report, in which the company showed huge growth in subscribers, there was a small note in which the streaming giant cited Popcorn Time, the piracy streaming service that has been called the "Netflix of Piracy" in the past.

The company, in a section entitled "Competition," Netflix says: "Piracy continues to be one of our biggest competitors. This graph of Popcorn Time's sharp rise relative to Netflix and HBO in the Netherlands, for example, is sobering." The chart, linked below, shows that Popcorn Time is trending as much as Netflix in the nation, which has 13 million residents.

Popcorn Time, for its part, has confirmed that the Netherlands loves the service, having seen 1.3 million downloads of the app since its launch.

While the trend in one small European nation may be "sobering" for Netflix, checking the Google Trends in other larger nations like the U.S. and Great Britain shows that Popcorn Time is just a blip compared to legal streaming services.

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AfterDawn: News

Kim Dotcom launches MegaChat encrypted video chat service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2015 11:39

Kim Dotcom launches MegaChat encrypted video chat service Kim Dotcom has released his latest software, a browser-based encrypted video chat and file sharing service called MegaChat.

The larger-than-life entrepreneur is calling the service a Skype competitor, and it is being rolled out in beta now.

Edward Snowden called out Skype in 2013, claiming that the NSA had its claws deep in the video chat platform, with zero privacy for users. Dotcom is looking to take customers away from Skype by offering end-to-end encryption.

So far, to use the beta you have to login to Mega.nz (with your free or subscription package), add some contacts and start calling. The video chat works in your browser. Text chat and multi-party chats will be added later this year.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens fills world with holograms

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Jan 2015 7:29

WATCH: Microsoft's HoloLens fills world with holograms Walk on Mars? Microsoft showed off some promising and intriguing technology today in the form of Windows Holographic, and the HoloLens visor.

Microsoft wants to blend your digital world with the real world, using a visor called HoloLens with its new Windows Holographic technology. It promises to be able to give you access to your digital world in extremely useful ways without requiring a screen.

With Windows 10, Universal Apps can be used and interacted with as Holograms using the new system, making it possible to place 3D holograms in the world around you. Microsoft is providing a set of APIs for developers to take their apps into the "real world" too.

Microsoft HoloLens is the world's first "untethered holographic computer", according to the Redmond giant, requiring no wires, no phone to enable it and not even a connection to a PC. Using HoloLens, you can look at Holograms in the real world around you in 3D and even hear them in surround sound.

It is already being put to good use by NASA, which has revealed a collaboration with Microsoft on the development of software called OnSight. Working with HoloLens, NASA scientists can use data from the Curiosity Rover to virtually "walk" on Mars in the area surrounding the rover.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft shows off Windows 10 on PC, smartphones and tablets

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Jan 2015 7:08

Microsoft shows off Windows 10 on PC, smartphones and tablets Microsoft is moving away from its traditional view of Windows as its flagship OS product overwhelmingly focused on Desktop, and toward that of a service across devices.

Windows 10 is expected to be released later this year (sometime around the fall) and will be available as a free upgrade for devices running Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, with the goal of getting as many Windows users as possible to the latest Windows experience.

It runs across PCs, smartphones and tablets and utilizes Universal Apps to synchronize content, notifications and more. The Windows Phone era seems to be coming to an end.

Microsoft's demonstrations today showcased how much Microsoft is focused on enhancing the user interface too. We saw a more modern looking Start Menu for example and over all, the visuals on display were quite a step up from where they were just back in September with the launch of the Windows Insider program.

For 2in1 devices (laptop/tablet), we also saw a "continuum mode" that changes Windows Apps to full screen display and optimizes for touch-screen when the keyboard is disconnected, while a new Task View really eases multitasking. The Windows automatically revert to their original size when the keyboard is re-attached.

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AfterDawn: News

Popular music discovery app Shazam now valued at $1 billion

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2015 1:38

Popular music discovery app Shazam now valued at $1 billion The popular music discovery app Shazam is now valued at $1 billion after having raised $30 million in new funding.

Shazam did not say who invested, but did say that the new round from a whole set of new investors.

If you have a mobile device, you have more than likely heard of Shazam. The app/widget can recognize what song is playing and save your "tags" to a list so you can purchase it, see the lyrics, or watch the music video right from your device or later at home.

Shazam started in 1999 as a text/voice call-based service where you called a number, held the phone up to the radio/speaker/etc and waited to receive a text response for the name of the artist and the song title. The app became widely popular for the iPhone when it launched in 2008.

Since it started, Shazam has raised $125 million, and the most recent funding values the company at $1 billion despite never making a penny of profit. The company currently receives commission on sales of tracks that are tagged and then purchased through the app. Advertisers and TV shows can also pay to be included in the service, so that consumers can tag commercials and episodes.




AfterDawn: News

Sony's original series 'Powers' for PlayStation is coming in March

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2015 1:19

Sony's original series 'Powers' for PlayStation is coming in March Sony has confirmed that their upcoming original series 'Powers' will be released exclusively on PlayStation on March 10th.

Powers "tells the story of homicide detectives Christian Walker and Deena Pilgrim, who are ordinary detectives working on cases that just so happen to involve people with extraordinary powers" and is based on the graphic novel of the same name.

Reads Sony's blog post:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 will be free upgrade for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 users

Written by James Delahunty @ 21 Jan 2015 12:53

Windows 10 will be free upgrade for Windows 7, Windows 8.1 users Microsoft announced today that Windows 10 will be available as a free upgrade for users of devices running Window 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 for a time.

The announcement was made by Terry Myerson at an event showcasing Windows 10's consumer experience features to date. The next iteration of Microsoft's most popular product will be released later this year, projected for the fall, and will let Microsoft close the door on the Windows 8 era.

It's not clear how exactly the free upgrade will work for users running Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, but it will be limited to its first year of availability.

No doubt an upgrade will depend on hardware, and limited to verified genuine copies of Windows.




AfterDawn: News

'The Interview' is headed to Netflix on Saturday

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2015 11:01

'The Interview' is headed to Netflix on Saturday Netflix has announced today that U.S. and Canadian streaming subscribers will be able to watch the infamous 'The Interview' starting this Saturday.

The company did not discuss the terms of the deal, but it certainly marks the quickest time in which a major motion picture has been made available via the streaming service.

Sony Pictures recently announced that the film brought in $46 million from digital rentals and sales and from theater showings in a a couple hundred independent theater chains. The movie will hit Blu-ray on February 17th.

The movie dominated headlines in December after Sony Pictures was decimated by a cyber attack and the attackers threatened a terrorist attack on movie theaters leading the major U.S. chains to suspend the release. Sony then made film available online as a rental or purchase on Christmas, where it became the top online film of all-time.




AfterDawn: News

Official: Google and Fidelity invest $1 billion in SpaceX

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2015 10:52

Official: Google and Fidelity invest $1 billion in SpaceX SpaceX, Elon Musk's space travel and satellite company, has raised $1 billion in new funding from Google and Fidelity, who now take a 9.9 percent stake in the company.

Google and Musk appear to have the joint goal of making the Internet available to all, and there have been reports that SpaceX is looking to use satellites to bring cheap Internet connectivity to places where it is typically hard to obtain.

Musk has also already stated that SpaceX wants to ensure that there is Internet in space, including in Mars for future travels.

Google has been, through their Loon project, also trying to bring Internet connectivity around the globe, using balloons.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nintendo announces end of their Club Nintendo loyalty rewards

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2015 10:37

Nintendo announces end of their Club Nintendo loyalty rewards First launched in 2009, Nintendo is ending their Club Nintendo loyalty program effective at the end of March.

The rewards program allowed fans to get "Coins" for registering their purchases or completing surveys. The coins could then be used to get downloadable games, special wallpapers/posters and toys.

You can continue to earn coins until the end of March and use the coins until the end of June.

"We want to make this time of transition as easy as possible for our loyal Club Nintendo members, so we are going to add dozens of new rewards and downloadable games to help members clear out their Coin balances," said the company. "We thank all Club Nintendo members for their dedication to Nintendo games and their ongoing love for our systems and characters."

Nintendo will also launch a new loyalty rewards program later this year, although it is unclear what will be different.

Source:
Nintendo and Nintendo America




AfterDawn: News

Björk releases new album two months early following leak

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2015 7:21

Björk releases new album two months early following leak Originally planned for a March release, Björk's latest album "Vulnicura" was leaked two days ago, including full tracks and album art.

In order to mitigate the potential losses from such an early leak, the artist has made the album available officially via iTunes, letting fans purchase the tracks legally.

The leak was the second high-profile album leak in the past two months, after most of the tracks for Madonna's upcoming album hit the Web in December.

Björk posted to her Facebook about the new release:

dear websitefolks , fans , tweeters and my music supporters on all the sorts of www :

vulnicura will be rolling out worldwide over the next 24 hours !!

http://smarturl.it/vulnicura

i am so grateful you are still interested in my work !!

i appreciate every little bit !!!

i wanted to tell you the tale of making of this album

i guess i found in my lap one year into writing it a complete heartbreak album . kinda surprised how thoroughly i had documented this in pretty much accurate emotional chronology .... like 3 songs before a break up and three after . so the anthropologist in me sneaked in and i decided to share them as such . first i was worried it would be too self indulgent but then i felt it might make it even more universal . and hopefully the songs could be a help , a crutch to others and prove how biological this process is : the wound and the healing of the wound . psychologically and physically . it has a stubborn clock attached to it .

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AfterDawn: News

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare unsurprisingly ends 2014 as top selling game

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2015 6:19

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare unsurprisingly ends 2014 as top selling game According to research firm NPD, the top selling video game of 2014 was 'Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare,' the latest in the blockbuster franchise.

NPD collected sales numbers from only physical copies sold of console, portable and PC games. Excluding digital sales, which are certainly above $1 billion at this time, total industry sales reached $13.1 billion for the year, up just 1 percent year-over-year.

The full list of games, in order (most of which are unsurprising):

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

IDC: Apple takes fifth place in global PC shipments following strong growth

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2015 11:20

IDC: Apple takes fifth place in global PC shipments following strong growth After three years of major declines for the industry, 2014 saw PC shipments finally stabilize somewhat with growth from most of the major OEMs.

Overall, sales slipped 2.1 percent year-over-year after years of double digit losses and total annual shipments were down to 308.6 million units.

"The strength from market leaders, as well as improvement in Asia/Pacific and the consumer market more generally, are positive signs for the PC market," said Loren Loverde, IDC Vice President, Worldwide PC Tracker. "Growth of Chrome, Bing, all-in-ones, ultraslim, convertibles, and touch systems similarly make PCs more compelling and competitive. Nevertheless, some of the gains are relatively small, and weakening drivers like Bing promotions and end of XP support transitions, cast a shadow of doubt on the strength of the market going into 2015."

Apple saw the biggest growth year-over-year, at 15.7 percent. The company sold almost 20 million Macs in 2014, good for 6.4 percent share. Lenovo stayed in first place with 59.23 million computers shipped (19.2 percent share) followed by HP at 56.85 million (18.4 percent share) and Dell with 41.66 million shipped (13.5 percent share). Acer was the lone 'Big 5' to see a decline YoY, down 1.6 percent to 24.1 million PCs shipped and 7.8 percent share.

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AfterDawn: News

'Minecraft: Pocket Editon' reaches 30 million sold

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2015 10:46

'Minecraft: Pocket Editon' reaches 30 million sold Mojang (now owned by Microsoft) has confirmed that their hit 'Minecraft: Pocket Edition" game has now reached 30 million units sold.

The company last announced 20 million units sold back in April, and just released the game for Windows Phone last month, which may have led to a spike in sales.

In addition, Mojang announced that player will be able to change their in-game names.

Mojang posted an infographic, as well, showing just how big 30 million really is.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

HTC's upcoming M9 flagship set for release in March?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2015 8:48

HTC's upcoming M9 flagship set for release in March? According to new reports, HTC's upcoming flagship phone, the M9, will be unveiled in March alongside a new smartwatch from the Taiwanese company.

The new smartphone will look similar to the critically acclaimed M8, but will see spec upgrades everywhere else. The phone will allegedly have an octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, Dolby 5.1 audio technology built-in, a 20MP camera and an HTC UltraPixel camera up front.

As expected, HTC will update their user interface skin to Sense 7, with a plethora of new features and specialized software.

If accurate, the smartwatch will also be built around Under Armour's new fitness service.

We will know more at the Mobile World Congress event starting on March 2nd.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Amazon Studios to make movies for theaters, Prime streaming

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2015 7:34

Amazon Studios to make movies for theaters, Prime streaming Amazon Studios has announced today that they will begin producing and acquiring original films that will be released in theaters and then released for streaming via Amazon Prime within 60 days of release.

The Amazon Original Movies "will focus on unique stories, voices, and characters from top and up-and-coming creators."

"We look forward to expanding our production efforts into feature films. Our goal is to create close to twelve movies a year with production starting later this year," said Roy Price, Vice President, Amazon Studios. "Not only will we bring Prime Instant Video customers exciting, unique, and exclusive films soon after a movie's theatrical run, but we hope this program will also benefit filmmakers, who too often struggle to mount fresh and daring stories that deserve an audience."

Amazon has been moving into more original content, keeping in line with the industry trend started by market leader Netflix. Their most recent original show, 'Transparent,' was recently nominated for a Golden Globe award.

"Audiences already recognize that Amazon has raised the bar with productions in the episodic realm, tackling bold material in unique ways and collaborating with top talent, both established and emerging. To help carry the torch into the feature film world for such an innovative company is a tremendous opportunity and responsibility," said Ted Hope, the new Head of Production for Amazon Original Movies. "Amazon Original Movies will be synonymous with films that amaze, excite, and move our fans, wherever customers watch. I am incredibly thrilled to be part of this."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Report: Google to invest in SpaceX to bring cheap Internet to all

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2015 7:13

Report: Google to invest in SpaceX to bring cheap Internet to all According to new reports, Google is close to investing in Elon Musk's rocket and satellite company SpaceX.

Google, in their investment, would value the company at over $10 billion, and the company's expected investment is said to be ten figures.

Why does Google want to invest in SpaceX? The Information's Jessica Lessin says: "The purpose of a deal, which is still in the works, is to support the development of SpaceX satellites that could beam low-cost Internet around the globe to billions who don't have it."

Musk recently announced a grand plan to have the Internet in space, all the way to Mars. Said Musk: "It will be important for Mars to have a global communications network as well. I think this needs to be done, and I don't see anyone else doing it."

Source:
BI via Information




AfterDawn: News

Sharp unveils new devices in Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2015 6:02

Sharp unveils new devices in Japan Sharp has unveiled two new interesting phones for the Japanese market, including a flip phone.

The company showed off their Aquos Mini series, with the now standard tiny bezels and powerful specs. The small-ish smartphone has a 4.5-inch 1080p display, a quad-core 2.3GHz Snapdragon 801 processor and a 13MP camera. Sharp says their new IGZO display tech helps return over 48 hours of battery life from the 2120 mAh battery.

Second, the company brought back 2005 and released a new flip phone: the Aquos K.

The Aquos K has an Android-like operating system, a full browser, apps and has a 13MP camera with 1080p video.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung loses over 30 percent of its smartphone market share in China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2015 2:26

Samsung loses over 30 percent of its smartphone market share in China Samsung had a rough year in 2014 in China, losing significant smartphone share in the nation to rivals like Apple and Xiaomi.

In January of last year, the company had a massive 20 percent share in the market which has dropped to 13.7 percent, a full 30 percent drop year-over-year.

While Samsung remains on top, Xiaomi and Apple took share as did smaller rivals like Huawei, Lenovo, Coolpad and Meizu.

Many of the Chinese-based OEMs have priced Samsung out, especially Xiaomi which sells their flagship devices for 30-50 percent under Samsung's devices.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Chinese police arrest men who tunneled into warehouse to steal iPhones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 1:31

Chinese police arrest men who tunneled into warehouse to steal iPhones Police in Beijing have confirmed the arrest of three men that allegedly tunneled into a warehouse to steal 240 iPhone 6 units that were valued at $230,000.

The men dug a 20-inch hole through a building wall of a Chinese logistics firm where one of the men used to work. That suspect, who officials only called "Chang," used to work for the company as a driver and had intimate knowledge of the site.

After selling the phones, the men allegedly spent the money on cars, gambling and physical gold.

Apple helped provide serial numbers for the devices, and police were able to find and arrest the suspects through tracking the phones.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Alibaba makes a massive play to get U.S. retailer awareness in China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 1:20

Alibaba makes a massive play to get U.S. retailer awareness in China Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba is planning a massive play to get U.S. retailer awareness in China, and access to hundreds of millions of Chinese middle class consumers.

Alibaba will use their Alipay electronic payments system to handle Chinese sales, payments and even shipping for big U.S. retailers including Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Saks and Shoprunner, the online mall that allows for free two-day shipping for paying subscribers.

Additionally, Alibaba will prepare a massive marketing campaign to raise awareness about their global business-to-business wholesale platform, Alibaba.com.

Most Western and especially U.S. companies have struggled in China, and current U.S.-to-China, cross-border consumer sales are just $15 billion annually. Analyst estimates see that figure growing closer to $300 billion in the next half-decade. So far, very few companies have seen success in China, with the most notable being Apple.

"It's not a big thing right now, but within the next 12 to 18 months what you'll see more of is bringing 300 million Chinese consumers to retailers in the U.S.," Alibaba Vice Chairman Joseph Tsai said last year.

The new effort is important because it will not require retailers to have a physical presence in China and Alipay could mute the difficulties of foreign exchange. The new program would be called ePass, which includes a "customs pre-approval process, a sort of "fast lane" that shaves days off delivery." As anyone who has bought from China in the past knows, shipping times can vary widely.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Turkey threatens to shut down access to Twitter, Facebook again

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 12:54

Turkey threatens to shut down access to Twitter, Facebook again Turkey has once again threatened to shut down access to Twitter and Facebook in the nation unless the social media giants block the accounts of a newspaper that recently leaked documents relating to a military police investigation on Turkish Intelligence Agency trucks.

The threats came after a Turkish court ruled that coverage of the investigation was to be banned. The court ruled that the publication of the documents and any other information threatened national security and would interfere with the ongoing investigation.

Newspapers, opposition politicians and users on social media widely speculated that the trucks, which were headed to Syria, were carrying weapons for extremists. Turkish officials claim the trucks were delivering aid to Turkmen minority in Syria. The leaked documents show that military police confirmed the trucks were carrying guns and explosives. The documents also claimed the weapons were headed directly to terrorist extremists including Al Qaeda.

The leftwing BirGun newspaper used the ban as a laughing point and continues to post the documents and other tweets arguing that everyone should know the truth. Twitter has complied with Turkish officials and taken many down.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

OnePlus One available on January 20th, no invite necessary

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 12:38

OnePlus One available on January 20th, no invite necessary Chinese OEM OnePlus is making their One smartphone available to all on January 20th, no invite necessary (for a couple of hours).

When the device first launched, you had to acquire an invite from the company or from another user who already purchased one to be able to purchase the powerful smartphone. Because invites were relatively hard to come by, even by those in the tech and media communities, supply of the phone never ran out and the company still managed to sell over 500,000 units.

More recently, OnePlus has been offering the smartphone without invite for extremely quick "flash sales" every month or so, with supply selling out quickly when they do.

Now, on January 20th, it appears the OnePlus One will be available to all, and potentially with more stock than a standard flash sale, for two hours.

If you wanted the smartphone, this seems the best time to try to get it. Check the site here: OnePlus One




AfterDawn: News

Motorola, Dodo launch premium leather band line for your Moto 360

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 12:24

Motorola, Dodo launch premium leather band line for your Moto 360 Motorola has teamed up with Dodo to create premium leather bands for the Moto 360 smart watch.

While you have always been able to purchase any band you want to replace the default bands of the watch, Motorola seems to be making it easier for consumers to get the leather band they want directly through the company web store.

The line of Pergamena leather bands are available for $59.99 in blue, green, red, and tan.

Motorola already offers black, gray, and cognac bands for $29.99.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Adobe Lightroom now available for Android

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 12:14

Adobe Lightroom now available for Android Adobe has made their powerful photo editing software Lightroom available for Android mobile users.

Says the company: "Lightroom mobile extends your existing workflows beyond the desktop, allowing you to utilize your Android phone to review and edit your images and have the changes sync back to your Lightroom catalog at home. Once you've told Lightroom a collection of pictures should be sent to Lightroom mobile, the process is handled automatically and the pictures will become available on your Android phone once it is connected to the internet. Any changes you make in Lightroom mobile will be automatically synced and updated back to the Lightroom catalog on your desktop."

There are some decent specs required to run the app including at least a quad Core CPU with 1.7 GHZ ARMv7 architecture, 8GB of internal storage, 1GB RAM and at least Android Jellybean although KitKat and Lollipop are preferred.

You can check all the features here: Lightroom Mobile




AfterDawn: News

Google could be preparing to purchase mobile payments company Softcard (formerly Isis)

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 11:54

Google could be preparing to purchase mobile payments company Softcard (formerly Isis) According to new reports, Google could be preparing to acquire the mobile payments company Softcard (formerly known as Isis) to boost their current offerings in the space.

Isis was started in 2010 by T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon to be the standard in mobile payments, but the venture never gained any traction. The project was renamed Softcard after terrorist attacks were perpetrated by the Syrian extremist group calling itself Isis.

Google is said to be buying the project for $100 million, which would be a huge loss for the companies that started it, each of which has spent at least that much. Google would not comment except to say "We don't have a comment, background, deep background, off the record steer, nod, wink or any other verbal or non-verbal response to these sorts of rumors."

Softcard is available for Android and Windows Phone devices, and the group says that over 200,000 merchants in the U.S. can accept the NFC payments just like they do with Apple Pay. The big problem is that no consumers use it.

As is almost always the case, Google could be making a play for patents, of which Softcard has 120 related to mobile payments.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

YouTube stars to interview President Obama on January 22nd

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 11:38

YouTube stars to interview President Obama on January 22nd Google has announced that some of YouTube's biggest stars will be headed to the White House on January 22nd to interview President Obama following his annual State of the Union speech.

For the last few years, the President has responded to questions via Google Hangouts and YouTube following his address, allowing the average person to have their questions answered. This year will be a little bit different as the questions have already been submitted and a few of the more popular YouTube channel owners will ask them via a live broadcast.

YouTube creators Bethany Mota, GloZell Green and Hank Green will be the interviewees. Mota is popular for her fashion advice, GloZell is a popular comedian and Green runs a popular science channel.

To get your question asked potentially, use the hash tag #YouTubeAsksObama on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other social media.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sprint to begin offering their first Lumia smartphone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 11:23

Sprint to begin offering their first Lumia smartphone Three years after every other carrier started carrying Lumia Windows Phone devices, Sprint finally has their first one.

The company has picked up the budget Lumia 635, which had been available for their prepaid Boost and Virgin Mobile brands for some time.

Microsoft's device features a 4.5-inch screen with 480x854 resolution and Gorilla Glass 3, Windows Phone 8.1, a quad-core Snapdragon 400 clocked at 1.2GHz, an Adreno 305 GPU, 8GB internal storage (expandable to 128GB) and 512MB RAM.

The device is cheap, as well, with Sprint selling it for $170 upfront or financed for $7 per month for 24 months.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Is your country censoring your browsing? Try out PirateSnoop

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2015 11:10

Is your country censoring your browsing? Try out PirateSnoop If you live in a country where censorship is prevalent, PirateSnoop hopes to save the day.

PirateSnoop is a bundle package of SRWare Iron Chrome with special extensions and some custom configs that allows you to circumvent censorship in certain countries such as Iran, North Korea, United Kingdom, Netherlands, Belgium, Finland, Denmark, Italy and Ireland.

The releasing team does say that PirateSnoop is not intended to be a full browser as only specific domains go through the proxy anti-censorship network, which is used to help route around the censoring and blocking of websites your government is blocking.

For now the following domains are automaticly proxied: rarbg.com, thepiratebay.se, kickass.so, kickass.to, 1337x.to, isohunt.to, extratorrent.cc and yts.re.

Try it out here: PirateSnoop at Afterdawn




AfterDawn: News

Nokia's N1 tablet sees interest during flash sales

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jan 2015 9:30

Nokia's N1 tablet sees interest during flash sales Nokia's N1 tablet, the company's first Android tablet running the Nokia Z launcher, continues to sell out whenever they go on sale.

The company has been selling the tablet in China, but only small batches at a time, after seeing over 500,000 people sign up to learn more about the tablet. The first batch went on sale last week (20,000) and sold out in 4 minutes. The second batch sold out in about 15 minutes today.

A new batch will be available on January 22, with registration starting tomorrow.

The N1 features a 7.9-inch 2,048x1,536 display, is powered by an Intel Atom Z3580 SoC (2.3 GHz quad-core), 2GB RAM and a 5300 mAh battery. The tablet has dual 8MP/5MP cameras, 32GB internal storage and runs on Android 5.0 Lollipop with Nokia's own Z Launcher user interface overlay. The UI is an adaptive homepage/lock screen that allows your phone to get you to your favorite apps quickly and easily especially with the use of gestures.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi reveals two phablets: The Mi Note and Mi Note Pro

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jan 2015 8:35

Xiaomi reveals two phablets: The Mi Note and Mi Note Pro Chinese giant Xiaomi has unveiled their new phablets, the Mi Note and Mi Note Pro, featuring high-end specs in a tiny frame.

The mainstream Mi Note smartphone features a 5.7-inch Sharp/JDI 1080p display (386ppi) with Gorilla Glass 3 protection, is powered by a 2.5GHz quad-core Snapdragon 801 processor and an Adreno 330 GPU with 3GB RAM.

Additional specs include LTE support, Dual-SIM support, a large 3000mAh battery and dual cameras: A 13MP autofocus rear camera w/ Phillips Two-Tone Flash
Sony IMX214 Image Sensor, f/2.0 lens aperture, OIS and a 4MP front camera with 2-micron pixels. The phone also supports Hi-Fi audio with 24-bit/192KHz lossless playback.

Squeezed into a thin and light from, the Mi Note weighs 5.65 ounces and is just 155.1 x 77.6 x 6.95mm thin.

The Mi Note Pro takes all specs to the next level including a QHD display 2560×1440 @ 515ppi, a 64-bit octa-core Snapdragon 810 processor, an Adreno 430 GPU, 4GB RAM and all the features of its brother.

Both the devices are on sale in China and will eventually go on sale in other Xiaomi nations in the near future. If you want them in the U.S., you will have to go through third party resellers, with the prices around $399 for the Mi Note and $599 for the Pro.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft unveils new cheap Windows Phones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jan 2015 11:44

Microsoft unveils new cheap Windows Phones Microsoft has continued their trend of offering cheap Windows Phone smartphones for emerging markets and the EU by unveiling the Lumia 435 and Lumia 532.

The software giant is making a concentrated effort at "bringing devices to as many people and price points as possible," said Jo Harlow, corporate vice president for phones at Microsoft. "With the Lumia 435 and Lumia 532, we've realized our goal of creating the most affordable Lumia devices to date, opening up the opportunity to reach those people who are buying a smartphone for the very first time."

Both devices will sell in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa starting next month at 69 to 79 euros ($81 to $93).

The Lumia 435 has a 4-inch display (800x480), a 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage and Windows 8.1 with Lumia Denim. Microsoft Word is included, as is 30GB of free cloud storage. The cameras are 0.3MP up front, and 2MP on the back.

For its slightly higher price, the Lumia 532 offers a low-end quad-core processor and a 5MP camera.




AfterDawn: News

Your local RadioShack could be a Sprint store soon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jan 2015 9:55

Your local RadioShack could be a Sprint store soon Bankrupt electronics store RadioShack is in talks to sell leases for some of its stores to major U.S. carrier Sprint.

The retailer is expected to file for bankruptcy next month after a half decade of declining sales and profits and will be closing over 1000 stores, as well.

RadioShack hopes to emerge from bankruptcy with around 3000 stores compared to the 4000 it has now, and the leasing could certainly help with some cash flow.

Over the past years, the company has moved away from its roots in general consumer electronics and tried to become a destination for mobile phone buyers, with mixed results.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Shockingly, MySpace had 50 million unique visitors towards the end of last year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Jan 2015 8:58

Shockingly, MySpace had 50 million unique visitors towards the end of last year The once king of social media, MySpace, attracted 50 million unique visitors in November, 2014, a shockingly high number for the platform that has passed on to memory for most Internet users.

In 2005, News Corp. purchased the company for $580 million (right before Facebook destroyed it), and News Corp. later sold the property for $35 million in 2011 to a small Internet ad company called Specific Media. For all intents and purposes, MySpace is dead and has been dead for the better part of a decade, but clearly with 50 million uniques, the social media site is making a comeback.

Tim Vanderhook, the CEO of Specific Media's parent company Viant, says the site remains popular among 17-to-25-year-olds, and especially popular among music fans. The site has free streaming music and music videos as well as original content like interviews with artists, and much of the content is from big names in the industry, even if it is somewhat older.

Comically, Vanderhook said that MySpace always sees a spike on Thursdays, as former users of the site head back to their old profiles to download pictures to use for "Throwback Thursday" postings on other sites like Facebook and Instagram. "MySpace was an early photo-sharing platform," said Mr. Vanderhook. "So we still see a lot of people coming back to access old photos. They may not visit every day but they come back once a week or once a month."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung unveils its first real Tizen smartphone, the Z1, for the Indian market

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2015 11:45

Samsung unveils its first real Tizen smartphone, the Z1, for the Indian market After two years of delays, Samsung has finally unveiled its first real Tizen smartphone, the Z1.

The Z1 is available in India for just 5700 rupee ($90 USD) with a potentially larger release in the future.

With its cheap price, the specs are also as expected: weak. The Z1 has a 4-inch WVGA PLS screen, a 1.2 GHz dual-core processor and 768MB RAM and 4GB internal storage (expandable via microSD). Photo takers will have to struggle with a 3.1MP camera and 0.3MP camera up front.

Z1 owners will get to try out the Tizen 2.3 operating system, and the device is dual-SIM, as is standard everywhere outside of the U.S.

For its Indian-focused device, the device will also come bundled with a 'Joy Box' package that has trial access to Hungama.com, nextGTv and Bot TV. Because all that content needs data, Samsung has also teamed up with Airtel to provide all buyers with 500MB of 3G data for the first six months.

All that content requires bandwidth, and a joint promotion with operator Airtel gives buyers of the Z1 500MB of 3G data for free for an initial six months.

The Z1, and Tizen in general will face a large uphill battle. There are very few apps for the operating system, and all apps written for iOS or Android have to be re-written to work for the new OS.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony making 'The Interview: Freedom Edition" available on Blu-ray on February 17th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2015 11:19

Sony making 'The Interview: Freedom Edition" available on Blu-ray on February 17th The now infamous Sony Pictures hit "The Interview" will be available on DVD and Blu-ray as a special "Freedom Edition" collectible disc on February 17th.

Starring James Franco and Seth Rogen, the comedy has the two recruited by the CIA with the mission to assassinate North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un.

Reads the press release:

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung denies it is looking to acquire BlackBerry

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2015 10:41

Samsung denies it is looking to acquire BlackBerry Earlier today, reports hit the wire that Samsung was looking to acquire BlackBerry, sending the enterprise smartphone maker's stock soaring nearly 30 percent.

Within a couple hours of the report, both companies denied the rumor. Blackberry said: "BlackBerry has not engaged in discussions with Samsung with respect to any possible offer to purchase BlackBerry." Samsung called the reports "groundless."

In the report, which cited unnamed sources, Samsung was allegedly willing to purchase BlackBerry for up to $7.5 billion. Before the report, the company had a market value of around $5 billion.

BlackBerry, despite mostly being out of the smartphone market that it once dominated, remains a force in the mobile security realm and also has a popular messaging application.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony would consider selling struggling mobile division

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2015 12:51

Sony would consider selling struggling mobile division According to new reports, Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai is open to selling the company's struggling mobile division.

Besides a potential sale, there is also the possibility of a joint venture with another partner.

Sony has been actively trying to turn their businesses around, selling off assets and focusing on more "core" divisions but there has been little success. The company is facing a near $2 billion loss for the fiscal year ended in March, and the company has not been profitable in the last 6 years with the exception of a tiny net profit in 2013.

On the positive side, Sony's PlayStation division and their imaging sensor businesses are very successful but other businesses continue to destroy the bottom line.

Source:
Reuters




AfterDawn: News

New Vertu 'Diamond' collection takes Android luxury to a whole new level with diamonds, alligator skin

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2015 12:12

New Vertu 'Diamond' collection takes Android luxury to a whole new level with diamonds, alligator skin Luxury smartphone maker Vertu has announced their new 'Diamond' collection, a new (and insane) group of Android phones with all kinds of premium design features.

The top-end model, the Pure Jet Alligator Diamonds, has 124 Brilliant White Diamonds Set In A White Gold Pillow Trim,
Stereo Sound Bar With White Gold Detail, Brushed and Polished Black PVD Titanium, Jet Alligator Skin and a Jet Ceramic Pillow all for the price of $21,700.

If that hits the wallet too hard, you can put down $12,500 for the Diamonds Red Alligator which has 55 White Diamonds (0.15 cts), Polished Stainless Steel V Pillow, Polished Upper Back Plate and Red Alligator Leather.

Check the Vertu Diamond collection here: Vertu

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

ASUS celebrates sale of 500 millionth motherboard

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jan 2015 11:03

ASUS celebrates sale of 500 millionth motherboard ASUS has celebrated the sale of their 500 millionth motherboard this week by offering prizes including special edition PCs with custom cases.

The company started selling motherboards back in 1989, and remains the world's largest maker of motherboards.

ASUS Chairman Jonney Shih said: "I want to thank all of our customers for their support throughout the past 25 years. We share a common passion for technology and their inputs have enabled us to grow on this journey in search of incredible. We are committed to delivering more innovation to market and we aim to bring a seamless and joyful digital life for everyone to enjoy."

To win, you have to visit ASUS, enter the giveaway, share via Facebook for an added entry or answer a quiz about the history of the company.

Besides the grand prize of a PC with a custom ASUS TUF case and a Sabertooth Mars S motherboard, there are other prizes like the VivoPC, dual-band routers and LED projectors.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Britain wants to ban secure messaging because of terrorists

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Jan 2015 12:00

Britain wants to ban secure messaging because of terrorists As Je suis Charlie has become the trending topic around the internet politicians are pressured to make decisions on new anti-terrorists acts.

In the United Kingdom the Prime Minister David Cameron is calling out for a backdoor to all secure messaging or else ban it.

According to Engadged the UK Prime Minister doesn't want terrorists to have means for private messaging without the possibility of government intervention.

The conservative party leader wants a new legislation in effect in 2016 as the Draft Communications Data Bill will be terminated. Known as the Snooper's Charter the bill requires companies to retain certain information of their users' communication.

This would first mean that the party would have to win this year's election and gain huge amount of traction for such a radical act.

The ban of such services would mean Whatsapp, Snapchat and the likes would be considered illegal – not to mention other encrypted data services – unless the special access is created.

It is highly unlikely the companies behind that messaging platforms would remove the encryption to the extent that it would become insecure.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Amazon signs Woody Allen for first ever TV show

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 13 Jan 2015 11:29

Amazon signs Woody Allen for first ever TV show In addition to Netflix the e-commerce giant Amazon is trying to fight against the Hollywood's overbearing control over TV shows.

Now Amazon has signed the legendary Woody Allen for an upcoming TV series.

The details are still extremely scarce. Amazon told that the series will feature all new 30 minute episodes but of what nature is yet unknown. The show will be written and directed by Allen.

Woody Allen himself doesn't have more details, saying: "I don't know how I got into this. I have no ideas and I'm not sure where to begin. My guess is that [Amazon Studios'] Roy Price will regret this."

The series will premiere next year on Amazon Prime Instant Video. What kind of plot or who will star the series are obviously completely undisclosed.




AfterDawn: News

Sources: Facebook considered investing in Xiaomi

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2015 10:21

Sources: Facebook considered investing in Xiaomi According to sources, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun recently discussed a possible Facebook investment in the world's third-largest smartphone maker.

Xiaomi raised $1.1 billion last month, valuing the company at $45 billion, but Facebook was not part of the investors.

Zuckerberg visited China in October, but no deal was ever cemented. A big hurdle was the political implications of such a move, since Facebook has been banned in China for half of a decade.

Xiaomi, after starting just 4 years ago, is now China's biggest smartphone maker. The company sold 61.12 million smartphones last year, bringing in $12 billion in revenue.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Samsung releases all-metal 5.5-Inch Galaxy A7 with octa-core processor

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2015 10:00

Samsung releases all-metal 5.5-Inch Galaxy A7 with octa-core processor Samsung has unveiled a sleek new all-metal octa-core processor powered smartphone: the Galaxy A7.

The device features a 5.5-inch display, a 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon chip (dual 1.8GHz and 1.3GHz quad-core processors or 1.5GHz and 1.0GHz in the dual-SIM model), 2GB RAM, at least 16GB internal storage and Android 4.4 KitKat.

For heavy camera users, the smartphone has a 13MP standard camera and a 5MP front-facing camera. Samsung has added some software tweaks, as well, allowing you to take "wide selfies" and "auto selfies" using "a voice command or even a simple wave of the hand."

In addition, Samsung has added a new private mode that "adds an extra layer of security for important files and documents" and multi-screen support for apps.

The device is also notable for its design, which is metal. Samsung's devices to date have mainly been plastic with faux leather, which can feel cheap when compared to the iPhone and other high-end devices.




AfterDawn: News

Spotify now has 15 million paying subscribers and over 60 million active users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2015 9:03

Spotify now has 15 million paying subscribers and over 60 million active users Just two months after unveiling 50 million active users, Spotify now has 60 million active users and a full 15 million paying subscribers.

The streaming music service had 12.5 million paying users in October, paying either $4.99 for unlimited ad-free streaming on their PCs or $9.99 per month for unlimited ad-free streaming everywhere including mobile devices. The company offers all users free music for PCs with ads, and a free but slightly limited version for mobile devices.

Spotify is one of the more valuable private companies in the tech sector, and it is expected to IPO later this year and be worth in the low billions.

The service recently had a setback when popular artist Taylor Swift pulled her entire catalog from Spotify, claiming that streaming services do not value the musician's music. The company has clearly recovered since.




AfterDawn: News

What to expect from Galaxy S6? Business Insider says metal

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2015 9:12

What to expect from Galaxy S6? Business Insider says metal Samsung is preparing another flagship press event at this years Mobile World Congress in March. A lot depends on this one phone and its possible accessories as Samsung's stocks in the smartphone industry have been withering.

According to the information Business Insider has gathered from "sources familiar with the company's plans" Samsung will introduce not only one but two flagship variants at the event.

In addition to the two phones BI notes another revision of Gear smartwatch is coming. It will be the first one with a round display for the Korean company.

The sources say that the construction of one of the phones will include metal as is expected after the launch of Galaxy Alpha – the predecessor of metal design flaunting Alpha series – and Galaxy Note 4. It is however not yet known in what fashion the metal is used.

The non-metal variant features an Edge-like curved display. Galaxy Note Edge features a curved display that wraps around the right side of the phone (pictured above).

Business Insider notes that Samsung's plans can still change before the press event in early March.




AfterDawn: News

House of Cards continues on Feb 27th – watch the new trailer!

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2015 8:18

House of Cards continues on Feb 27th – watch the new trailer! The Netflix original that has since the first season defined the service – House of Cards – is continuing on February 27th. The Emmy and Golden Globe winning drama series has now released a new trailer for the upcoming season.

Starred by the Academy Award winning actor Kevin Spacey the third season returns maybe in a even darker tone than before. According to the trailer there will be more stress in the White House and in the hands of Francis Underwood.

The season will appear on Netflix in one package as usual and will feature thirteen all new episodes.

The first and the second season are of course available still in the streaming service if one desires a recap before the new season begins. Meanwhile watch the intense trailer below.




AfterDawn: News

Spotify now caters to mostly mobile users

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Jan 2015 8:02

Spotify now caters to mostly mobile users The web is quickly shifting towards the mobile and not unlike web, the music streaming is one of the more popular activities on a mobile device. And so in their latest press event Spotify has told that it is now more popular on phones and tablets than on desktop.

According to the new stats the desktop app is used by 45 percent of the users while the phones and tablets combine to 52 percent – phones are at 42% and tablets 10%.

The figures could be even more into favor of mobile if the company had stepped into it more aggressively. Last year Spotify reached into mobile with more apps and new shuffle-only and ad-supported models.

Currently the music streaming service says it has 60 million active subscribers of which 15 million are paying customers. This years possible introduction of Apple's new streaming service will keep Spotify on its toes and try to expand especially on mobile.




AfterDawn: News

It's Oscar season for pirates as over a dozen screeners hit the Web

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2015 9:56

It's Oscar season for pirates as over a dozen screeners hit the Web As they do every year, pirates have released a plethora of Oscar hopefuls to the Web, all in "DVD Screener" quality.

Among the releases are Birdman, The Imitation Game, Selma, American Sniper, Unbroken, Big Hero 6, Into the Woods, Big Eyes, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies, The Gambler, Inherent Vice, A Most Violent Year and Kill The Messenger.

The screeners seem to have come from different sources, and while most are decent quality, reports say quite a few have audio that goes out of sync and have choppy frames, suggesting the leaks came from rookies.




AfterDawn: News

Report: Samsung will build Windows Phones again if Microsoft settles its royalties suit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2015 9:30

Report: Samsung will build Windows Phones again if Microsoft settles its royalties suit According to sources, Samsung would consider building Windows Phones again if Microsoft were to settle their outstanding royalties legal battle against Android products.

"Samsung has run pilot programs on the stability of Windows 8.1 software on devices. It is interested in promoting Windows mobiles. If the companies settle their litigation, then Samsung will manufacture handsets powered by the Microsoft-developed mobile platform. The timing could be the third quarter of this year at the earliest," reads the report.

The company halted all development on Windows Phones as they discovered quickly there were not enough being sold to make it profitable for them.

In recent times, however, Samsung has tried to break their dependency on Google's Android platform. The company has built their smartwatches on their own Tizen operating system, and have been planning a smartphone with the operating system, as well.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple raises minimum app prices in Canada, Europe

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2015 8:27

Apple raises minimum app prices in Canada, Europe Thanks to changes in exchange rates and local rates, Apple has raised the minimum app prices for the App Store in Canada and most of Europe.

The new minimum prices are $1.19 CAD (Canadian dollars), .79 euro or .99 British pounds.

Apple said the price change is in effect for "all territories in the European Union as well as in Canada and Norway, decrease in Iceland, and change in Russia."

The EU recently passed a new law that adds a 6.5 percent "digital tax" on apps, ebooks, movie downloads and MP3s, so the increase was widely expected. In Canada and Russia, the local currencies have depreciated significantly against the US Dollar, so changes in those nations were expected, as well.

Apple made similar changes last year in Australia, India, Indonesia, South Africa, and Turkey as currencies fluctuated.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google search finds a new top result for Pirate Bay

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 11 Jan 2015 12:44

Google search finds a new top result for Pirate Bay The future of The Pirate Bay is anything but certain. After last month's raid the website – or atleast it's functionality – has been down. Now Google has decided to move on and select the new number one.

The site is rumored to make a comeback soon. If that happens after the countdown on the official website runs down to zero remains to be seen.

Whatever the fate of the website will be Google's web search has decided that with "pirate bay" search it is no longer the most relevant website, TorrentFreak notes.

Google search reveals a new number one holder which is "Old Pirate Bay", a cloned website by the popular torrent site isoHunt. Other searches including Bing and Bing-powered Yahoo still rely on the official thepiratebay.se as the most relevant result.

Which one of the sites seems more relevant to you, the functional or the official website?




AfterDawn: News

Google's U.S. search share falls most in 6 years

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2015 10:16

Google's U.S. search share falls most in 6 years Google's share of the U.S. search market fell to 75.2 percent for the month of December, down to its lowest share since 2009.

Yahoo appears to have gained most of what Google lost, moving to 10.4 percent share, its highest share in the last six years, as well.

In stark change happened almost immediately after Mozilla replaced Google with Yahoo as the default search engine for their Firefox browser. "The move by Mozilla has had a definite impact on U.S. search," StatCounter Chief Executive Officer Aodhan Cullen said. "The question now is whether Firefox users switch back to Google."

The research firm also noted that Firefox is used by about 12 percent of Internet users in the U.S.

Source:
BBG




AfterDawn: News

Nintendo ends all operations in Brazil citing high tariffs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2015 9:34

Nintendo ends all operations in Brazil citing high tariffs Nintendo has announced today that it is ending operations in Brazil, with the gaming company discontinuing software and hardware sales in the South American nation.

The company said extremely high tariffs on importation and exportation of goods made it fiscally irresponsible to continue to invest or sell products in the country.

Brazil uses high tariffs, usually higher than 20 percent (and over 50 percent for consoles), to encourage foreign companies to build in Brazil and to protect its own manufacturing jobs.

"Brazil is an important market for Nintendo and home to many passionate fans," Nintendo of America Latin America general manager Bill van Zyll said. "But unfortunately, challenges in the local business environment have made our current distribution model unsustainable in the country."

Is there a chance Nintendo returns in the future?

"Working together with the Juegos de Video Latinoamérica, we will monitor the evolution of the business environment and evaluate the best way to serve our Brazilian fans in the future,"
said van Zyll. "We will continue to monitor the environment in the country so that we can evaluate future opportunities."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google's data shows nobody has Android 5.0 Lollipop yet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2015 11:02

Google's data shows nobody has Android 5.0 Lollipop yet Google's latest Android update, 5.0 Lollipop, was installed on just 0.1 percent of active Android devices as of January 5th, a shockingly low number even for a new update.

The search giant unveiled the OS in mid-October, and it shipped with the Nexus 9 and the Nexus 6 in November. Other Nexus devices received the update by the end of November.

Android KitKat 4.4, is now up to 39.1 percent share of the fragmented market while Jelly Bean 4.1.x-4.3.x still has the lion's share at 46 percent.

Older devices continue to shock, with Android 2.2-4.0.x still controlling 15.9 percent share despite those operating systems being released in 2010 and 2011.

Source:
Google




AfterDawn: News

Here is a demo video of the new 'cable-killer' Sling TV service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2015 8:04

Here is a demo video of the new 'cable-killer' Sling TV service Earlier this week, satellite provider Dish decide to start on the road to kill conventional TV as we know it introducing "Sling TV."

The new "Sling TV" service will cost $20 per month, be available online and on mobile, and include 10 popular channels: TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, the Disney Channel, ESPN, and ESPN2.

While in theory, the practically ala carte service is great for cord cutters, especially given the access to ESPN and big-time sports programming, but under the hood there are quite a few caveats, as well. Only one person can watch Sling TV at any given time. You will need a streaming device and the Sling TV app to get the TV on your big screen. Roku will support it out of the box, Apple TV will not. Local broadcasting is missing such as NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC.

At $20, the service is still expensive especially since most cord cutters will be paying $7.99 for Hulu, $7.99 for Netflix and whatever price the standalone HBO Go will cost, but the Sling TV is a right first step to unbundling expensive TV packages with hundreds of channels you don't care about.

Here is an early demo of the service in action:




AfterDawn: News

Marvel's 'Daredevil' series headed exclusively to Netflix in April

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 3:55

Marvel's 'Daredevil' series headed exclusively to Netflix in April Marvel has confirmed the release date for their Netflix exclusive 'Daredevil' series: April 10th.

All thirteen hour-long episodes will be available on day one, in all countries where Netflix is streaming.

From Marvel's own description: "Marvel's Daredevil" follows the journey of Matt Murdock, who was blinded as a young boy but imbued with extraordinary senses, now fighting against injustice by day as a lawyer, and by night as the super hero Daredevil in modern day Hell's Kitchen, New York City.

The series stars Charlie Cox as Matt Murdock/Daredevil, Deborah Ann Woll as Karen Page, Elden Henson as Foggy Nelson with Rosario Dawson as Claire Temple and Vincent D'Onofrio as Wilson Fisk.


Netflix's original content deal with Marvel is one of its largest and likely one of its most important given the demographics that Marvel and Disney command.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: Neil Young's Hi-Fi music player Pono is now available

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 1:19

CES 2015: Neil Young's Hi-Fi music player Pono is now available Neil Young's super Hi-Fi music player and Kickstarter blockbuster "Pono" is now available for $399.

Last year, Pono closed its campaign at $6.2 million raised, good for the third best campaign on the crowdfunding site, ever.

The company just launched the Pono music store this morning, allowing consumers to purchase high-quality audio files that will cost you more than the average iTunes or Google Play download but flat out sound better. Creator Neil Young wants consumers to know that music sounds better than your streaming services and digital downloads: "I didn't listen to music for the last 15 years because I hated the way it sounded and it made me pissed off and I couldn't enjoy it any more," he said at CES. "I could only hear what was missing."

Unfortunately, at $399 and with more expensive song downloads, the player promises to be a hit only among a niche crowd. Young doesn't seem to care: "I'm a musician. I want people to hear my art. A lot of people feel the same way," Young said. "In my mind, this is a success already because it lives."

The device has two output jacks, one for headphones and a stereo mini-plug analog output for home audio. The Pono Music store offers music in FLAC with quality ranging from CD lossless quality recordings: 1411 kbps (44.1 kHz/16 bit) FLAC files all the way to Ultra-high resolution recordings: 9216 kbps (192 kHz/24 bit) FLAC files.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Motorola headed back to China following acquisition by Lenovo

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 1:04

Motorola headed back to China following acquisition by Lenovo After a two year absence in the world's most populous nation, Lenovo will be bringing back Motorola smartphones to China.

Lenovo acquired Motorola's handset business from Google last year in an effort to boost their mobile offerings around the world.

The flagship Moto X will go on sale in February, followed by the Moto X Pro and Moto G in the Q2.

"It's been about two years since we actively launched products in China," said Motorola today. "Lenovo has been clear for some time that bringing Motorola back to China was going to be a priority. It's something we've been working very hard on since the close of the acquisition."

Lenovo completed their acquisition in October for nearly $3 billion.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: LG's WebOS-based smartwatch slated for release next year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 12:57

CES 2015: LG's WebOS-based smartwatch slated for release next year According to a new source, LG is looking to bring a WebOS-based smartwatch to market early next year.

"We're going to slowly try to build an (software) ecosystem around areas we can have more control over," said the source, speaking at CES. The company currently has a few smartwatches available running on Google's Android Wear platform.

The phone will be able to make phone calls without being synced to a smartphone, added the source, suggesting a built-in cell radio is in the works.

WebOS, the mobile operating system made popular in 2009 by Palm before it went bankrupt, was then sold to HP who could not figure out how to monetize it and eventually sold to LG last year. LG now uses the OS as a backbone for its smart TVs and home appliances. The TVs have been successful, with LG selling over 1 million in just the first half of 2014.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Dre, Iovine sued by former Beats partner

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 12:39

Dre, Iovine sued by former Beats partner Music execs and now billionaires Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine have been sued by former business partner Noel Lee, who claims the two used a "sham" transaction to reduce his stake before selling the company to Apple this year for $3 billion.

Lee is the founder of Monster, the "premium" audio and video cable company that originally helped co-design Beats headphones.

The plaintiff says he "lost millions" after the two music execs took full control of Beats after selling a majority of the company to HTC in 2012 and also that Dre had "little involvement" in creating the headphones that bear his name. When the company was sold to HTC in 2012, both Iovine and Dre made about $100 million each, and at the same time diluted Lee's share of the company from 5 percent to 1.25 percent.

Lee then sold his stake for $5.5 million in 2013. Had he still had his 5% stake, Lee says he would have made $150 million from the Apple acquisition.

In the suit, Lee claims that Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine "made millions off the work of Monster and Lee, while the plaintiffs lost millions."

Source:
BBC




AfterDawn: News

Blu is back with the crazy thin $199 Vivo Air smartphone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 12:17

Blu is back with the crazy thin $199 Vivo Air smartphone Blu, the U.S.-based smartphone maker that sells millions of devices in developing nations every year but is still unknown in America is back with another new Android phone with some features that can't be beat.

The latest, Vivo Air, will sell for just $199 unlocked and is 5.1mm thin and just 3.5 ounces heavy, giving it the title of thinnest and lightest device out there.

Blu says the phone is made of a aluminum magnesium alloy and it has a design similar to the latest iPhones. Android 4.4 powers the phone with 5.0 available later in the year.

Under the hood is a MediaTek MT6592 processor, 1GB of RAM, and a Mali GPU, all of which likely provide mid-range performance. Users have 16GB of internal storage. The display is a 720p, 4.8-inch screen and the Vivo Air has dual 5MP/8MP cameras. There is no LTE support.

iPhone, Nexus and Galaxy Note owners will certainly not be swayed, but for $199 off-contract, there is a chance Blu could start gaining some recognition.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: Dell unveils new XPS 13 with frameless display, great battery, cheap price

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 12:03

CES 2015: Dell unveils new XPS 13 with frameless display, great battery, cheap price Dell really came to play this CES, unveiling their new XPS 13 notebook with an edge-to-edge display and other great ultrabook specs.

Starting at $800, the new XPS 13 has the 13.3-inch 1080p display, a 5th-gen Core i3 processor, 4GB RAM, 128GB SSD, 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, a Mini DisplayPort, an SD slot, Windows 8.1 and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The battery life is stated at 11 hours. Adding $150 gets you Windows 8.1 Pro and a Core i5, while another $100 gets you a Core i7 and 8GB RAM. The notebooks have a backlit keyboard and weigh just 2.6 pounds.

In addition, you can upgrade the display to 3200x1800 and the SSD to 512 GB, but that will take your price above $1400, no longer in the value category.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple Watch now expected to start shipping in March

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 11:27

Apple Watch now expected to start shipping in March According to new reports, the Apple Watch is expected to hit stores and start shipping by the end of March, with employees beginning training in mid-February.

Employees will head out to Cupertino, California and Austin, Texas from February 9th to February 16th and then return to train other employees at local stores.

Apple unveiled the long-awaited smartwatch back in September, but could not give an exact timeframe for its release.

There will be three models of the Watch released, "Standard," "Sport" and "Edition." The sport edition is said to be the cheapest, at $349 while the "Edition" model is rumored to be stainless steel and include a sapphire crystal watch face for $499.

Read more about the Apple Watch here at Afterdawn.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Nintendo fans rejoice: 'Star Fox Wii U' will be playable at E3

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 11:11

Nintendo fans rejoice: 'Star Fox Wii U' will be playable at E3 Legendary developer Shigeru Miyamoto has confirmed that the highly awaited 'Star Fox Wii U' will be playable at E3 in June.

"We'll have a version of it ready at E3 that everyone can play," he said, which is exciting for fans.

Miyamoto added a few other small tidbits about the title, which was first unveiled at last year's E3 event. "One of the questions that we often get is 'How is the GamePad being used in any particular game?'" Miyamoto added. "Star Fox is a game where having two screens is really important and it works really well."

At last E3's demo, the developers showed off flight and combat, with the GamePad being used to display the cockpit of the ship while you fly and the TV screen giving the first person view of the combat.

Can't wait to see what else is revealed in June.

Source:




AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp reaches 700 million active users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 10:55

WhatsApp reaches 700 million active users Popular mobile messaging service WhatsApp has reached 700 million monthly active users, continuing its extremely strong growth.

Co-founder Jan Koum made the announcement via Facebook, the company that acquired WhatsApp last year for $21 billion.

The latest figure is certainly impressive given that WhatsApp hit 500 million in April. Users are now sending 30 billion messages per day, added Koum.

"As humbled and excited as we are by these numbers and our continued growth, we're even more excited to keep building a great product in 2015," Koum concluded.




AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: Kodak's first smartphone arrives but will anyone buy it?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 10:46

CES 2015: Kodak's first smartphone arrives but will anyone buy it? After teasing the device last week, one-time camera and film giant Kodak has used CES to introduce their first smartphone.

The mid-range IM5 is a basic smartphone with some special camera features but it is unclear who the device will appeal to.

Kodak's device has a 5-inch 720p touchscreen, a low-end 1.7 GHz octa-core processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage (with microSD expansion), Android 4.4 and dual 5MP/13MP cameras.

The company's "unique image management software" will have built-in social media sharing, editing (including filters) and the ability to print right from the app, since it will be compatible with many home printers.

Kodak is putting the IM5 up for sale in Europe for €229 off-contract starting in March and later in the U.S. for $249.

Source:
Kodak




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft expands its Office preview for Android on tablets to everyone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 10:36

Microsoft expands its Office preview for Android on tablets to everyone Microsoft has made its Office for Android tablets app available to all via Google Play.

The software was only available as invite-only previously, but the beta is now available to all (as long as you have KitKat and Lollipop).

Says the Redmond giant: "Over the last two months, we have heard from people all over the world who want the power of Office on their Android tablet. The feedback we've received through this initial phase of preview has helped us shape and optimize the Office experience for Android tablet users. Your feedback also helps us plan and prioritize future feature updates.

Today, we are excited to announce that we are further expanding the preview. We want more feedback from more users to ensure that Office apps work well on a range of different Android tablets before launching the official apps. To participate in the preview, you can use an ARM-based Android tablet running KitKat or Lollipop, with a screen size between 7″ and 10.1″. Starting today, anyone can go to Google Play and download the Word, Excel and PowerPoint preview apps. No waitlist. No requesting access. Just go and download the apps!"


Try it out here.




AfterDawn: News

Man cheated Uber and got $50,000 in free rides

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 10:20

Man cheated Uber and got $50,000 in free rides Blake Jareds, a 24-year old New Yorker, was able to abuse Uber's promotional codes to get over $50,000 in free rides before the company canceled his account.

The company offers credits when you refer friends, and Jareds used some pretty ingenious ways to get thousands of people to sign up under his referral link.

BusinessInsider explains how he pulled it off:

Step 1: Jareds changed his Uber promo code from a random string of letters code to "uber$20FreeRide."
Step 2: He sent out a mass email via MailChimp to about 700 people from his email contact lists. It had a 40% open rate and about 5% click rate, the former finance student tells us.
Step 3: Jareds posted a link to a subreddit where users submit deals for free stuff. "This is where I believe Uber claims I breached their guidelines," Jareds tells us.
Step 4: The combination of the "uber$20freeride" promo code and Reddit earned Jareds' link a high level of search-engine optimization. It "propelled my referral link to one of the top links on Google if a person searched for 'Uber promotion code' or a variant of such. This is where I would say 90% of the 2,000+ people who signed up came from."
His credit was canceled, but Uber later reinstated his account and credited him $500.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Google received 345 million DMCA copyright takedown notices in 2014

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 10:05

Google received 345 million DMCA copyright takedown notices in 2014 Google received 345 million DMCA takedown notices last year, up 75 percent from the record amount it saw in 2013.

Surprising no one, Rapidgator, Uploaded and 4shared were the sites that were hosting the most alleged copyrighted material and Google received the most takedowns for links from those sites.

Also unsurprisingly, UK music trade group BPI requested 60 million links be taken down, easily the most of any company or group.

Google has actively tried to appease copyright owners and recently made significant tweaks to their search engine algorithms to downgrade known piracy sites and services.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: Fitbit's latest fitness trackers now on sale

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2015 9:31

CES 2015: Fitbit's latest fitness trackers now on sale Fitbit has launched two new fitness trackers today, the Charge HR and Surge, both of which reflect your activity stats right from their enlarged displays.

Both trackers also tell the time, monitor your sleep better than past models and have caller ID linked to your synced phone. The Charge HR takes your heart rate continuously all day and the Surge also includes GPS, text notifications and music control making it a free full-featured smartphone.

Fitbit showed off the devices at an event in October but did not have a time frame before they went on sale. That day is today.

"With Fitbit Charge HR and Fitbit Surge, features like heart rate tracking are made simpler by being continuous and automatic so the technology works no matter what you're doing," said CEO James Park.

Due to their added features and tech, the Charge HR costs $149.95 while the Surge will set you back $249.95.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

The Interview "is Sony Pictures' #1 online film of all time"

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2015 11:19

The Interview "is Sony Pictures' #1 online film of all time" Sony's controversial 'The Interview' is now the company's "#1 online film of all time."

The comedy featuring Seth Rogen and James Franco has brought in $31 million from 4.3 million rentals and purchases online from December 24th through January 4th. From 300 independent theaters, the film also brought in $5 million.

After the major movie theaters pulled the film before release following terrorist threats, Sony Pictures released the film online via Google Play, Xbox Video, YouTube Movies and proprietary sites for $6 as a rental or $15 to purchase.

On New Year's Day, major telecoms, cable and satellite providers also added the film on-demand, adding to the revenue. The movie has a leg-up on other online-only releases given the fact that it was scheduled to be a major Hollywood release. The movie had a $44 million budget with an extra print and advertising (P&A) budget expected to be around $20 million.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Sony sells 18.5 million PlayStation 4 systems

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2015 10:27

Sony sells 18.5 million PlayStation 4 systems Sony Computer Entertainment says they have sold 18.5 million PS4 units since launch in late 2013, meaning the console remains the top current-gen system.

The Japanese giant noted that 4.1 million units were sold worldwide during the holiday season, which was extremely fruitful for all the major consoles.

At its current pace, PS4 sales "represent the fastest and strongest growth" of any PlayStation console in the history of the company, adds Sony. Additionally, Sony now has 11 million PlayStation Plus subscribers paying around $50 per year for online multiplayer and other features.

The PS4 is currently available in 123 countries and territories.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

HTC sees first sales, revenue growth in years

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2015 9:43

HTC sees first sales, revenue growth in years Former smartphone heavyweight HTC has announced their first quarterly revenue growth since late 2011 thanks to stronger than expected mid-range phone sales.

For the Q4, sales grew to NT$47.9 billion ($1.5 billion), up from NT$42.9 billion ($1.34 billion) year-over-year (YoY).

In addition, the company had net income of NT$470 million ($14.7 million), much higher than the expected NT$210 million.

Overall, the company still had a full-year revenue decline, for the third year in a row, but HTC seems to be settling in with a new strategy of mid-range devices to compliment their higher end offerings like the M8, which is critical lauded but has to compete directly with the iPhone.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: Samsung's tiny T1 SSD portable supports up to 1TB

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2015 7:48

CES 2015: Samsung's tiny T1 SSD portable supports up to 1TB Samsung has announced a new portable SSD that is the size of a credit card and almost just as light.

The new T1 supports storage up to 1TB, has built-in security software and supports AES 256-bit data encryption giving it a leg up over other drives especially in regards to privacy.

At 2.1 x 2.8 x 0.36 inches and 0.9 ounces, the drive is tiny and can be carried around easily. Due to being an SSD, the T1 has a (sequential) transfer rate at 450 MB/s - impressive speeds.

Of course, speed, style and security in one package don't come cheap. The 250GB model will set you back $179, the 500GB model costs $299 and the 1TB model will lighten your wallet by $599. The drives start shipping on January 20th.

Source:
Mashable




AfterDawn: News

Dish unveils 10-channel $20 Internet-based TV service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2015 7:32

Dish unveils 10-channel $20 Internet-based TV service Major satellite provider Dish is planting the seeds to end conventional TV as we know it.

The new 'Sling TV'service will cost $20 per month, be available online, and include 10 popular channels: TNT, TBS, CNN, Food Network, HGTV, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, the Disney Channel, ESPN, and ESPN2.

While in theory, the practically ala carte service is great for cord cutters, especially given the access to ESPN and big-time sports programming, but under the hood there are quite a few caveats, as well.

Only one person can watch Sling TV at any given time. You will need a streaming device and the Sling TV app to get the TV on your big screen. Roku will support it out of the box, Apple TV will not. Local broadcasting is missing such as NBC, CBS, FOX, and ABC.

At $20, the service is still expensive especially since most cord cutters will be paying $7.99 for Hulu, $7.99 for Netflix and whatever price the standalone HBO Go will cost, but the Sling TV is a right first step to unbundling expensive TV packages with hundreds of channels you don't care about.




AfterDawn: News

Sony starts monthly PlayStation Now subscription

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2015 12:58

Sony starts monthly PlayStation Now subscription Sony has unveiled monthly PlayStation Now subscriptions, a move that should help consumers get more bang for their buck.

Previously, 3 month rentals cost as much as $50, and some one-day rentals were as high as $5, huge sums considering many older games can be purchased to own, used, for under $20.

The new offerings are all-you-can-eat for 30 days or 90 days for just $20 or $45, respectively.

"I'm pleased to announce that starting January 13th, we'll launch a subscription service for PlayStation Now that will provide instant and unlimited access to a catalog of more than 100 PS3 games," PlayStation Now's director of marketing, Peter Jamshidi, in a blog post. "And since you're using PlayStation Now, you can enjoy the freedom to quickly discover and play a wide range of full games without downloads, installs, or patches (not to mention trips to the store)."

The subscriptions will be first available for PS4 in North America, and later in the year for other devices including PlayStation TV.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: Panasonic unveils first Blu-ray player with native 4K support

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2015 9:17

CES 2015: Panasonic unveils first Blu-ray player with native 4K support Panasonic has unveiled the first Blu-ray player with native 4K support today at CES, although the device is still just a prototype.

There was little else revealed, except for a bland black design and HDMI ports, but the company is expected to bring a player to market in the late Q3 2015.

All 4K UHD Blu-ray players into the future will be developed based on the parameters set by the UHD Alliance, which is led by Samsung, Panasonic, Fox, Warner Brothers and more. The Alliance sets standards and is also in charge of managing distribution.

4K TVs are all the rage now despite a major lack of content, and many more were announced today in just the first day of CES.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Verizon has expressed interest in acquiring AOL

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2015 8:44

Report: Verizon has expressed interest in acquiring AOL According to sources, Verizon has had discussions with AOL with the massive telecom looking to either acquire the smaller Internet company or join up in order to expand their mobile-video library and ad tech.

By acquiring AOL, or teaming up, Verizon could easily merge AOL's "programmatic advertising technology" (automated ad buying and selling) with mobile video that continues to see strong growth for the U.S.' largest carrier.

Verizon should have little problem acquiring AOL if it chooses to, given that AOL has a market cap of $3.5 billion compared to Verizon's $200 billion but Verizon has been stockpiling billions in order to buy wireless spectrum at an upcoming auction so may not have cash available.

AOL, besides its ad tech, also has significant online content and brands including the Huffington Post, TechCrunch and Engadget. The media properties boast about 200 million uniques per month. Additionally, AOL still somehow has 2.3 million paying dial-up customer which would most likely be converted to Verizon's fast FiOS broadband service.

Although not every tech merger makes too much sense, the synergies in this deal are plentiful especially given the new focus of the two companies.

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AfterDawn: News

Another year, another multi-million dollar Bitcoin theft

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2015 8:25

Another year, another multi-million dollar Bitcoin theft Earlier today, Bitcoin exchange Bitstamp announced that attackers stole $5 million worth of the digital currency, shutting down trading on the exchange for the day.

CEO Nejc Kodric says most of Bitstamp's reserve are safe but the attackers did net 19,000 bitcoins, over $5 million at the current trading price of $275 USD.

Kodric says that the vast majority of holdings are kept in "cold storage" making them inaccessible for quick online transfers and therefore theft, but the attackers managed to empty out Bitstamp's operational wallet which is used for day-to-day transactions and site business.

Although on a much smaller scale, the theft brings back memories of Mt Gox, which was once the largest exchange until it was pillaged with hundreds of millions in Bitcoins stolen. The site eventually shut down.

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AfterDawn: News

Internet Archive makes 2388 MS-DOS games free to play

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2015 8:05

Internet Archive makes 2388 MS-DOS games free to play The Internet Archive has significantly upgraded their free old-school gaming library, which now has nearly 2400 MS-DOS games available to play right from your browser.

Previously, the IA had hundreds of Atari and arcade games available with the use of emulators.

A few of the more notable games you would remember include Prince of Persia, Wolfenstein 3D, Duke Nukem 3D and Bomber 3D.

Internet Archive says the in-browser emulator is still in beta and you can expects some bugs.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: Lenovo unveils P90 smartphone with 64-bit Intel Atom and massive battery

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2015 7:55

CES 2015: Lenovo unveils P90 smartphone with 64-bit Intel Atom and massive battery Lenovo went crazy today at CES, unveiling a plethora of new products including a few new powerful smartphones.

The newly unveiled P90, available next month overseas, is the first device to feature a 64-bit Intel Atom processor and its other specs should ensure a slick experience.

Featuring a 5.5-inch 1080p display, the device is powered by the quad-core 64-bit Intel Atom clocked at 1.8GHz, 2GB RAM, Android Lollipop (with Lenovo's Vibe 2.0 user interface on top), 32GB internal storage and a huge 4000mAh battery that promised up to 36 hours of life. The standard camera is a 13MP OIS shooter and the "selfie" cam is 5MP with built-in selfie features. The device also has an Intel LTE-A FDD/TDD modem which means theoretical download speeds of 150 Mbs if your carrier offers anything close to that.

The P90 will be available from Lenovo's site for just $499 in Pearl White, Onyx Black and Lava Red.

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AfterDawn: News

CES 2015: Volkswagen to get both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2015 7:41

CES 2015: Volkswagen to get both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto this year Massive car maker Volkswagen has announced that its cars will get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto later this year.

Announced today at CES, the company says the two user interfaces built for car dashboards will work with VW's MIB II dash devices. MIB II also adds support for MirrorLink, which adds better syncing support for smartphones by "integrating the apps and operating layout of numerous smartphones (including Samsung, HTC, LG and Sony) into cars."

Apple unveiled CarPlay last year, and VW was notably absent given their market share in the casual and luxury car markets.

"The two inventions of the century, the car and the computer, are gradually coming closer together. We need to design future mobility to be even more intelligent and even more networked," said Prof. Dr. Martin Winterkorn, CEO of Volkswagen AG.

The car company did not give an exact release date but did say MirrorLink, CarPlay, and Android Auto are all rolling out in the US and Europe later this year.

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AfterDawn: News

Roku will add 4K streaming support in upcoming models

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2015 10:51

Roku will add 4K streaming support in upcoming models Roku has announced today that upcoming models will include streaming 4K Ultra HD support, meaning the set-tops will be the first in the industry with native support for the high resolution video.

Additionally, the company signed up Chinese manufacturing heavy hitter TCL as its first partner for 4K TVs that run Roku's Roku TV platform.

Netflix was announced as Roku's first 4K streaming content provider, which is unsurprising given Netflix's "huge" 4K library of about 20 movie and TV titles including the full seasons of AMC's hit "Breaking Bad."

Besides the 4K announcements, Roku also announced more partners for its Roku TV platform: Insignia and Haier. Insignia is Best Buy's house brand and Haier is a well-known low-cost TV maker.

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AfterDawn: News

Police arrest alleged member of Lizard Squad following massive DDoS on Sony, Microsoft

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2015 6:40

Police arrest alleged member of Lizard Squad following massive DDoS on Sony, Microsoft Authorities in the UK have arrested 22-year-old Vinnie Omari on suspicion of fraud, less than a week after the group Lizard Squad took down Sony's PlayStation Network and Microsoft's Xbox Live on Christmas via a large DDoS attack.

Omari was arrested as part of an investigation into thefts of PayPal accounts, but the investigators also took the suspect's phone, computers, Xbox One, flash drives and will search his emails and more "in relation to the hacking of the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live systems over the Christmas period."

Earlier this month, Omari and Finnish teen Julius Kivimäki made appearances on Sky News to comment on the downtime. Big time security expert Brian Krebs identified both and linked Omari to proposed sales of Mega vouchers on a hacking forum. This is notable because Mega founder Kim Dotcom offered 3000 vouchers for the service to the Lizard Squad to get them to drop the DDoS so he could get back to gaming.

Kivimäki was arrested last year for his part in a large botnet, and was found to have over 3000 stolen credit card numbers.

Krebs has a very interesting piece on the Lizard Squad, who he basically calls script kiddies and "angry" teens.

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AfterDawn: News

The Withings Activité Pop is a great looking fitness tracker and watch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2015 5:54

The Withings Activité Pop is a great looking fitness tracker and watch Withings, a small French electronics company made waves last year when it introduced the Activité, a $450 Swiss-made smartwatch and fitness tracker.

Despite great critical review, the watch's price tag kept the average consumer away and the company will look to try to remedy that situation with the release of the Activité Pop, a mostly scaled-down version of its more expensive brother but with all the same perks.

The Pop still looks attractive as a wearable, and could easily pass as a casual watch in all three colors (beige, blue and gray) and Withings has already promised more band styles. For $150, the watch has a silicone band and PVD coated stainless steel casing with mineral glass compared to the $450 watch's calf leather band, stainless steel case and sapphire glass.

Just like its brother, the watch tracks your steps, monitors your sleep and vibrates to notify you when you've reached your goals. On the watch face, there is a 0-100 indicator letting you know how you are progressing every day. The phone syncs with your iOS device for the time being. The watch is water resistant up to 30 meters and comes with a watch battery that lasts 8 months, meaning no need for a daily charge.

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AfterDawn: News

The Seagate Seven external HDD is just 7mm thick

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2015 5:24

The Seagate Seven external HDD is just 7mm thick Seagate has introuduced the world's slimmest USB 3.0 external hard disk drive, the Seven.

The device is a ridiculously slim 7mm thick, and the drive is cased in an all-steel chassis that looks very sleek compared to most bland hard drives. There was little more details given except that under the hood is a 5mm Angsana drive and that the capacity is 500GB. Hopefully, the transfer speeds can match the style.

Seagate says the Seven is special to celebrate the 35th anniversary of Seagate's launch of the first mass-produced 5.25-inch HDD.

The drive will be available later this month for $99.99.

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AfterDawn: News

Xiaomi sold 61 million smartphones in 2014, says it's just getting started

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2015 5:12

Xiaomi sold 61 million smartphones in 2014, says it's just getting started Xiaomi, the world's third-largest smartphone maker and one of the planet's largest privately-held companies, sold 61.12 million smartphones last year, bringing in $12 billion in revenue.

CEO Lei Jun on Weibo released the figures, which show huge growth for the four-year old company. In 2012, they sold 7.2 million units, followed by 18.7 million in 2013. Weibo says the company has internal expectations of 100 million phones sold for 2015. Thanks to such massive growth, the company recently raised $1.1 billion from investors that value the company at $45 billion.

Initially selling just in China, Xiaomi has expanded to seven Asia companies, with more expected in 2015. There have been reports linking the company to launches in Mexico, Brazil and Russia, opening up the company to hundreds of millions of new consumers.

Xiaomi has become popular by selling powerful, stylish phones for rock-bottom prices, with all of their unlocked devices selling for $150-$350, well below the unlocked price of $700 for the Apple iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S5, for example.

The company has razor thin margins due to the aggressive pricing, but remains lightly profitable as they sell services and build their ecosystem. The company also has a small marketing budget and low overhead, which helps keep costs down.

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AfterDawn: News

Full VLC media player is finally available for Windows phones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2015 4:55

Full VLC media player is finally available for Windows phones After months of limited alphas, Videolan's VLC media player is now available in the Windows Phone Store as a more complete beta.

The app is notable for its widespread compatibility for video and audio formats and it also brings native MKV support.

Reads the company's quick blurb: "VLC media player is a portable, free and open-source, cross-platform media player and streaming media server written by the VideoLAN project. VLC media player supports most audio and video compression formats, files and streaming protocols."

VLC is the most popular media player for PC among the tech crowd, and has been popular for mobile devices, as well, despite issues getting into the iOS App Store.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix beginning to crack down on proxy, VPN users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2015 4:45

Netflix beginning to crack down on proxy, VPN users Due to international laws that vary by country, not all Netflix subscriptions are created equal.

A few more tech-savvy users have found ways to get around the lesser catalogs of their country's Netflix using proxies, VPNs and other workarounds to get access to the full American library of streaming content.

According to one popular VPN (virtual private network), Torguard, there has been a large spike in errors for users trying to access American Netflix through their service from other countries. "This is a brand new development. A few weeks ago we received the first report from a handful of clients that Netflix blocked access due to VPN or proxy usage. This is the very first time I've ever heard Netflix displaying this type of error message to a VPN user," said TorGuard's Ben Van der Pelt.

Others that are using custom DNS settings are out of luck if they use the Android app, since Netflix just updated the software to block such workarounds by forcing Google DNS, as well.

While relatively few have been affected, so far, this could be just the beginning of a wider-spread crackdown on unauthorized Netflix usage.

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AfterDawn: News

New Alcatel Pixi 3 smartphone runs Android, Windows and Firefox OS

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2015 8:06

New Alcatel Pixi 3 smartphone runs Android, Windows and Firefox OS Alcatel has introduced their latest smartphone, the Pixi 3, a device that is compatible with three major operating systems.

The name may seem familiar to Palm/WebOS fans, and Alcatel decided on the name after acquiring the Palm brand and its licenses late last year.

There will be 4 versions of the Pixi 3, starting with a 3.5-inch 3G model for the very budget-conscious, followed by LTE models at 4, 4.5 and 5 inches. All of the phones will be able to run Windows Phone, Android, or Firefox OS.

Alcatel has released Android, Windows Phone and Firefox devices in the past but it remains to be seen how seamlessly it integrated all three in one device.

The company has their own booth at CES, so we should have plenty of more info starting on January 6th.




AfterDawn: News

Acer is now the proud owner of the largest Chromebook on the market

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2015 6:00

Acer is now the proud owner of the largest Chromebook on the market Acer has decided that the Chromebook market has devices that are just too small.

The company will soon be releasing its new Chromebook 15, the first Chrome OS notebook with a 15-inch display (15.6 to be exact).

Design-wise, the notebook looks exactly like the company's smaller Chromebook 13, except that it will be easily the heaviest Chromebook on the market, at 4.85 pounds.

For your money, you get to choose between 1080p or 366 x 768 display resolution (non-Touchscreen unlike the Chromebook 13), and either a new Intel Core i3 or a Celeron processor. The notebook has USB 3.0, USB 2.0, an SD reader and an HDMI port. Other options are 32GB or 64GB internal storage (SSD) and 2GB or 4GB RAM.

The base price is $250, but it remains unclear how much a 1080p, Core i3, 4GB, 64GB model will set you back.




AfterDawn: News

Acer unveils 'frameless' edge-to-edge gaming monitor

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2015 5:25

Acer unveils 'frameless' edge-to-edge gaming monitor Acer will reveal some great new PC monitors at the upcoming CES event next week, including a gaming monitor with an edge-to-edge frameless design.

The Acer XG270HU claims to be the "world's first gaming monitor with an edge-to-edge frameless" design for its 27-inch, 2,560×1,440 pixel, 144Hz refresh rate display. Acer promises 1ms response time without ghosting and smearing. The frameless monitors are a great evolution for gamers or traders or others who require multiple monitors and would like seamless transitions between the monitors.

XG27OHUs have HDMI, DVI and DisplayPort ports and Acer has added EyeProtect and ComfyView tech to reduce eye strain and reflection from any external light sources.

Shipping in March, the monitor will be available globally. The price has not yet been revealed.

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AfterDawn: News

Alcatel OneTouch reveals their first budget smartwatch for the masses

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2015 4:45

Alcatel OneTouch reveals their first budget smartwatch for the masses Alcatel OneTouch has announced the launch of their first smartwatch, a budget-friendly device that it will show off at the CES event next week.

The aptly named "Watch" will be circular, come with different straps, dozens of watch faces right out of the gate and include "apps that allow users to monitor daily activity."

Most notably, the company says the Watch will cost "a fraction" of the price that its competitors sell watches for, meaning the device will sell for under the $299 standard price of high-end devices like the Moto 360 (with metal straps) and most likely much less than the $349 base price for the Apple Watch.

While it remains unclear what specs power the device, it appears from the press photos that it does not run on Google's Android Wear platform but rather a proprietary operating system. We will know more on January 6th.




AfterDawn: News

Analyst expectations for upcoming Apple Watch are wildly different

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2015 4:26

Analyst expectations for upcoming Apple Watch are wildly different Last year, Apple introduced their upcoming Apple Watch, a sleek smartwatch that the company hopes will bring the smart watch out of the niche and into the mainstream.

There has been a big question since their announcement, however: How many watches will Apple sell in the first year?

Industry analysts seem to be as confused by the question as the common observer is, with wildly different estimates. The watch is the first truly new product from Apple since the iPad (which transformed the tablet market) but there are questions about whether the watch can be nearly as successful as its brother products the iPhone and iPad.

BI has put together a nice chart on which firms are expecting what, with Morgan Stanley's being the craziest (60 million is NOT happening) and Gene Munster at Piper Jaffray with the low at 10 million.

It is important to keep in mind that the Apple Watch starts at $349, likely placing it well out of the price range for the non-techie casual device owner that already has a $700 iPhone and a $500 iPad.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony compensates the down time for Plus members

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jan 2015 1:14

Sony compensates the down time for Plus members Sony has told that it will be adding free extension to PlayStation Plus members' subscriptions. The down time was caused by a DDoS attack that targeted both Sony's and Microsoft's servers.

Sony thanks the patience of its customers and will be reimbursing the lost subscription time and more. The extension will be five days and will easily cover the lost time – although not the Christmas gaming. Extension will be added automatically.

In addition Sony has decided to provide a discount for any games, TV shows, or movies in one cart purchase. This 10% discount will be given later this month.

Even if the compensation seems like a rather minor one Engadget estimates that the cost of just the extended subscription time to Sony is over $5 million.




AfterDawn: News

Is homebrew headed to the Xbox One following SDK leak?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jan 2015 3:58

Is homebrew headed to the Xbox One following SDK leak? A group calling itself H4LT has released the Xbox One software development kit (SDK) to the Internet, meaning we could be seeing homebrew apps in the near future.

The group first teased screenshots of the November Durango XDK (Xbox Development Kit) and has now linked a 478MB .rar file that is available via Mega or torrents.

"We leaked it to the community because if something is shared then...progress is achieved faster than alone. The SDK will basically allow the community to reverse and open doors towards homebrew applications being present on the Xbox One," said a team member in an interview. There is no current exploits known, but with hundreds (or thousands) of eyes on the prize, we could hear something soon.

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AfterDawn: News

'The Wolf of Wall Street' ends 2014 as the most pirated film of the year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jan 2015 2:35

'The Wolf of Wall Street' ends 2014 as the most pirated film of the year According to a new report, Martin Scorsese's blockbuster 'The Wolf of Wall Street' was the most pirated film of 2014.

The movie, which stars Leonardo DiCaprio playing real-life fraudster Jordan Belfort, was downloaded illegally over 30 million times, edging out Disney's billion dollar smash hit 'Frozen.' The figures come via piracy-tracking firm Excipio, who says the figures were much higher than in past years.

In third place was Robocop, although the figures include the original 1987 version and the 2014 reboot.

Full list:

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AfterDawn: News

Is The Pirate Bay coming back as soon as next month?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jan 2015 1:38

Is The Pirate Bay coming back as soon as next month? Infamous torrent tracker The Pirate Bay could be finally on the verge of a comeback, three weeks after a raid potentially took the site down for good.

TPB has started a new counter that is counting down to February 1st, with the promise that a big announcement is coming. The counter was previously counting the time since the December 9th raid that took down the site.

Since TPB's domain came back alive two weeks after the raid, there have been a few cryptic messages posted, a link to 'The Interview' and then the counter.

Also of note, the javascript that is used to show off the fireworks running in the back of the counter have the name "allishere.js" perhaps hinting that backups of TPB are available.

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