AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (9 / 2015)

AfterDawn: News

Android has 1.4 billion active users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 30 Sep 2015 12:02

Android has 1.4 billion active users According to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Android now has 1.4 billion active users around the globe, a huge milestone for the mobile platform.

The last number we had heard was 1 billion back in June 2014, so it seems Android activations are moving exponentially fast.

Despite the numbers, Android has likely peaked in overall market share, at around 82 percent, even with strong emerging market growth.

"We've added 400 million active devices and the momentum is happening around the world -- especially in emerging economies. In many, many places. In countries like Indonesia and Vietnam Android has literally doubled in the last year. And what's exciting about this is in most of these cases these are people who are adopting a smartphone for the first time," added Pichai. "We are well on the way to bringing the next billion users online."

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AfterDawn: News

Google shows off expensive, gorgeous Pixel C reference tablet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Sep 2015 11:46

Google shows off expensive, gorgeous Pixel C reference tablet Google CEO Sundar Pichai and product management exec Andrew Bowers announced today the latest addition to the high-end Pixel range: The Pixel C tablet.

The tablet is a $499 10.2-inch tablet running on Android Marshmallow (rather than Chrome OS) with 3GB RAM and a powerful Nvidia Tegra X1 processor.

Bowers took time onstage to show off the Pixel's key feature, a $149 keyboard that attaches via magnets, turning the tablet into a laptop, basically. In fact, Bowers says the "C" stands for convertible.

"Mobile devices often force you back to a laptop when you want to write a document or respond to a long email," said Bowers. "And while there are plenty of keyboard accessories, they are often just that -- they're accessories. They have cramped keyboards, require you to use them on a desk, or get in the way when you don't want to type. In the case of tablets, we asked ourselves what would an ideal touch plus typing experience look like? Something where the screen and the keyboard complement each other."

The tablet will be available in time for the holidays, and as of writing only has a "teaser" landing page. You can see that here: Pixel C




AfterDawn: News

Google shows off new, updated Chromecast

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Sep 2015 11:06

Google shows off new, updated Chromecast Alongside its bigger announcements, Google also unveiled a new second-generation Chromecast streaming dongle today.

Design-wise, Google has changed the device from a "stick" to a round disc that has an HDMI arm that extends out or sticks to the back when needed. The change in design was made so the dongle can hang further away from the TV and reduce interference.

The new Chromecast also support 802.11ac and 5Ghz bands (thank you Google) and the company says there are now three different antennas for optimized streaming compared to the one the original Chromecast had.

Google also boasted that there are now thousands of apps available that support casting, and Google has revamped the actual Chromecast app, adding a discovery section that searches for what is hot in the streaming apps you have downloaded on your devices.

The search giant says they have sold 20 million units of the original since its launch, quite a success for an experimental product, and the second-generation dongle will keep the original's $35 price tag so Google is hoping the strong sales will continue.

Check it out here: Google Play




AfterDawn: News

Google unveils Nexus 5X, a second flagship

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Sep 2015 10:29

Google unveils Nexus 5X, a second flagship In addition to launching their Nexus 6P high-end flagship today, Google also showed off the LG-built Nexus 5X.

The new smartphone will serve as the smaller of the two flagships, the same way Apple has the 6s and 6s Plus, and the specs are still very solid, especially for the price.

Under the hood of the Nexus 5 is a Snapdragon 808 processor, 2GB RAM and a 2700mAh. The phone runs on Android Marshmallow, has a 5.2-inch 1080p display (with Gorilla Glass 3), the USB-C charging port, and the same 12MP camera of the Nexus 6P which includes 1.55-micron pixels for excellent night shots.

Just like its big brother, the Nexus 5X also adds a fingerprint scanner, calling the tech Nexus Imprint. Supposedly, it takes just 600ms to recognize your prints, and it actually improves over time.

The smartphone is also priced at about half the price of the iPhone 6S, starting at $379 for the 16GB model.

Check out the device here: Nexus 5X

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AfterDawn: News

The Google Nexus 6P is here starting at $499

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 29 Sep 2015 9:42

The Google Nexus 6P is here starting at $499 Google's latest flagship is official, although we have seen a slow drip of leaks over the past few weeks that took away some of the surprise.

The Nexus 6P, built by Huawei, is slightly smaller than its predecessor the Nexus 6 with a 5.7-inch WQHD display, and features a completely redone design that is just 7.3mm thick and features an all-metal body.

Under the hood is 3GB RAM, a Snapdragon 810 v2.1 processor, and a huge 3450mAh battery. The phone is the first Nexus to include a fingerprint sensor (placed neatly on the back), which can authorize payments and unlock the phone just like on Samsung and Apple devices.

Where the Nexus 6P really shines, however, are the cameras. The selfie cam is up to 8MP and the rear camera is 12.3MP with a special Sony sensor that allows for more light to be taken in and improve low-light photos significantly. The camera also allows for 4K video, burst mode, slow-mo, and more. In early spec comparisons, the Nexus 6P is expected to have the best camera of any smartphone with the exception of the new Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+.

Huawei has included a USB Type-C port for charging (meaning you can insert the cable in any direction) and it should actually improve charging speeds. Just like the Nexus 6, the 6P also supports fast charging, meaning up to 50 percent of charge in an hour.

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AfterDawn: News

Pirate Bay founder freed from jail in Sweden

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Sep 2015 10:49

Pirate Bay founder freed from jail in Sweden Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svartholm has finished serving his time in Danish and Swedish jails following his convictions for hacking and copyright crimes.

Back in 2011, the four founders of the Pirate Bay were all sentenced to one year in prison by Svartholm ran, ending up in Cambodia before getting arrested in 2012 and extradited back to Sweden. After serving his initial sentence, he was then accused of hacking IT company Logica, Nordea Bank and IT company CSC by Swedish and Danish authorities.

For his part in the hack on Logica, Svartholm received one year and for the attack on CSC, three and a half years. For good behavior, he was released early in Denmark last month but shockingly he was arrested again and sent back to Sweden to serve one more month for the original crime.

As of writing, Svartholm appears to be a free man for good.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple reveals record sales for latest iPhones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Sep 2015 6:24

Apple reveals record sales for latest iPhones Apple has said today that they have sold 13 million new iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus, a new record for three days of availability.

"Sales for iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus have been phenomenal, blowing past any previous first weekend sales results in Apple's history," said Tim Cook, Apple's CEO. "Customers' feedback is incredible and they are loving 3D Touch and Live Photos, and we can't wait to bring iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus to customers in even more countries on October 9."

Furthermore, Apple says the phones will be available in 40 more countries starting October 9th, and in 130 countries by the end of the year.

The strong early sales likely bode well for Apple's quarterly earnings moving forward, as there had been worries about the struggling Chinese economy.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix is now its own studio

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Sep 2015 2:58

Netflix is now its own studio Netflix has confirmed that more "Originals" are coming to the streaming service, and Netflix will be in charge of shooting them, as well, lessening their dependence on third party studios.

For example, Netflix is actively considering filming Chelsea Handler's new talk show and will also be the studio behind "Flaked" and "Lady Dynamite," both set for release next year.

By all accounts, the move makes perfect sense. Netflix controls the worldwide rights for all of its original programming, some of its most popular shows are actually owned by other media entities. Marvel owns "Daredevil" and "Jessica Jones" while Lions Gate owns "Orange is the New Black." Over time, the licenses Netflix has will lapse and the series will no longer be exclusives.

"Obviously there's benefits if we produce a show," said CFO David Wells. "If there's great reach across the world and we can distribute that show and it will be consumed and enjoyed across the world. So there's tremendous benefits there in terms of just the scale of distributing it."

Netflix recently began leasing 200,000 square feet of office and pre-production space in a tower at Sunset Bronson Studios in Hollywood and is likely to add another 120,000 square feet for sound stages. The move is expected in early 2017.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Windows 10 now installed on 100 million PCs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Sep 2015 2:38

Report: Windows 10 now installed on 100 million PCs According to insider sources, Windows 10 has now surpassed 100 million installs, a major milestone for the operating system.

That number is also likely to jump in the near future as Microsoft just signed a deal with Baidu to launch Windows 10 in China.

Additionally, Microsoft is expecting a boost in October when they introduce the Surface Pro 4 and other updates to the operating system.

Microsoft has long claimed they want 1 billion Windows 10 users across all platforms within 3 years of launching the operating system and they appear to be off to a strong enough start.

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AfterDawn: News

Google Nexus 6P leaked in its entirety

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Sep 2015 11:36

Google Nexus 6P leaked in its entirety Two days ahead of its official unveiling, we have all the specs and official pictures of the upcoming Google flagship, the Nexus 6P.

The new phone will be the first Nexus device to have an all-metal body, the first with a fingerprint scanner and the first with USB-C connectors.

As expected, the screen is a 5.7-inch QHD with Gorilla Glass 4, and the smartphone is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 v2.1 processor and 3GB RAM. The phone has a massive 3450mAh battery, and will run on Android Marshmallow, which has built-in battery efficiency tech.

On the back of the phone is the fingerprint scanner, in a similar position to how LG has their fingerprint scanners compared to where Samsung and Apple have theirs (up front).

The cameras will also get a nice upgrade, with the rear camera at 12.3MP and the front camera at 8MP. The rear camera has an F-stop rating of 2.0 and the camera's sensor uses 1.55 μM pixels allowing for much more light to be taken in - great for low light situations.

You can take a look at the full list of specs and features here: Imgur




AfterDawn: News

Zuckerberg and Gates want Internet for all by 2020

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Sep 2015 11:09

Zuckerberg and Gates want Internet for all by 2020 Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates have both pledged to help bring Internet to everyone on the planet by 2020.

"When people have access to the tools and knowledge of the Internet, they have access to opportunities that make life better for all of us,"
reads the declaration. "The Internet belongs to everyone. It should be accessible by everyone."

The declaration was made at the UN this week, as part of a larger pledge by the United Nations to get everyone out of poverty by 2030.

"The Internet is more than just a network of machines; it is the key driver of social and economic progress in our time," Zuckerberg added. "A 'like' or a post won't stop a tank or a bullet, but when people are connected, we have the chance to build a common global community with a shared understanding -- and that's a powerful force," he said.

By giving Internet access to all, Zuckerberg estimated that affordable education could be brought to 600 million children who would otherwise grow up without education.

So far, the UN says $25 billion has been pledged by the U.S., Canada and other nations although the UN has estimated it will cost over $5 trillion to make its goals a reality.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Google under antitrust scrutiny over Android operating system

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Sep 2015 10:50

Report: Google under antitrust scrutiny over Android operating system According to a new report, the FTC and Justice Department are prepared to begin an investigation into Google's Android operating system and whether the search giant blocked competitor's access to the OS.

Technology companies have been complaining that Google gives priority to its own services while restricting others.

Of note, the inquiry is still in early stages and the FTC could end up not filing an official case against Google. The European Union has started its own investigation into Android, as well.

Android has nearly 60 percent share of the U.S. market, and much higher share around the globe. The investigation will likely focus on Google's long-term strategy of bundling its own software into the stock version of Android including YouTube, Maps, Chrome, Gmail, Google Play Music and Drive. The watch dog group will see whether that practice harms developers of rival applications, and if it hurts manufacturers that build Android phones but may have their own rival apps.

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AfterDawn: News

Blackberry's Android phone is official and it's called the Priv

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Sep 2015 9:20

Blackberry's Android phone is official and it's called the Priv BlackBerry's first Android smartphone is official, and it's called the Priv.

Formerly known by its codename Venice, the device will launch later this year.

"Today, I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry's heritage and core mission of protecting our customers' privacy," said John Chen, Blackberry's executive chairman and CEO. "Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform."

Plenty of pictures have been leaked over the past few months of the device, which will have a full QWERTY keyoard that slides out, as well as a touchscreen. Additionally, the device will be powerful with a QHD display, a Snapdragon 808 processor, 3GB RAM and 5MP/18MP cameras. It will run on Android 5.1.1 right out of the box, as well, in stock with the exception of a few BlackBerry ecosystem apps.

While the specs seem nice and there are definitely people out there that miss a full keyboard, it will be interesting to see if the BlackBerry name can translate to any sales.




AfterDawn: News

Report: Samsung owned smartphone market in Q2

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Sep 2015 9:04

Report: Samsung owned smartphone market in Q2 According to new research from Counterpoint, Samsung was the undisputed king of smartphones for the second quarter.

For the Q2, Samsung had 21 percent of global sales, beating out Apple at 14 percent and Huawei at 9 percent. ZTE and Xiaomi rounded out the top 5 at 5 percent each.

In most continents, the numbers were similar, except for North America where Apple had a 31 percent share to Samsung's 24 percent. Of note, Xiaomi actually beat out Apple in Asia, at 11 percent to 10 percent.

Also of note, Samsung had 19 percent of all mobile phone sales for the quarter, which includes non-smartphones, as well.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung Pay has been popular - in Korea

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Sep 2015 5:17

Samsung Pay has been popular - in Korea Samsung has boasted of the success of Samsung Pay this weekend, although the service is currently only available in South Korea.

The tech giant says there have been $30 million worth of transactions done in the first month, through 1.5 million purchases. While those numbers are very small, Samsung says it's a lot higher than they expected for the first month of availability in a limited market.

36 percent of those with the app installed used it in the past month, and 10 percent used it daily.

The Galaxy Note 5 was the most used device, unsurprisingly, with 60 percent of purchases being made by Note owners. Samsung Pay comes pre-installed on the device.

For now, the Korean experiment is the first of an eventual global launch, although it is unclear what the road map and time frame are.

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AfterDawn: News

Pebble surprises with new circular 'Pebble Time Round'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Sep 2015 11:15

Pebble surprises with new circular 'Pebble Time Round' Pebble has surprised this week, introducing the Pebble Time Round with a circular display and a much thinner profile than previous devices.

In-line with other smartwatches, the smartwatch will begin at $249 (for leather strap model) or $299 for black or gold metal bands.

The recently released Pebble Time was the first of Pebble's devices to introduce a color e-ink display and the new watch integrates the same technology.

Unfortunately, Pebble has killed one of their best features: battery life. All previous Pebble watches offered at minimum three days of battery life, and usually around 6 days, but the new Pebble Time Round only promises 2 days with regular use. With the loss of battery life does come a massive upgrade in looks and a slimmer profile, so I guess the trade off could be worth it.

The Pebble Time Round goes on sale on November 10th.

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AfterDawn: News

Alibaba shows off $110 smartwatch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Sep 2015 10:33

Alibaba shows off $110 smartwatch China's Alibaba has announced their payments-focused smartwatch 'Pay Watch' this week, with plans to crowdfund the device through their online ecommerce site Taobao.

Alibaba was quick to say that the watch is being designed and manufactured by FiiSmart, and that the watch will run on YunOS for Wear, which integrates Alipay for payments.

Unofficially, the specs include a 1.63-inch AMOLED display, a dual-core CPU with 4GB of internal storage, a 300mAh battery, and compatibility with Android and iOS. The battery has a stated life of 36 hours with regular use.

Furthermore, the smartwatch has heart-rate monitoring, motion detection, a pedometer and will have other built-in Alibaba features like the ability to buy directly through Taobao.

Pricing is still a bit unknown, but Alibaba says you can get the watch for the equivalent of $110-$160 depending on bands, etc.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Minecraft goes VR

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Sep 2015 10:09

Minecraft goes VR Facebook and Microsoft have announced that one of the world's most popular games, Minecraft, will have its own virtual reality version soon.

Facebook-owned Oculus VR and Microsoft-owned Minecraft are partnering on the VR version of the game, and the title will be sold through the Windows store and the Oculus store.

The VR version will be a port of 'Minecraft for Windows 10,' confirmed Oculus.

There is little else known except that the game will work via the Samsung Gear VR or via next year's Oculus Rift headset, but it will be interesting to see how you can interact with the Minecraft world in virtual reality.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung's new Gear VR will cost just $99

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Sep 2015 9:44

Samsung's new Gear VR will cost just $99 Samsung executive Peter Koo took to the stage at the Oculus Connect event this week, announcing the updated Gear VR, which apparently will be ready in time for Black Friday.

According to Koo, the new device will be available for their entire 2015 Galaxy lineup, including the Note 5, S6 Edge+, S6 and S6 Edge.

The new Gear is 22 percent lighter than its predecessor, has improved touchpad performance and will give users "access to an expanding universe of premium content" - although it is unclear what that content entails.

Most importantly, the price of the next generation Gear VR is just $99, an obvious play on getting more expensive smartphone buyers to add the "accessory."

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AfterDawn: News

Sling TV announces UI update for Xbox One

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Sep 2015 9:20

Sling TV announces UI update for Xbox One Sling has announced that it will soon be updating its UI for the Xbox One, adding better functionality.

The overall user interface will remain the same, but Sling says there are a ton of bug fixes, and streaming quality has been improved significantly.

Additionally, you can now see the full schedule for any channel you have, as well as video-on-demand content for the channel all in one place.

Of lesser note, searching now uses the "Y" button for the Xbox just like nearly every other app does.

Read the full changes here: Sling




AfterDawn: News

Sling TV just had its UI updated for Xbox One

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Sep 2015 9:18

Sling TV just had its UI updated for Xbox One Sling has announced that it will be soon updating its UI for the Xbox One, adding better functionality.

The overall user interface will remain the same, but Sling says there are a ton of bug fixes, and streaming quality has been improved significantly.

Additionally, you can now see the full schedule for any channel you have, as well as video-on-demand content for the channel all in one place.

Of lesser note, searching now uses the "Y" button for the Xbox just like nearly every other app does.

Read the full changes here: Sling




AfterDawn: News

'Angry Birds' movie is an origin story about why they are so angry

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Sep 2015 12:02

'Angry Birds' movie is an origin story about why they are so angry Rovio has released the first trailer for their upcoming 'Angry Birds' movie, one that should answer the question about why birds and pigs hate each other.

"The question Rovio gets more than anything is 'Why are these birds so angry?'
" said producer John Cohen. "This is the origin story for how that conflict came to exist between birds and little green piggies."

At this point, the movie may be the last attempt for Rovio to save its business as the company has not been able to recreate the success of the first Angry Birds game. The movie certainly has star power (for an animated flick), with Jason Sudeikis as Red, Josh Gad as the yellow bird, Chuck and Danny McBride as Bomb. Additionally, there are quite a few popular comedic talents voicing the pigs (and more).

Angry Birds the movie is set for release in March.

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AfterDawn: News

Funny Video: Conan plays Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 with Tony Hawk and Lil Wayne

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Sep 2015 11:48

Funny Video: Conan plays Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5 with Tony Hawk and Lil Wayne Late night TV host Conan O'Brien has updated his 'Clueless Gamer' series with the new Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 5, playing along hilariously with Tony Hawk himself and rapper Lil Wayne, who is also in the game.

The game is set for launch next week, and many early reviews have the game 'reviving' the series, which had flatlined since its early PS2 roots.

Besides getting back to its skating roots, it seems the game has added some extra fun, as well, such as 'Big Head Mode' where you have to keep doing tricks to not have your oversized head explode.

Watch the hilarious video here:

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AfterDawn: News

Vertu's updated luxury Signature Touch has powerful specs, great looks, massive price tag

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Sep 2015 11:10

Vertu's updated luxury Signature Touch has powerful specs, great looks, massive price tag Vertu, known for selling smartphones that cost over $10,000, has updated their flagship Signature Touch device, adding high-end specs to its sleek looks.

The new Signature Touch has a 5.2-inch 1080p display protected by 'fifth generation sapphire,' is powered by 4GB RAM and a Snapdragon 810 processor, has 64GB internal storage and a microSD slot and Android 5.1. Additionally, the phone has a 21MP rear camera with phase-detection autofocus and 4K recording.

Furthermore, the phone has Dolby Digital Plus certified stereo speakers, a large 3160mAh battery, supports nearly all LTE bands, has wireless and quick charging support, and iPass support - allowing for a connection to Wi-Fi nearly everywhere for free.

Of course, Vertu has kept their grade 5 titanium casing, a handcrafted calf leather back, and ceramic pieces, meaning the hardware is top notch, as well.

Finally, Vertu will give you free 18 months of Vertu Concierge, a 24/7 real-life personal assistant service, access to Vertu Life for "unrestricted access to elite and invitation-only events" and Vertu CERTAINTY, a way to encrypt all your communications.

Prices for the Signature Touch range from $9900 to $20900 depending on the combo you choose, and will begin shipping on October 16th.

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AfterDawn: News

Evleaks gives us a good look at HTC's One A9, an iPhone clone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Sep 2015 10:34

Evleaks gives us a good look at HTC's One A9, an iPhone clone Thanks to infamous leaker Evan Blass (@Evleaks), we have a good look at HTC's iPhone clone, the One A9.

The device will sell in six colors, including rose gold, garnet, 'acid gold' and a few silver/gray variants.

As rumored, the HTC One A9 will have a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED, run on a Snapdragon 617 processor, 2GB RAM, 16GB internal storage, dual 4MP/13MP cameras, a 2150mAh battery, a microSD slot, a fingerprint reader and a metal body.

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AfterDawn: News

John McAfee: Cyberwar is inevitable and we are not prepared

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Sep 2015 1:21

John McAfee: Cyberwar is inevitable and we are not prepared John McAfee, the developer of the first commercial anti-virus program (McAfee), and current U.S Presidential hopeful, had some grim words about the future of the U.S. and its lack of preparedness for the inevitable 'cyberwar' that will hit all nations.

As the nominee for the newly created 'Cyber Party,' McAfee is building a run around a platform of helping bring cyber security to the U.S. and especially the government.

Here is is speech in full:

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AfterDawn: News

Instagram reaches 400 million active monthly users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Sep 2015 12:11

Instagram reaches 400 million active monthly users Instagram has announced that the service now has 400 million users, with a good majority coming from outside the U.S.

The company says 75 percent of users live outside the U.S. and over 50 percent of the last 100 million to join the service are from Europe and Asia. Additionally, Brazil, Japan and Indonesia were among the largest new users of the app.

"Instagrammers continue to capture incredible photos and videos from all corners of the earth (and even the solar system). We've seen inspiring moments like the first surface image of Pluto and Champions League celebrations, as well as striking locales like the white pools of Turkey and a Namibian desert ghost town. These are just a few of the more than 80 million photos per day shared on Instagram," says the company.

Instagram has been actively updating its service in the past year, adding new filters, different photo viewing modes, and better video support.

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AfterDawn: News

Snowden: Alien communications are too well encrypted to distinguish from random noise

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Sep 2015 10:45

Snowden: Alien communications are too well encrypted to distinguish from random noise Edward Snowden believes he has answered the Fermi paradox: Encryption.

Why, with such a vast universe that has been around for billions of years, has no alien entity been able to send any signal to us? Snowden suggests, in an interview with Neil deGrasse Tyson, that alien signals are too well encrypted to be distinguished from random noise.

"When you look at encrypted communications, if they are properly encrypted, there is no real way to tell that they are encrypted. You can't distinguish a properly encrypted communication, at least in the theoretical sense, from random noise," added Snowden. "So if you have an alien civilization trying to listen for other civilizations, or our civilization trying to listen for aliens, there's only one small period in the development of their society where all of their communications will be sent via the most primitive and most unprotected means."

"When we think about everything we're hearing from our satellites, or everything they're hearing from our civilization, if there are indeed aliens out there, all of their communications are encrypted by default. So what we're hearing -- which is actually an alien television show or a phone call or a message between their planet and their own GPS constellation, whatever it happens to be -- is indistinguishable to us from cosmic microwave background radiation."

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AfterDawn: News

Apple iOS 9 reaches 50 percent adoption

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Sep 2015 7:15

Apple iOS 9 reaches 50 percent adoption Apple has announced this week that iOS 9 is the fastest adoption of the operating system yet, with 50 percent of devices already having installed it.

"Customer response to the iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus has been incredibly positive, we can't wait to get our most advanced iPhones ever into customers' hands starting this Friday," said Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "iOS 9 is also off to an amazing start, on pace to be downloaded by more users than any other software release in Apple's history."

iOS 9 improved Siri, added better encryption for user privacy, transit information in Apple Maps, updated News and Notes apps and more intelligent search.

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AfterDawn: News

4chan has been sold

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Sep 2015 11:32

4chan has been sold Christopher Poole, the founder of anonymous message board 4chan, has sold the company to another pioneer in the anonymous destination community.

Poole, who started the site in 2003, has sold 4chan to Hiroyuki Nishimura, the founder of 2Channel - an early anonymous board based on anime and the Japanese culture.

"Hiroyuki is literally the only person in the world with as much if not more experience than myself in running an anonymous, large destination community that serves tens of millions of people,"
Poole noted. "He's the great-grandfather of all of this."

While 4chan is popular, it has never reached the popularity of sites like reddit, which are worth millions and have been gravitating towards becoming real businesses while 4chan has admittedly remained more of a hobby site.

Nishimura, for his part, was very happy to own the site. "I'm proud to be taking Mr. Poole's place as the owner of 4chan. I've long admired 4chan's place on the web as a producer of anonymous and Internet culture, and look forward to continuing to grow and develop the site and support the community."

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AfterDawn: News

21 Inc. reveals a 'Bitcoin Computer'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Sep 2015 10:24

21 Inc. reveals a 'Bitcoin Computer' The venture-capital backed 21 Inc. startup has released their first product, 'The 21 Bitcoin Computer,' a Linux-based hardware that incorporates the bitcoin protocol directly into the operating system.

21 Inc. wants to make bitcoin into a standard feature of all web services, and the company says the new computer is aimed at developers rather than consumers.

The 21 Inc Bitcoin Computer's OS will "full copy of bitcoin's code and related software that will allow developers to make bitcoin a core feature of the products they build." Additionally, it has a built in chip that is linked to 21's own mining pool, allowing for bitcoin to come to the user.

21's CEO Balaji Srinivasan expects developers to create services that can be monetized in bitcoin. "The utility of bitcoin up until this point has been the speculation value," Mr. Srinivasan added. "We have a new, pretty strong use case for bitcoin."

The computer goes on sale in November for $399.

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AfterDawn: News

Security software company AVG can now sell your search and browser history to advertisers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Sep 2015 8:33

Security software company AVG can now sell your search and browser history to advertisers Security software company AVG has updated their privacy policy giving the company the rights to sell search and browser history data to advertisers.

The company does not charge for their free antivirus software, but will now be able to make some revenue from your "non-personal data."

Some privacy experts believe that move makes the software spyware now, although other software companies have been doing the same for some time. "Antivirus software runs on our devices with elevated privileges so it can detect and block malware, adware, spyware and other threats," said Alexander Hanff security expert and chief executive of Think Privacy. "It is utterly unethical to [the] highest degree and a complete and total abuse of the trust we give our security software."

When probed about the update to the policy, AVG says it will need to make revenue in order to keep the product free and in the future may "employ a variety of means, including subscription, ads and data models."

In addition, the AVG spokesperson said you will be able to opt-out, with no 'decrease in functionality' to the software. "Those users who do not want us to use non-personal data in this way will be able to turn it off, without any decrease in the functionality our apps will provide," the spokesperson noted. "While AVG has not utilised data models to date, we may, in the future, provided that it is anonymous, non-personal data, and we are confident that our users have sufficient information and control to make an informed choice."

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AfterDawn: News

Rumor: New Google phones to be called Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Sep 2015 11:13

Rumor: New Google phones to be called Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P According to a new report, Google's upcoming flagship phones will be called the Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P.

There had been quite a few questions as to what the new phones would be called since last year's Nexus 6 is the highest number the company could use before hitting Nexus 7, the name of their original tablet.

The two devices will officially launch at the end of the month during Google's September 29th event, but details of both have been leaking for months.

From what we know, partner LG is building the 5X, while Huawei is releasing the 6P, which will be the larger and more powerful of the two.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Konami is basically done with console gaming except for PES

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Sep 2015 11:47

Report: Konami is basically done with console gaming except for PES Konami is having a really rough year.

Popular game publisher Konami may be completely out of the console industry, if new reports are to be believed. Following a high-profile fall out with top developer Hideo Kojima and a scathing report on the company's work conditions, the company was already on fragile ground but this could be the final straw.

According to new reports, the publisher has ceased all development on triple-A console games (with the exception of Pro Evolution Soccer) and will be focusing on mobile gaming moving forward. The mobile gaming rumor is not new, and allegedly led to Konami's Fox Engine head Julien Merceron leaving the company unhappily earlier this year. The console news is new, however, and pretty shocking.

Furthermore, gamers should not expect any "ambitious console games" until the 2017 fiscal year, adds the report. Fans of Silent Hill, Metal Gear, Castlevania and Contra - well, this could be a rough couple of years.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Spotify to support Chromecast soon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Sep 2015 11:23

Report: Spotify to support Chromecast soon According to a new report, Google is expected to soon announce that Spotify will be supported on the streaming dongle.

Other companies have long made their services available via Chromecast, but Spotify has been notably absent. In 2014, Spotify even noted that it did not have any plans to work on Chromecast support, instead deciding to focus on their own "Connect" platform.

While Google has not confirmed the news, there is a major press event scheduled for September 29th in which the company will announce new Nexus devices and make plenty of announcements about other products including the Chromecast.

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AfterDawn: News

Sprint and T-Mobile to get Apple Watch next week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Sep 2015 4:09

Sprint and T-Mobile to get Apple Watch next week It appears that both Sprint and T-Mobile will soon begin offering the Apple Watch.

The two carriers have announced they will begin selling the popular smartwatch on September 25th, the same day the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus start shipping.

Reportedly, the wireless providers wanted to be able to sell the Apple Watch as an accessory to the new phones, which are expected to sell in the millions on launch weekend. AT&T and Verizon have not confirmed they will be offering the watch, but it is unlikely they would let rivals do so without getting in on the action.

Until now, the Watch had only been available in select retailers and the Apple Store.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple meets with DMV to talk self-driving cars

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 19 Sep 2015 3:25

Apple meets with DMV to talk self-driving cars There's one company that has been associated with the self-driving car over everyone else, Google, but a lot of other companies are looking into the possible – and some would argue probable, even inevitable – revolution of automobiles.

Apple's car plans might seem far fetched, but a new report from The Guardian suggests that they might be closer to a prototype than we might have thought.

According to documents Guardian has acquired Apple boss Mike Maletic has visited the California Department of Motor Vehicles and discussed about the company's plans for an "autonomous vehicle" or as self-driving cars. The meetings have been with at least three DMV officials including some that are specialists in the field of autonomous vehicles.

Apple likes to keep their plans secret but it will be impossible as they go forward with the development of the car, unofficially named Project Titan (not the concept in the picture). The auto industry requirements for testing demand a certain degree of transparency and certainly autonomous cars will have to be tested rigorously.

In addition to Google, Apple, Tesla and Uber many of the traditional car companies are looking into self-driving cars. Currently 10 companies have been granted permits to test driverless cars on California roads.




AfterDawn: News

Amazon Prime subscribers to get free Washington Post access for 6 months, discounts after

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Sep 2015 11:28

Amazon Prime subscribers to get free Washington Post access for 6 months, discounts after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos purchased popular newspaper The Washington Post two years ago and the exec is now bundling the paper with Amazon's Prime subscriptions.

Starting today, Prime subscribers will get the Post's 'National Digital Edition' for free for 6 months, followed by a discounted price of $3.99 per month afterwards if they want to keep it. Prime costs $99 per year and offers free 2-day shipping on millions of items as well as a free music streaming service and thousands of TV episodes and movies with Amazon Prime Video.

The National Digital Edition offers nearly all of the Post's content via desktop and mobile and normally costs $129.99 per year.

"Offering free access to new subscribers through Prime allows us to connect with millions of members nationwide who may not have tried The Post in the past," said Steve Hills, President and General Manager, The Washington Post. "With this special offer, Prime members can see firsthand why more than 50 million people monthly choose The Washington Post as their source for news."

Synergies of bundling the paper make sense for both of Bezos' companies. Amazon gets to offer yet another option to boost its Prime service and the Post gets an easy way to boost subscriptions and get more ad clicks.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple's first app for Android is now one of the worst reviewed in the Play Store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Sep 2015 10:34

Apple's first app for Android is now one of the worst reviewed in the Play Store Apple should have seen this coming.

Yesterday, Apple released their first app for Android devices: Move to iOS. The app helps Android users that may be looking to migrate to the iPhone to easily move their photos, messages, Google accounts and more.

While the app itself is probably pretty decent (I have not tested it), it is one of the most poorly reviewed apps in the Google Play Store as of writing, with an incredible 11,000 1-star reviews out of 14,000 total reviews.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Windows 10 is using your bandwidth to help strangers update their systems - here's how to turn it off

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Sep 2015 9:34

Microsoft Windows 10 is using your bandwidth to help strangers update their systems - here's how to turn it off Over the past few weeks we have been going over Windows 10's "dark side," which includes some hidden features like a keylogger and Wi-Fi detail sharing with your Facebook buddies.

The free update has been installed nearly 100 million times, so it is important if you are a user to see what you are getting into.

One of Windows 10's new features is that the update system has been converted to peer-to-peer (P2P), so if you download an update, you can share it to all the computers on your local network without having to download it again and again. Also, it helps to ensure that Microsoft's servers do not overload from millions of users getting updates at the same time. Now, that sounds perfectly reasonable - until you look a little bit deeper.

With the default option that Windows 10 ships with you are not only just sharing with your local network, you are also sharing your bandwidth with completely random strangers on the Internet, which of course has the ability to slow down your connection or if you are on a capped connection: the possibility of costing you money.

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AfterDawn: News

AT&T 'unlimited' plan owners will now get throttled after 22GB of data used

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 1:58

AT&T 'unlimited' plan owners will now get throttled after 22GB of data used AT&T, staring down a potential $100 million FCC fine, has changed their policy on throttling 'unlimited' data plan owners.

Back when the first iPhone launched, AT&T was selling unlimited data packages as a perk and there are still millions of customers on the grandfathered package, which should in theory offer completely unlimited data whether you use 100 MB or 100 GB.

Unfortunately for AT&T unlimited users, the last few years have seen their data throttled after 5GB no matter what, even though AT&T's own policy stated that throttling would only occur in times of network congestion.

The new policy allows up to 22GB of data per month, uninterrupted, afterwards which AT&T can throttle if there is network congestion. This follows in the new net neutrality rules that allow for "reasonable network management" although AT&T is likely only making the move because the FCC has proposed a $100 million fine for the carrier's abusive throttling for unlimited data subscribers.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple delays watchOS 2 launch following discovery of bug

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 1:43

Apple delays watchOS 2 launch following discovery of bug Although iOS 9 launched today as planned, Apple Watch owners will have to wait a bit longer for watchOS 2 as Apple has found a bug that will delay launch of the operating system.

"We have discovered a bug in development of watchOS 2 that is taking a bit longer to fix than we expected. We will not release watchOS 2 today but will shortly," added an Apple spokesperson.

The bug is still unspecified so we don't really know what it affected, but Apple should be more forthcoming in the coming days especially if the bug requires an even longer delay.

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AfterDawn: News

FBI takes down pre-release music piracy site ShareBeast

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 1:29

FBI takes down pre-release music piracy site ShareBeast The FBI has seized two domains belonging to popular sites to find pre-release music.

Both ShareBeast and AlbumJams now have the FBI/DOJ takedown banner and the RIAA was quick to boast of the shutdown of the sites.

According to the RIAA, the Sharebeast network of sites had a massive library of tracks, including thousands of "pre-release leaks." The RIAA added that they submitted DMCA takedown notices for over 100,000 songs on ShareBeast alone.

"Millions of users accessed songs from Sharebeast each month without one penny of compensation going to countless artists, songwriters, labels and others who created the music," said the statement. "We are grateful to the FBI and the Department of Justice for its strong stand against Sharebeast and for recognizing that these types of illicit sites wreak major damage on the music community and hinder fans' legitimate listening options."

While ShareBeast certainly was popular, it paled in comparison to heavy hitters like Torrentz.eu in popularity and files available.

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AfterDawn: News

Sharp to being selling world's first 8K TV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 1:08

Sharp to being selling world's first 8K TV Sharp has announced that the world's first 8K TV is going on sale soon with the astronomical price tag of $133,000.

The LV-85001 has an 85-inch display and a TV tuner although there is currently no 8K content out there so really you would be buying a large 4K TV that can upscale for the time being. Sharp does say the TV will be used to help with broadcast tests next year.

Sharp used their IGZO tech for the monitor, which offers a contrast ratio of 100,000:1 with viewing angles of 176 degrees. An 8K display has a resolution of 7680x4320, eight times larger than what most current TVs display and Sharp is looking to sell the panel to businesses rather than consumers.

Businesses with a lot of money to burn can begin pre-ordering on October 31st.

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AfterDawn: News

Epix to allow offline viewing of movies, TV on mobile devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 12:59

Epix to allow offline viewing of movies, TV on mobile devices Just weeks after Amazon made a similar announcement, Epix has announced that users will be able to download movies from their streaming catalog for offline viewing.

Epix, which has premium content from Lionsgate, Paramount and MGM, says subscribers will see the feature turned on this month.

"The EPIX goal has always been to provide our subscribers with next level enhancements, elevating how they can access content across devices," said Mark Greenberg, EPIX President and CEO. "By creating a network first, true TV Everywhere experience, consumers can now download a movie from our library and watch it anywhere, anytime, even without a Wi-Fi connection - while waiting at the airport, traveling by train, commuting to work, or even on a camping trip. Consumers now have guaranteed content mobility."

Epix's content has been very popular with streaming consumers, since there are new titles such as the Hunger Games series and older but popular content like all the James Bond films.

If you don't care for offline content and want to watch Epix anyways, the films are available on Netflix until the end of the month and then on Hulu.

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AfterDawn: News

Russian national pleads guilty to largest hacking scheme in U.S. history

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 12:31

Russian national pleads guilty to largest hacking scheme in U.S. history Vladimir Drinkman, a Russian national arrested in the Netherlands in 2012 and extradited to the U.S., has plead guilty to the largest hacking scheme ever prosecuted in U.S. history.

Drinkman has plead guilty to charges of conspiracy to commit unauthorized access to protected computers and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

The hack/data-theft attacks targeted large corporate networks, banks and payment processors and led to 160 million credit cards being stolen and hundreds of millions of dollars in losses and fraud.

"Defendants like Vladimir Drinkman, who have the skills to interrupt our computer networks and the inclination to do so, pose a cutting-edge threat to our economic well-being, our privacy and our national security," said New Jersey federal judge Paul J . Fishman. "The crimes to which he has admitted his guilt have a real, practical cost to our privacy and our pocketbooks."

Among the companies hit by the attacks were Heartland Payment Systems, 7-Eleven, JC Penney, JetBlue, Dow Jones, Global Payment, and NASDAQ. The attacks went as far back as 2008.

Drinkman was one of four people charged but was seen as the mastermind behind the plan. Drinkm and co-defendant Alexandr Kalinin of Russia 'specialized in penetrating network security and gaining access to the corporate systems.' When in the system, they were able to tactically steal user names, passwords, credit and debit card numbers and other personal information. Afterwards, the data was sold to "trusted theft wholesalers" around the world. American credit card numbers went for as low as $10 a piece while European credit card info went for $50 due to much better security protocols in Europe which are only now expanding to the U.S.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony smartly changes Project Morpheus name to PlayStation VR

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 12:14

Sony smartly changes Project Morpheus name to PlayStation VR Sony has changed the name of its Project Morpheus VR system to PlayStation VR, a move that should help bring big name recognition to the fledgling device.

PlayStation product business president Masayasu Ito noted that "the name 'PlayStation VR' not only directly expresses an entirely new experience from PlayStation that allows players to feel as if they are physically inside the virtual world of a game, but it also reflects our hopes that we want our users to feel a sense of familiarity as they enjoy this amazing experience."

PlayStation VR is scheduled for launch in early 2016 but there really is very little info to date on what to expect. Ito did note that Sony is working closely with 3rd party devs and looking in-house to ensure there is a nice lineup of games for when the device launches.

2016 is setting up to be "the year of VR" as Facebook's long-awaited Oculus Rift is also planned for an early 2016 consumer release.

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AfterDawn: News

Facebook to finally get alternative to 'Like' button

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 11:56

Facebook to finally get alternative to 'Like' button Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has confirmed that the social media giant will be getting an alternative to the long-standing 'Like' button in the near future, although it won't necessarily be a 'Dislike' button that users have been asking for for a decade.

"I think people have asked about the dislike button for many years. Probably hundreds of people have asked about this," Zuckerberg said. "Today is a special today because today is the day where I actually get to say we are working on it and are very close to shipping a test of it."

Due to the possible abuse that can occur with a dislike button, Zuckerberg was quick to note that the new button will allow users to 'express empathy.'

"Not every moment is a good moment and if you are sharing something that is sad, like the refugee crisis that touches you, or a family member passed away, it may not feel comfortable to like that post," he added. "But your friends and people want to be able to express that they understand and that they relate to you. So I do think it's important to give people more options than just like as a quick way to emote and share what they are feeling on a post."

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AfterDawn: News

Sony slashes price of PlayStation 4 in Japan

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 11:43

Sony slashes price of PlayStation 4 in Japan Sony has dropped the price of the PlayStation 4 console in Japan by 13 percent ahead of the holidays in order to keep up demand for the system.

Gamers can get the console for 34,980 yen ($295) starting on October 1st, down from the current 39,980 yen ($330~ USD).

Industry watchers believe this is just the first step in a price war with the rival Xbox One, which has long sold for cheaper in the U.S. and even included bundles of blockbuster games. Despite the lower price for its rival, the PlayStation 4 has handily beaten the Xbox One over the last two years in sales for there have been rumors that the Xbox One could see another price cut soon.

Additionally, Microsoft has a solid game lineup for this holiday season, so a Sony price cut could help steal some sales away from the Xbox.

Besides the price cut (which has not been announced outside of Japan), Sony is also releasing a Darth Vader themed PS4 with bundled Disney Infinity figurettes that will just add to the incredible hype seen for 'The Force Awakens.'

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AfterDawn: News

Apple may allow you to delete pre-loaded iOS apps in the future

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 10:53

Apple may allow you to delete pre-loaded iOS apps in the future During a recent interview, Apple CEO Tim Cook was asked whether consumers would ever be able to delete pre-loaded apps from their iOS devices, like 'Podcasts' or 'Stocks.'

Cook surprisingly said the company is working on it, but that it is actually pretty complex. "There are some apps that are linked to something else on the iPhone," Cook said. "If they were to be removed they might cause issues elsewhere on the phone. There are other apps that aren't like that. So over time, I think with the ones that aren't like that, we'll figure out a way," he concluded.

The CEO was not able to give a timeline, but it was nice to see that they are working on it.

While many people use pre-loaded apps like Maps and Weather, there are plenty of people who have never looked at the Stocks apps, or don't have an Apple Watch (for example) and would prefer the homescreen space instead.

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AfterDawn: News

Two more idiots tried to sell their kidneys for new iPhones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Sep 2015 12:02

Two more idiots tried to sell their kidneys for new iPhones According to the China Daily, two men tried to sell their kidneys in order to afford the new Apple iPhone 6S.

One man, Wu, knew he could not afford the smartphone so his friend Huang suggested they sell their kidneys to have enough to buy it. They found an agent online who said he could help them if they took medical exams at a hospital on September 12th, however the agent never showed up.

Wu then decided against the move but Huang still wanted to go through with it. To stop the sale, Wu called the police and Huang ran away and has been missing ever since.

As an aside, I feel like we shouldn't have to say this but - DO NOT sell your vital organs for a new smartphone. You're welcome.

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AfterDawn: News

Snapchat will let you pay to replay past snaps

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Sep 2015 11:28

Snapchat will let you pay to replay past snaps Snapchat has rolled out a new update to their mobile app today, adding some interesting features including the ability to pay to replay past snaps.

Dubbed 'Replays,' the in-app purchase will let users pay $0.99 to replay snaps that have disappeared in the past. For the price, you get three replays to use when you want, but one caveat - you cannot use your three replays on the same picture.

"We introduced Replay in Additional Services almost two years ago, and we've used it to relive those amazing moments (or the ones we weren't paying attention to...) just one more time before they disappear," said the company. "We've provided one Replay per Snapchatter per day, sometimes frustrating the millions of Snapchatters who receive many daily Snaps deserving of a Replay. But then we realized -- a Replay is like a compliment! So why stop at just one?"

Additionally, the company has introduced 'Lenses' to enhance your selfies with playful filters, animations and distortions (like Photo Booth from Macs) and 'Trophies,' virtual awards and stickers similar to Four Square.

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AfterDawn: News

Streaming subscribers sue Chicago over controversial 'cloud tax'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Sep 2015 10:48

Streaming subscribers sue Chicago over controversial 'cloud tax' As we have reported in the past, some local municipalities have begun taxing streaming services like Netflix, Spotify, and Amazon in an effort to make up for lost revenue from physical disc sales.

Besides being controversial in its own right, at least one government now has a lawsuit on their hands. Subscribers to the popular services have filed a lawsuit against Chicago, claiming the 'cloud tax' is illegal.

Chicago was charging a 9% "Amusement Levy" on the services which had previously only applied to live shows such as concerts and baseball games.

In their suit, the plaintiffs claim that the tax could only have been imposed by a city vote, but in this case it was decisioned by the city comptroller. In addition, the suit claims that the tax violated the federal Internet Tax Freedom Act, which strictly prohibits states and cities from "imposing discriminatory internet-only taxes."

Read the full complaint here, as the decision will likely have national implications in the future.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony adds new color choices to its DualShock 4 controllers as well as hard drive covers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Sep 2015 10:26

Sony adds new color choices to its DualShock 4 controllers as well as hard drive covers Sony PlayStation 4 fans will soon have the option to get DualShock 4 controllers in four different colors.

Showing off the new controllers at the Tokyo Game Show press conference, Sony also introduced new hard drive panels in yellow, gold, pink, yellow, light blue, red and purple.

Gold, silver, Steel Black and Crystal will be available in Japan on November 6th, with the gold and silver controllers also headed to the U.S. and Europe in November. It is unclear if the other two colors will eventually be available everywhere.

The plates will sell for 2,500 yen each (about $20) and the controllers will sell for 6500 yen ($55 USD) although it is likely the pricing will change for different markets.

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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo names new president and Miyamoto becomes 'creative fellow'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 15 Sep 2015 12:21

Nintendo names new president and Miyamoto becomes 'creative fellow' Nintendo has named long time executive Tatsumi Kimishima president following the sad passing of Satoru Iwata.

Kimishima previously managed The Pokemon Company and also led Nintendo of America from 2002 to 2006, but unlike other presidents he does not have a gaming background, just a business and management one.

Somewhat strangely, Nintendo legend Shigeru Miyamoto was given the title of 'Creative Fellow,' meaning he has advanced specialized knowledge that will be used to guide the company. For Miyamoto, he will be an adviser in a creative capacity.

There are more title changes as the company restructures, which can be seen at the source.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple expects to beat first-weekend record for iPhone sales thanks to China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Sep 2015 9:50

Apple expects to beat first-weekend record for iPhone sales thanks to China Apple has said today that it expects to best last year's first-weekend iPhone sales record, mainly thanks to strong demand in China.

"Customer response to iPhone 6S and iPhone 6S Plus has been extremely positive and preorders this weekend were very strong around the world," the company said in a statement. "We are on pace to beat last year's 10 million unit first-weekend record when the new iPhones go on sale Sept. 25."

As has been the case for years, Apple expects delays on some of the new models in some nations thanks to lack of supply (or high demand). "As many customers noticed, the online demand for iPhone 6S Plus has been exceptionally strong and exceeded our own forecasts for the preorder period," the company also wrote. "We are working to catch up as quickly as we can, and we will have iPhone 6S Plus as well as iPhone 6S units available at Apple retail stores when they open next Friday."

There had been concerns that the economic and stock downturn in China would lead to lackluster sales, but that is clearly not an issue. Both new phones have 3-4 week delays in all colors in the country.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to let gamers preview new November Xbox One dashboard before launch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Sep 2015 9:00

Microsoft to let gamers preview new November Xbox One dashboard before launch Microsoft has confirmed that gamers in the Xbox Preview Program will be able to test out the new Xbox One dashboard update before it launches in November.

"Because this is a significant update, we are giving Preview members the opportunity to decide for themselves if and how they want to participate in helping us release the New Xbox One Experience," said Mike Ybarra of the Xbox team.

Of note, Microsoft will not roll out the preview to everyone, at least not to start. "Preview members who have historically submitted the most feedback" will be the first to receive the update, with the ultimate goal "to start with a group, get feedback, then roll out to larger groups for additional feedback over time."

If you do choose to opt in, you will get regular updates up until the official release in November.

The November update will introduce a completely re-hauled user interface, new backward compatibility with over 100 Xbox 360 titles and smaller updates to the store and OneGuide. Additionally, there is a new 'Community' section which adds a ton of social features.

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AfterDawn: News

Eric Schmidt disregards human music curation as "elitist"

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 14 Sep 2015 7:39

Eric Schmidt disregards human music curation as "elitist" The former Google CEO and now the Executive Chairman of newly found holding company Alphabet Eric Schmidt has written an op-en for the BBC about the strides artificial intelligence (AI) has made – and will make. Unlike Apple, Eric Schmidt believes in computer curated music rather than few human individuals.

Schmidt clearly pokes fun at Apple's human curated music on Apple Music, Recode reports. The former Google CEO calls human curation "elitist" since it relies on few people making the choices for you based on their own preferences.

Music curation being one of the editorial's main focuses Schmidt says that maybe a decade ago it was reasonable to use human curation but today AI has come so far that it provides better results and could "help you predict who and where the next Adele might be".

What do you think, does human curation to it better for you and/or do AI curated playlists cater the large crowds better?




AfterDawn: News

Plex is now headed to the Apple TV

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Sep 2015 2:42

Plex is now headed to the Apple TV Music and movie organizing software Plex is headed to the new updated Apple TV.

The software, which allows you to organize and stream your personal collections, has been popular for PCs for quite some time and is also available on consoles on set-top boxes but has been notably absent (officially) from the aging Apple TV. Now that the set-top is getting a makeover, the company has confirmed it will be on-board.

"We are very excited to have a crack at bringing our users Apple TV," says co-founder Scott Olechowski. "It's been a long requested platform and we're excited to work on it. We want it, our users want it ... and we're anxiously awaiting the tvOS developer beta info, so we can finally dig in."

The co-founder also confirmed Apple TV would be getting a fully featured app, although not likely for a few months as development is not done as the tvOS was just released.

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AfterDawn: News

OnePlus founder apologizes for delays to new OnePlus 2

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Sep 2015 4:32

OnePlus founder apologizes for delays to new OnePlus 2 OnePlus co-founder Carl Pei has apologized for the botched launch of the OnePlus 2, which is only now shipping "in meaningful quantities," a month later than expected.

"We messed up the launch of the OnePlus 2,"
said Pei, starting off a long post apologizing to consumers and partners alike.

"With the OnePlus 2, we made rosy plans. We were more confident, and prepared a lot more inventory. We told our users it would be 30-50x easier to get invites, and they needn't worry. Yet, we only began shipping in meaningful quantities this week, nearly a month after our initial targeted shipping date. You can talk all you want, but in the end, flawless execution speaks much louder than unfulfilled promises.

I'd like to apologize on behalf of OnePlus for the delay.

To our fans, sorry. We were equally excited when we saw your excitement around the OnePlus 2. We know how it feels waiting and waiting for something you really want, while being given ETAs that go unfulfilled. We appreciate the trust and support that you have given to a relatively small and unknown company like OnePlus. We know that you are rooting for us, and want nothing more than to see us succeed. Therefore, it feels extra terrible to let you down this time around, again,"
concluded the post.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple to shut down popular HopStop service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Sep 2015 4:08

Apple to shut down popular HopStop service Apple has confirmed it will shut down popular transit and directions service HopStop by the end of October.

"HopStop will no longer be available starting October 2015," reads the website, despite being used in over 300 cities. Apple acquired the service for a reported $1 billion back in 2013 to expand its Apple Maps service.

With the launch of iOS 9, Apple is adding transit directions and transit maps right into Apple Maps, so it appears that it wants to limit the service to Maps and no longer as a standalone app. At the start, the transit directions will be available in just 10 major metros.

Apple has been investing heavily in Maps as it tries to take on Google's more mature Google Maps. The company recently renewed a license with GPS mapping company TomTom and has been sending out Apple Maps cars to collect data, just like Google does for its 'Street View' service.

If you were a fan of HopStop but not Apple Maps, it may be time to try out the latter.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft's Windows 10 is recording your voice and your key strokes - here's how to turn it off

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 11:00

Microsoft's Windows 10 is recording your voice and your key strokes - here's how to turn it off While Windows 10 has been generally well reviewed my users, fans of privacy are having a field day with how invasive the new operating system is.

Since the OS went into Technical Preview last year, security experts (and others) have warned that Windows 10 has a keylogger built-in and unfortunately, that keylogger is still there in the final retail version.

Microsoft, for their part, has never tried to hide it: "When you interact with your Windows device by speaking, writing (handwriting), or typing, Microsoft collects speech, inking, and typing information--including information about your Calendar and People (also known as contacts)," reads their own FAQ.

Thankfully, the keylogger can be turned off rather simply if you follow the following steps:

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your eligible PC even if you don't have space for it or want it

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 6:37

Microsoft is downloading Windows 10 to your eligible PC even if you don't have space for it or want it Microsoft is now downloading Windows 10 installation files to your PC, even if you didn't ask for it nor have enough available hard drive space for it.

Disgustingly, Microsoft is using their "automatic updates" system to download the files to eligible PCs (Windows 7 or Windows 8.1) and the installation files take up about 6GB of space. Making it worse is the fact that you will get the files even if you have not "reserved" the upgrade to the new operating system.

There are a few major problems with Microsoft's move. First, many of the people getting the files don't want to upgrade to Windows 10, free or not. Ever. Second, there are plenty of laptops out there running on SSD drives that may not be expecting an extra 6GB of space to suddenly disappear. Finally, there are still consumers out there with hard caps on how much bandwidth they can use on a monthly basis. No one wants to get their data maxed out by an unexpected download they didn't ask for.

Microsoft seems to want to make sure they can keep adding milestone numbers to their Windows 10 install figures, but this is the wrong way to go about it. Thankfully, with a little Windows know-how, you can get rid of the files. Enable hidden folders in your root folder and look for the $WINDOWS.BT folder. Your installation will be hiding out in there.

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AfterDawn: News

Creator Shigeru Miyamoto reveals which myths about Mario are true

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 6:21

Creator Shigeru Miyamoto reveals which myths about Mario are true As part of the 30-year anniversary celebration of the launch of Mario, creator Shigeru Miyamoto revealed which myths about the classic games are true and which are not.

The new video, which also promotes the upcoming 'Super Mario Maker,' has Miyamoto basically shaking his head yes or no to a bunch of urban myths about Mario that have been around for years but never confirmed.

Finally confirmed is how Mario's name came to be. Nintendo of America was leasing a warehouse from a landlord named Mario Segale in the early 80s (before Donkey Kong and Mario) and actually fell behind on rent. Segale granted them extra time to pay and out of gratitude Mario the character got his name.

Additionally, it has long been speculated that Super Mario Bros. 3 was really a theatrical performance, and Miyamoto confirmed that. Finally, Miyamoto also notes the he is the mom of Bowser Jr., the son of the monstrous Bowser. How that works, who knows.

The video is short and worth watching:




AfterDawn: News

Sony Pictures considered buying Netflix, BitTorrent back in 2006

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 5:46

Sony Pictures considered buying Netflix, BitTorrent back in 2006 According to new reports, Sony Pictures considered buying Netflix or BitTorrent back in 2006 but obviously backed out.

In fact, BitTorrent was higher on the short list of potential acquisitions by the studio, who also looked at TiVo and Starz Media.

Sony praised BitTorrent's effectiveness for downloading large quantities of online media, and Sony was actively trying to "build a substantial presence in aggregation, distribution and services businesses that complement the core business."

The company was looking to invest between $2 and $4 billion to make their goals a reality, and BitTorrent was valued at around $100 million at the time. Even Netflix, which is now the king of streaming, was only worth $1.2 billion back then and could have been purchased even at a premium. Netflix is now valued at over $40 billion.

In the end, Sony bought a large stake in Starz and purchased video streaming service Grouper which was rebranded as Crackle. Crackle offers free streaming of Sony content, with commercials and is available via set-top boxes, gaming consoles and PCs.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft now owns a second Android lockscreen app

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 5:26

Microsoft now owns a second Android lockscreen app Microsoft has quietly acquired Double Labs, the developer behind the Android app Echo Notification Lockscreen.

The app, which has been downloaded over 2 million times, allows users to personalize the lock screen of their device, including sorting your notifications by categories of your choosing such as "social" or "priority."

Microsoft actually already has an Android lockscreen app, that is equally as popular as Echo, although aesthetically it cannot compete against Echo.

According to Microsoft Chief Experience Officer Julie Larson-Green, the new acquisition is about "[taking] productivity to the next level" and "[keeping] you in the moment." But what's wrong with the default lockscreen? "It's a list of what apps want you to know, not necessarily what's important to you," Larson-Green added.

Source:
BI




AfterDawn: News

iPhone 6S, Plus already on backorder in China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 4:08

iPhone 6S, Plus already on backorder in China According to Apple fan Philip Elmer-DeWitt at Fortune, the new iPhone 6S and 6S Plus are already on significant back order in China.

The rose gold iPhones appear to be the most popular (or the least in stock) as around the world it has been selling out earliest.

Apple has already begun accepting pre-orders for the iPhone 6s and 6s Plus in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, Singapore, the UK, and the United States with more to come in the following weeks and months.

In the U.S., the iPhone 6S is in ample supply and available through all major carriers without any delay (shipping date September 25th) while the 6S Plus is running into large delays (unless you have AT&T for some reason).

Check availability here: iPhone Inventory




AfterDawn: News

Rovio tries again with new puzzler called 'Nibblers'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 3:32

Rovio tries again with new puzzler called 'Nibblers' Angry Birds creator Rovio is trying its hand at puzzle games again, launching the 'Nibblers,' "a delicious new matching game with cute characters and fresh and fruity puzzle gameplay."

While it is hard to argue that game does not have cute characters (it certainly does), this is Rovio's second game of the same type in the last year. 'Jolly Jams' launched earlier this year with cute characters and matching features and so far has not been a hit despite good reviews.

The puzzle matching game lets you match fruits and your Nibblers have special abilities that can help as you advance through 200 levels.

"We're thrilled to bring a completely new IP to the mobile gaming scene," says Heini Kaihu, Head of Studio at Rovio. "Nibblers may be newly evolved creatures, but fans of our other games will recognize the Rovio touches – strong characters, beautiful visuals, and a lush soundtrack recorded with live orchestra and soloists. This will be a game you want to return to again and again."




AfterDawn: News

'Star War: Uprising' launches for mobile

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 3:09

'Star War: Uprising' launches for mobile Kabam's new 'Star Wars: Uprising' is now available for download, with the game being the "first Star Wars RPG set between Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi and Star Wars: The Force Awakens."

The game has been teased for a few weeks for iOS and Android and so far critical reception seems mixed at best, although many appear to be having issues with installation which will likely get fixed soon.

Within the game, you get to build your own character and perform missions in well known locations (like Cloud City) and there are also co-op modes so you and buddies can take on the Empire together.

As with most games available now, Uprising is free to play but requires money to power up.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Stephen Colbert asks Siri to come up with questions to ask Apple CEO Tim Cook

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 2:53

Stephen Colbert asks Siri to come up with questions to ask Apple CEO Tim Cook Stephen Colbert, new host of CBS's The Late Show, will have Apple CEO Tim Cook on the show next Tuesday, September 15th.

To promote the show and guest, Colbert tweeted "Siri, put Apple CEO Tim Cook on my calendar for Tuesday, Sept. 15. Oh, and come up with some questions to ask him," while dictating to an Apple Watch.

Colbert has actually promoted Apple products in the past on his previous show, The Colbert Report, so it is likely the two will discuss Apple's newly announced iPhone 6S, Apple TV and more.

The Late Show airs at 11:35PM eastern time.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony warns: Don't submerge your waterproof Xperia phones

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 12 Sep 2015 12:52

Sony warns: Don't submerge your waterproof Xperia phones During the past couple of years Sony has been introducing waterproof phones left and right. Xperia series is full of flagship phones and midrange ones that are in most cases IP68 certified. But now the company wants you not to use them in the water.

Xperia Blog has found out that Sony has changed its policy on water protection. While the IP68 certified phones have been tested to endure 30 minutes of water in 1,5 meters (5 feet) the company says users should not do that.

The Xperia Care webpage declares: "Taking photos and movies in wet surroundings. Remember not to use the device underwater. If you accidentally get the device wet with non-fresh water, wash the device with tap water." and "The IP rating of your device was achieved in laboratory conditions in standby mode, so you should not use the device underwater, such as taking pictures. Do not use the device to take photos while performing any type of activity underwater, including diving or snorkeling."

So in essence the phones should indeed be good to go if all the plugs and connector protectors the phones comes with are used but the company doesn't want to take the chance that people misuse the phones – or use at all – under water.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Alcatel to launch Windows 10 phone before end of year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Sep 2015 12:47

Alcatel to launch Windows 10 phone before end of year Chinese OEM Alcatel has announced it will launch a Windows 10 smartphone before the end of the year.

"We are very supportive of the Windows ecosystem," said Alcatel OneTouch SVP Steve Cistulli.

Cistulli's confirmation follows Evan Blass' leak earlier this week about the Alcatel Fierce XL. According to the notorious leaker, the Alcatel OneTouch Fierce XL with Windows 10 will feature a 5.5-inch 720p display, a Snapdragon 210 processor (quad-core at 4 x 1.1GHz), 2GB RAM, dual cameras 8MP/2MP and a 2500mAh battery.

Microsoft has found support for Windows Phone tough to come by since they acquired the handset business of Nokia but the purchase has been one of the biggest flops in the company's history, and that is saying a lot. Microsoft recently wrote off a $7.6 billion loss related to the acquisition.

At 4 percent share of the global markets, Microsoft needs all the help it can get before it unveils its highly anticipated flagship "Cityman" and "Talkman" phones before the end of the year.

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AfterDawn: News

Dell to make significant investment in China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Sep 2015 12:29

Dell to make significant investment in China The world's third largest PC maker will make a massive $125 billion investment in China.

Dell says the company is actively looking to expand in the world's most populous nation and the investment will sustain one million jobs in the country.

"The Internet is the new engine for China's future economic growth and has unlimited potential,"
CEO Michael Dell said. "Dell will embrace the principle of 'In China, for China' and closely integrate Dell China strategies with national policies."

Dell will have some serious competition with home favorite Lenovo, but it's clear Dell is willing to play.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple's new operating system Mac OS X El Capitan to launch at end of month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Sep 2015 10:57

Apple's new operating system Mac OS X El Capitan to launch at end of month Apple has announced that its new operating system 'El Capitan' will be available on September 30th.

The operating system will serve to improve system performance and "the Mac experience" by better adding Apple Metal, the company's own graphics technology. Apple says Metal will allow games and pro apps to "tap into the full power of Mac graphics processors."

Additionally, Apple has updated windows management, made improvements to the pre-installed apps and Spotlight search, and improved the startup speed of apps, emails and music. El Capitan also adds a split screen view for multi-taskers and better copy/drag-and-drop options for Notes.

"OS X delivers unparalleled integration between Mac hardware, iOS devices, apps and online services, and has helped Mac sales outpace the PC industry every year for the last decade," said Craig Federighi, Apple's senior vice president of Software Engineering earlier this year. "Customers loved last year's landmark OS X Yosemite release and made it the fastest-adopted PC operating system ever. With El Capitan, we're further refining the Mac experience with enhancements to window management, Spotlight and built-in apps, and improving performance so everyday activities -- from launching apps to accessing email -- are faster and more responsive."

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows will be available on September 22nd

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Sep 2015 10:21

Microsoft Office 2016 for Windows will be available on September 22nd Even though the date was leaked over a month ago, we now have official recognition from Microsoft.

Microsoft says the new Office suite will be "broadly available" on September 22nd, following months of testing by private beta testers, developers and IT professionals.

Of note, Office 2016 adds collaborative co-editing in the cloud (just like Office Online users have had), and will generally make syncing to the cloud easier.

While the new announcement does not include Mac availability, the 2016 version has been available as part of Office 365 since July. Microsoft did note at the time that a standalone version would be available in the future.

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AfterDawn: News

Android Pay is finally here

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Sep 2015 9:36

Android Pay is finally here Google has announced the official U.S. launch of Android Pay, the mobile payments tech that will allow you to use your phone to pay at millions of retail locations.

The company says the service is live now, but will be rolling out in the coming days.

To use Android Pay, you need an NFC-enabled Android device with Android 4.4 or later. The service supports credit and debit cards from AmEx, Discover, MasterCard and Visa as well as gift cards, loyalty cards and store cards. Notably, most of the largest banks are supported but Wells Fargo, Capital One and Citi are "coming soon."

In regards to security, Google was very quick to note how secure using the service will be: "We know how important it is to keep your personal and financial information secure, so Android Pay is supported by industry standard tokenization. This means your real credit or debit card number isn't sent with your payment. Instead, we'll use a virtual account number that provides an extra layer of security. As soon as you make a purchase, you'll see a payment confirmation that shows where a given transaction happened, so it's easy to catch any suspicious activity. And if your phone is ever lost or stolen, simply use Android Device Manager to instantly lock your device from anywhere, secure it with a new password, or even wipe it clean of your personal information."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Take a look at the high-precision Apple Pencil stylus in action

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Sep 2015 8:37

Take a look at the high-precision Apple Pencil stylus in action Alongside the launch of the iPad Pro, Apple also unveiled a new high-precision stylus, the Pencil.

The Pro is aimed at professional artists and designers who could use the higher resolution and larger canvas and the stylus, at least in practice, looks like a great way to keep drawings precise.

Additionally, the Pencil can respond to different pressure and different angles, allowing for a reportedly seamless transition from pin point to broader brush strokes.

"Highly responsive sensors built into the tip of the Apple Pencil work with the iPad Pro display to detect position, force and tilt," says Apple's design chief Jony Ive. "With force data you can press lightly to get a thin stoke or press harder to get a darker, bolder stroke. Signals emitted from two locations in the tip calculate the angle and orientation to produce broad or shaded strokes."

Here is a good look at the Pencil:

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Edge will soon support WebM/VP9

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Sep 2015 11:58

Microsoft Edge will soon support WebM/VP9 Microsoft has announced today that their new Edge browser will soon support the open source WebM/VP9 video format.

The software giant says the support is now in development, and initial support will be available for Windows Insider Preview builds in the very near future.

"This is part of our continuing effort to expand codec offerings in Windows. We continue to evaluate other formats and look forward to receiving feedback as we work on implementing them," added the company.

Microsoft also got more technical about how VP9/WebM will work with the browser: "Our initial VP9 implementation in Microsoft Edge will support adaptive streaming using Media Source Extensions, and will be detectable using the MediaSource.isTypeSupported() API. It will be specifically targeted to meet the needs of websites that use VP9 to deliver video in combination with MP4/AAC or other audio codecs already supported by Microsoft. We are working on future support for VP9 for media tags and local playback, as well as considering support for additional audio formats likely to be used with VP9 such as Opus."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

TiVo sues Samsung over patent infringement

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Sep 2015 10:09

TiVo sues Samsung over patent infringement Popular DVR maker TiVo has sued Samsung over patent infringement this week, claiming that Samsung's own DVRs violate four specific TiVo patents.

The move is unsurprising as TiVo has a long history of suing over its DVR patents. In the past decade the company has racked up $1.6 billion in settlements from companies like Dish, AT&T, Motorola and Cisco.

"Today's action should help address one of the questions regarding the value, breadth and applicability of TiVo's IP portfolio," said TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers in a statement.

TiVo also made it clear that the lawsuit is to protect their future value: "This morning we filed a patent infringement suit against Samsung in the Eastern District of Texas. Our complaint asserts four patents, including the '389 Time Warp patent and the '195 Trick Play patent, both of which we have litigated before. Our complaint also asserts two patents that are related to the '389 patent but have expiration dates further into the future. Today's action should help address one of the questions regarding the value, breadth, and applicability of TiVo's IP portfolio post the 2018 expiration of the '389 patent."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

iPad Mini 4 priced at $399, iPad Mini 2 drops to $269

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Sep 2015 7:31

iPad Mini 4 priced at $399, iPad Mini 2 drops to $269 One of the smaller announcements today at Apple's event was that of the iPad Mini 4, which will offer "the performance and power of the iPad Air 2" just in an incredibly thin enclosure.

The new Mini will feature an A8 processor, a big update from the A7 seen on previous models.

Apple says the device is slightly thinner and lighter, at 0.65 pounds, and the tablet will have an 8MP rear camera, just like on the iPad Air 2.

Starting at $399 for the 16GB/Wi-Fi model, the update is likely to finally get iPad Mini 2 users to upgrade as last year's update featured nothing of note minus the addition of Touch ID. In addition, the company dropped the price of the Mini 2 to $269, a very compelling price for the tablet.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple TV gets first major upgrade in years

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Sep 2015 6:00

Apple TV gets first major upgrade in years Apple is pursuing your living room again with the first major hardware and software revamp of the Apple TV since 2012.

The new Apple TV device (which just looks slightly bigger on the outside) will run on a new operating system called tvOS, which is based on iOS. Apple will provide the tvOS SDK to enable developers to utilize the increased power under the hood, and especially the considerable remote control upgrade.

The Siri Remote improves how you can select, scroll and navigate through your favorite content using a glass touch surface that handles both small, accurate movements as well as big, sweeping ones. It features a built-in accelerometer and gyroscope which developers can use to create motion-controlled apps and games.

With its internal mic, the Siri Remote can be used to search TV shows and movies by title, genre, cast, crew, rating or popularity using your voice, and Apple TV now supports Universal Search like Microsoft's Xbox services, meaning you won't have to know which content is available from which app beforehand.

Viewers will also be able to use voice commands during playback, such as asking "Siri, what did he say?", which will prompt the playback to skip back a few seconds and enable captions.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple unveils huge iPad Pro, new Pencil stylus

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Sep 2015 5:34

Apple unveils huge iPad Pro, new Pencil stylus The iPad Pro has gained considerably in size and power over the iPad Air 2, and Apple has decided to embrace the stylus.

iPad Pro measures 12" x 8.68" x 0.27" (305.7mm x 220.6mm x 6.9mm) dominated by a 12.9‑inch Retina display with a resolution of 2732 x 2048 (264ppi). It weighs 1.57lb (713 grams) for the Wi-Fi only model, and slightly heavier at 1.59lb (723 grams) for the Wi-Fi+ Cellular model.

Under the hood it packs Apple's latest SoC, the A9X which boasts improvements over the A8X inside the iPad Air 2, including double the memory bandwidth. Apple decided to focus on its improvements over the A7 mostly though (iPad Air), claiming the A9X provides 2.5x faster CPU processing and 5x faster GPU processing over the A7. As for how much RAM is packed in the iPad Pro, honestly we have no idea right now but the suggestions around are that it has 2GB, just the iPad Air 2.

There isn't much to talk about in regard to camera improvements, the iPad Pro features the same 8MP iSight camera on the back and FaceTime HD camera on the front as the iPad Air 2.

It promises up to ten hours battery life (nine hours if you spend all of your time surfing) on a full charge.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Apple unveils iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus

Written by James Delahunty @ 09 Sep 2015 4:50

Apple unveils iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus Apple spices up its iPhone stocks with 4K video recording, 3D touch, Live Photos, the powerful A9 chip and more.

The details leaked about the latest iteration of iPhones from Apple in recent weeks came pretty close, which has become commonplace for a company that once kept its secrets so close to its chest. The new iPhone 6s is accompanied by the iPhone 6s Plus - available in gold, silver, space gray and the new rose gold metallic finishes - and both packing Retina HD displays and ultra-strong glass. Additionally, both use 7000 series aluminium so we're unlikely to see "bending" claims this time.

As expected, the iPhone 6s retains a 4.7-inch LED-backlit display (1334 x 750), and the iPhone 6s Plus keeps the 5.5-inch display (1920 x 1080).

Apple paid special attention to "3D Touch", which is basically the "Force Touch" feature that Watch owners will be familiar with. With it, users can press down on elements on the screen with different levels of force to bring up content. For example, you can press down lightly to peak at a photo, or an e-mail on the relevant app, or you can press down with more force to get into the content itself. Apple calls this "Peek and Pop".

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Pandora will now allow you to pay $1 for a "Day Pass" that gives you ad-free streaming for 24 hours

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Sep 2015 11:45

Pandora will now allow you to pay $1 for a "Day Pass" that gives you ad-free streaming for 24 hours Internet radio giant Pandora has officially made their previously announced "Day Pass" subscription available.

Pandora will now allow you to pay $1 for a "Day Pass" that gives you ad-free streaming for 24 hours, perfect for consumers who do not want to subscribe to the $4.99 Pandora One premium package but may have an event coming up like a party.

To get the Day Pass, you need to login, go to 'Settings' and then choose 'Pandora One' followed by 'Day Pass.' Easy enough.

Of course, Pandora hopes you will like the test run so much that you sign up for Pandora One moving forward and judging by how successful Pandora's experiment is, we may be seeing Spotify or other day passes in the future.

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AfterDawn: News

Android Wear makes its way to China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Sep 2015 11:09

Android Wear makes its way to China Lenovo and Google have teamed up to bring Android Wear to China, a surprising move as the search giant has been notably absent in the world's most populous nation.

The Moto 360 smartwatch will work with most Android devices but will not work with iOS, as has been rumored.

In order to bring the watch to China, Google also had to remove a lot of what makes the Android Wear operating system so easy to use, mainly its dependence on Google Now and Google Play. Lenovo/Motorola has partnered with Chinese company Mobvoiz to provide the search and voice recognition including the ability to dictate messages.

Additionally, the companies will use Sogou for maps, and downloading compatible apps means you will have to go through whatever local app store is available since Google's Google Play Store is not available in China.

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AfterDawn: News

Antivirus pioneer John McAfee to run for president

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Sep 2015 10:07

Antivirus pioneer John McAfee to run for president Antivirus pioneer John McAfee has filed paperwork with the Federal Elections Commission to officially run for president of the United States in 2016.

The paperwork was independently confirmed and later in the day McAfee created a new site dedicated to the run.

When asked, McAfee implied that his run would focus on strong encryption and a computer-literate administration.

McAfee also noted that he is "founding a new party yet to be announced."

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung struggling: Could cut 10 percent of head office employees

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Sep 2015 9:50

Samsung struggling: Could cut 10 percent of head office employees According to a new report, Samsung is preparing to cut up to 10 percent of its headquarter employees.

The company will cut employees in human resources, public relations and finance in addition to other cost cutting measures that will start next year.

Samsung has been struggling for some time after an astronomical rise in the smartphone market just a few years ago. While still wildly popular, the company's new Galaxy S6 flagships have not lived up to lofty expectations and Samsung's stock has been hit hard. Overall smartphone shipments fell 3 percentage points in the Q2 2015, and Samsung also said it is no longer the top seller in China.

As of the end of the Q2, Samsung had 100,000 employees at its headquarters, so the layoffs could be significant if true.

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AfterDawn: News

Raspberry Pi gets an official touch display priced at $60

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Sep 2015 9:10

Raspberry Pi gets an official touch display priced at $60 Popular mini computer Raspberry Pi now has its own official 7-inch touchscreen display, allowing home users to create their own tablets.

While the Raspberry Pi has an HDMI port - making it easy to connect to most displays, it was pretty inconvenient if you wanted to take the computer on the go where you may not have access to a monitor.

Priced cheaply at $60, you can build your own tablet for under $100 although it is important to remember that the Pi is built to educate and not necessarily as a high-end device.

The display has an RGB 800×480 resolution at 60fps, 24-bit colour, 10 point capacitive touchscreen, 70 degree viewing angle and metal-backed display with mounting holes for the Pi.

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AfterDawn: News

Is Amazon building a $50 tablet?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Sep 2015 11:34

Is Amazon building a $50 tablet? According to the WSJ, Amazon is preparing a $50 tablet for the holidays, a device that would be even cheaper than the company's basic Kindle e-reader.

The tablet will have a 6-inch display, but will be priced at half of the cost of the company's own 6-inch Fire HD tablet.

With such a price tag, there is little hope for the performance of the tablet. The report claims that the device will "test the limits" of cost savings, including using a mono speaker. Yikes.

Most likely, the device will also have lock screen ads like its Fire tablets have, to help subsidize the costs.

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AfterDawn: News

Canon builds a 250 megapixel camera sensor

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Sep 2015 10:57

Canon builds a 250 megapixel camera sensor Camera giant Canon has announced this week a 250 megapixel CMOS sensor that sets the record for highest resolution at its size.

The AOS-H CMOS sensor offers resolution of 19,580 x 12,600, and Canon's APS-H sensors were used in EOS-1D DSLRs not too long ago so the sensor is incredibly relevant even though the smaller APS-C is used now in current cameras.

"When installed in a camera, the newly developed sensor was able to capture images enabling the distinguishing of lettering on the side of an airplane flying at a distance of approximately 18 km from the shooting location,"
reads Canon's press release, an incredible feat.

Furthermore, "the new Canon-developed CMOS sensor, however, despite its exceptionally high pixel count, achieves an ultra-high signal readout speed of 1.25 billion pixels per second, made possible through such advancements as circuit miniaturization and enhanced signal-processing technology."

If you were looking for the sensor in your next DLSR or smartphone - keep waiting. Canon is looking for applications in "specialized surveillance and crime prevention tools, ultra-high-resolution measuring instruments and other industrial equipment, and the field of visual expression."

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AfterDawn: News

ZTE takes 8 percent U.S. smartphone market share

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Sep 2015 10:01

ZTE takes 8 percent U.S. smartphone market share In a surprising development, Chinese smartphone OEM ZTE has taken 8 percent market share in the U.S.

The numbers come via IDC who says ZTE nearly doubled its share year-over-year for the Q2 2015. At 8 percent, the company is now in 4th place in the U.S., beating out much bigger brands like Sony, Lenovo/Motorola, HTC, BlackBerry and Alcatel.

"We came from nowhere, and now we are a solid force,"
says Lixin Cheng, head of ZTE's U.S. operations.

ZTE first started with smaller pre-paid carriers like MetroPCS but is now available on Sprint, T-Mobile and AT&T. Additionally, the phones can be found in Wal-Mart, Target and Best Buy.

Unfortunately for the company, IDC says revenues are not moving in line with the market share growth. Revenue only grew 4 percent year-over-year even though sales were up 100 percent, suggesting ZTE is only taking share by cutting prices. The company just launched a high-end model for $450, but it is unclear whether consumers will care about that device when they can get their iPhone or Galaxy.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple's new iPhone to have next-gen Force Touch

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Sep 2015 8:20

Apple's new iPhone to have next-gen Force Touch Apple Watch and the new MacBook have a feature called Force Touch. It is a pressure sensitive touch experience that allows two different types of touches based on how much pressure you apply, but the new iPhone might have in store something even better.

Mark Gurman of 9to5Mac suggests that the iPhone 6s to be revealed this Wednesday will offer a new version of that Force Touch, dubbed 3D Touch. This feature will allow not two but three pressure levels, thus the 3D moniker.

According to the information Gurman has acquired tap and press will be accompanied by "deeper press". The same feature is said to be included in the new iPad Pro that is rumored to be released alongside the new iPhones.

How will the users learn this new function and how well have the pressure levels been tweaked, that remains to be seen.




AfterDawn: News

Did Apple just buy real-time motion capture studio Faceshift

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 4:33

Did Apple just buy real-time motion capture studio Faceshift According to some new speculation, Apple may have acquired real-time motion capture studio Faceshift.

Faceshift uses 3D sensors to capture facial expressions, and the company has been working actively with game and animation studios. This year, the company released a software plugin for software like Unity and Maya and Faceshift also confirmed they are working on consumer software like a Skype plugin.

The company launched in 2011 right from the Computer Graphics and Geometry Laboratory at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology.

On August 14th, a Swiss company registry filing replaced three corporate directors with a mergers and acquisition lawyer, Martin Frey, and Apple has used his firm, Baker & McKenzie, for numerous services in the past. In addition, Faceshift's San Francisco office head Doug Griffin just changed his LinkedIn profile to Considering New Opportunities,"
suggesting he may not be around when the acquisition is final.

Finally, Faceshift has completely removed references to its Faceshift Studio software and has gone uncharacteristically quiet on social media. While still speculation, nearly everything mentioned suggests a company with new management.

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AfterDawn: News

IFA Roundup: Acer shows off 10-core Predator 6 smartphone for gamers, Predator 8 tablet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 2:59

IFA Roundup: Acer shows off 10-core Predator 6 smartphone for gamers, Predator 8 tablet Acer tried to steal the show this week, unveiling its crazy Predator 6 smartphone at IFA 2015.

The Predator 6, part of a larger line of 'Predator' gaming devices, has a flashy case that should come as no surprise to laptop gamers and also features one of the more powerful processors out there.

Acer says the device has a 6-inch display, 4GB RAM, a 10-core MediaTek processor (likely the previously announced Helio X20), and a 21MP camera. There is little else known so far, but on paper the device is a beast.

The company also announced a gaming tablet, the Predator 8, with a 1920x1200 resolution, 2GB RAM, 64GB storage, a powerful Intel Atom X7-Z8700 processor and 8th generation Intel HD Graphics, making it a clear winner for gaming against most tablets and possibly a winner against the Tegra K1-packing Nvidia Shield.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTubers posted 'deceptive' Xbox One promotional videos, settle with FTC

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 2:31

YouTubers posted 'deceptive' Xbox One promotional videos, settle with FTC According to the U.S. industry watch dog Federal Trade Commission (FTC), popular YouTubers were paid up to $30,000 to promote the Xbox One as part of "a deceptive ad campaign."

The FTC says large online entertainment network Machinima was part of the 2013 marketing campaign that ended up generating millions of views for the video reviews about the console.

Unfortunately for Machinima and Microsoft, the videos did not have any disclaimers stating that Microsoft had paid for the reviews, and thus the videos fell under "deceptive advertising" per U.S. law.

"When people see a product touted online, they have a right to know whether they're looking at an authentic opinion or a paid marketing pitch," said Jessica Rich, director of the FTC's bureau of consumer protection.

Machinima has since settled the case and will state why all vloggers are backing a product moving forward. "Machinima is actively and deeply committed to ensuring transparency with all of its social influencer campaigns," said the company.

Both Microsoft and its ad agency, Starcom MediaVest, have policies in place to avoid such deceptive practices and confirmed to the FCC that the payments were "isolated incidents."

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AfterDawn: News

IFA Roundup: Huawei brings 'Force Touch' to its phones before Apple does

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 2:16

IFA Roundup: Huawei brings 'Force Touch' to its phones before Apple does This week at IFA 2015, Chinese OEM Huawei introduced their new flagship, the Mate S, featuring the 'Force Touch' feature made popular by the Apple Watch.

Force Touch is a pressure-based touchscreen tech that allows you to do different interactions with the devices dependent on how powerfully you press the screen.

For the Mate S, force touch will also make the phone into a scale (for lighter items of course) and allow you to open apps or zoom using pressure.

The Mate S has a 5.5-inch AMOLED display, a fingerprint scanner, a Huawei Kirin 935 octa-core processor, 3GB RAM, 32GB storage, a 2700mAh battery and a pretty gorgeous thin metal frame.

Pre-orders begin soon for the device, which will be available in 30 countries (but not the U.S.) with a price starting at€649.

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AfterDawn: News

IFA Roundup: Sony unveils new Xperia smartphones including one with 4K display

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 1:57

IFA Roundup: Sony unveils new Xperia smartphones including one with 4K display This week at the annual IFA event, Sony unveiled new Xperia smartphones including the flagship Xperia Z5 and its little brother, the Z5 Compact in addition to the new high-end Z5 Premium.

Most notable of the bunch is the Z5 Premium, which features a 5.5" 4K TRILUMINOS Display for mobile and IPS. The smartphone is powered by a Snapdragon 810 processor, 32GB internal storage and a large 3430 mAh battery. Sony notes that the microSD slot can support a 200GB card, giving you ample room for some 4K content.

The device supports quick charge, has built in DLNA and MHL 3.0 for porting the content to the big screen and Sony says the Premium will upscale everything you have to 4K without noticeable loss of detail.

Furthermore, the Premium also "features Sony's innovative memory on display feature – the data transfer between processor and device is optimized so Xperia Z5's display memory technology remembers the display of images seen on your smartphone and caches the image or video so that you don't need to reload the full image each time you view it – preserving battery power in the process."

The phones also promise the best camera yet, with a large 1/2.3 Exmor RS for mobile, a 23MP sensor and F2.0 G Lens with the fastest autofocus on the market.

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AfterDawn: News

CBS Sports to stream football playoffs, Super Bowl for free online and through connected devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 1:26

CBS Sports to stream football playoffs, Super Bowl for free online and through connected devices Earlier this week, CBS Sports made headlines by announcing an expanded streaming schedule for their football broadcasts.

The company says it will stream NFL ON CBS game coverage including two regular season games, four playoff games and Super Bowl 50, all for free, even if you do not have a cable subscription.

CBS says the content will be available on "laptops, desktops and tablets at CBSSports.com and on televisions through select Connected TV devices, including Xbox One, Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku players and Roku TV models."

The first game to be streamed is Jets vs Dolphins on October 4th at 9:30AM. The game is being played in London and is expected to have a live crowd of 90,000 fans. Additionally, the Thanksgiving Panthers vs Cowboys game will also be streamed.

More importantly, "all AFC playoff coverage will again be streamed this year, including the Wild Card, Divisional, and Championship games." The Super Bowl, the most watched TV event of the year (every year), will also be streamed, a notable milestone.

"We're very excited to offer more NFL ON CBS streaming coverage across more digital platforms than ever before," said Jeffrey Gerttula, Senior Vice President and General Manager of CBS Sports Digital. "All NFL fans will have access through their computers, tablets and now Connected TVs to two regular season games for the first time in addition to all of the AFC playoff action, culminating with a truly historic Super Bowl."

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AfterDawn: News

We have more photos of the Android-powered BlackBerry slider phone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 1:15

We have more photos of the Android-powered BlackBerry slider phone Following last month's HQ renders released by famous leaker @Evleaks (Evan Blass), we now have real photos of BlackBerry's upcoming Android-powered slider phone.

If all the leaks are accurate, the phone will have a full BlackBerry QWERTY keyboard hidden under a sliding touchscreen, reminiscent of the most popular smartphones of yesteryear.

From what we can tell, the phone will have a large speaker grille right on the bottom of the handset, the device will have a microSD slot for expanded storage and a 16MP camera. Codenamed Venice, the device has been rumored to have a Snapdragon 808 processor, a 5.4-inch QHD display and 3GB RAM although those specs are unconfirmed.

Somewhat comically, the photo shows the BlackBerry having WhatsApp installed, rather than BlackBerry's popular BBM messenger service.

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AfterDawn: News

Streaming revenue shines in new Universal Music Group earnings report

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 1:02

Streaming revenue shines in new Universal Music Group earnings report Universal Music Group, the largest of the record labels, reported an increase in revenue and profits for the 1H 2015, following nice growth in its streaming business.

Revenue grew to $2.6 billion, up 15.4 percent year-over-year, although fluctuating currencies did play a part in the increase, said Universal parent Vivendi. Net income was up to $255 million, up 11.5 percent year-over-year and once again thanks in part to currencies.

More notably was the major 34 percent increase in subscription and streaming services, which helped the company to "more than offset the decline in both digital download and physical sales," both of which have long peaked. The number would have also likely been a bit higher had the results included Apple Music, which was released on June 30th and will show up in the 2H 2015 results.

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AfterDawn: News

Judge approves poaching lawsuit settlement against Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 12:49

Judge approves poaching lawsuit settlement against Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe A judge has approved a $415 million settlement ending a lawsuit that had accused Apple, Intel, Adobe and Google of conspiring to keep salaries down and job mobility low.

Workers sued the tech giants in 2011, accusing the companies of colluding to not recruit one another's employees between the years of 2005 and 2009, keeping salaries lower than they would have been had the companies been actively looking to hire the skilled workers.

Judge Koh deemed the settlement to be appropriate and attorneys will get $40 million for their time on the case while thousands of workers will get a cut of the large settlement.

Emails from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt and other high-level execs doomed the tech companies as it revealed plans for the companies to avoid 'cold calling' highly skilled engineers from the other companies, thus limiting their job mobility and salary opportunities.

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AfterDawn: News

Shazam was a big money loser despite strong user growth

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 12:34

Shazam was a big money loser despite strong user growth Music discovery app Shazam had a great 2014, but its losses continue to accelerate as the company struggles to make profits.

Shazam had about 120 million monthly active users at the end of 2014, but the company lost £14.84m in 2014, up significantly from the £7.74m it lost in the previous year.

Revenue remained strong, at least, up 16 percent to £36.01m at the end of 2014.

The company has done two funding rounds since 2014, raising first $10 million USD and then $49 million USD, making Shazam a 'unicorn' - a startup with a $1 billion valuation. Like most unicorns, it does appear that Shazam is a ways away from making a profit.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony Pictures settles lawsuit with former employees whose personal data was leaked

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 12:20

Sony Pictures settles lawsuit with former employees whose personal data was leaked Sony Pictures has reached a settlement with thousands of former employees whose social security numbers, medical records and other data were leaked as part of the massive cyber attack on the company last winter.

Since the hack, the company has seen seven lawsuits filed against it, and all are pending class-action certification if this settlement is not approved. Sony has since asked for 45 days to get the settlement approved before class-action certification can be awarded.

The hack, one of the largest in corporate history, saw attackers steal terabytes worth of data, including pre-release films and over one hundred thousand emails, some of which have been very damaging to the company. The studio's co-chairman Amy Pascal stepped down earlier this year after emails surfaced of her writing nasty comments about popular actors and directors, and even making racial comments against President Obama.

More recently, emails revealed that Sony's upcoming film 'Concussion' was cut and changed at the behest of Sony Pictures executives as to not anger the NFL. The movie is about neuropathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu, played by Will Smith, who discovered the terrible brain-damaging effects of football (and specifically concussions) on older football players and how it led to an increasing amount of suicides.

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AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile CEO mocks new Verizon logo, claims carrier screws over its customers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 12:08

T-Mobile CEO mocks new Verizon logo, claims carrier screws over its customers Earlier this week, Verizon updated its long-standing logo, modernizing the look and downplaying the giant check mark of the past logo.

While most agree the logo is a nice improvement, T-Mobile CEO John Legere has taken the opportunity to mock the logo and use it against Verizon and its practices.

Legere, who does not hold any punches, says Verizon 'screws over customers,' 'keeps all your unused data' and offers 'no early upgrade options.' Legere even trolled Verizon some more by asking Twitter users to add their own using the hashtag #NewVerizon.

T-Mobile, which recently became the 3rd largest carrier in the U.S., surpassing Sprint, has seen incredible growth since Legere came on board as the carrier has decidedly gone anti-establishment and started offering plenty of perks at great prices.

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AfterDawn: News

E-book sales get crushed after prices go up on Amazon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 11:58

E-book sales get crushed after prices go up on Amazon Over the past few months, e-book distributors have been signing new deals with e-commerce giant Amazon, and you've likely noticed that the prices of e-books have gone way up, almost in-line with what a physical book sells for.

While the publishers were likely happy that they got to price gouge (and Amazon could no longer discount), revenues have already taken a huge hit so the publishers' strategy has unsurprisingly backfired.

Majors Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers and Simon & Schuster all reported major declining e-book revenue in the last quarter. Hachette, for example, saw e-books fall to just 24 percent of its U.S. net revenue for the first 6 months of 2015, compared to 29 percent a year earlier. The company also had a large 7.8 percent drop in revenue for the period.

On the other hand, most of the publishers have claimed that lack of blockbuster titles have been the cause of declines but that remains to be seen.

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AfterDawn: News

The Google Play Store could finally be headed back to China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 11:43

The Google Play Store could finally be headed back to China After years of being banned from the nation, Google could be well on its way to having the Google Play Store return to China this fall.

According to a new report, the store could return, in a censored version, after Google removed its services from China in 2010 over surveillance and censorship concerns. Those concerns are not likely to have changed but what has certainly changed since 2010 is China's smartphone market base, which has exploded over 300 percent.

Google will reportedly use its close partners like Huawei to get back into the country, asking the major phone maker to include the Play Store with its Android phones sold in the nation. Even with a Chinese partner, the Play Store will require government approval, which almost certainly means a neutered offering that restricts popular apps like Twitter and Facebook. Google will also have to restrict what movies, books and music it sells in the nation, if it's even allowed to do so, at all.

Finally, the report claims that the Play Store will only work with Android Marshmallow devices, which means the launch will by tiny in the fall. The new operating system is expected to launch early next month alongside a new Huawei-built Nexus flagship.

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AfterDawn: News

Is the oft-rumored iPad Pro coming next week?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 11:32

Is the oft-rumored iPad Pro coming next week? According to a new report, Apple's upcoming September 9th event will be one of the biggest in the company's history.

In addition to showing off the iPhone 6S and 6S Plus, the company will also unveil a brand new Apple TV set-top and new Apple Watch bands. But, if sources are correct, then the company will also launch the oft-rumored iPad Pro and even a new iPad Mini.

While most of those items were expected, the iPad Pro has been rumored for almost two years now and has never been more than just rumor. The iPad Pro will be a giant tablet, possibly 12.2-inches, that could launch as early as November. The tablet has been most recently rumored to have stereo speakers, run iOS 9.1 and support Force Touch.

Apple has not confirmed anything except to say that the event will include an "unprecedented" number of product launches, and indeed, the company has rented out an auditorium that fits 7000.

Whether you are an Apple fan or not, next week should be interesting at the least.

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AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 now with bigger market share than OS X Yosemite

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 11:11

Windows 10 now with bigger market share than OS X Yosemite Microsoft Windows 10, on the market since the end of July, has now surpassed Apple's OS X Yosemite in market share.

According to the latest figures from Statista, the operating system has 5.2 percent market share, ahead of Yosemite at 4.8 percent. Although Mac has a much smaller share of the overall market, the number is still significant as Yosemite was launched last November.

As expected, Windows 7 is far and away the leader, at 57.7 percent share, followed by the 14-year old (wow) Windows XP at 12.1 percent. Windows 8.1, in its short time on the market, has 11.4 percent share and that share is expected to disappear in the coming months as Windows 10 cannibalizes it.

Windows 10 is free to legal owners of Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 and the operating system is also available on different ecosystems including Raspberry Pi, tablets, Windows Phones and soon on the Xbox One.

(Chart via BI from Statista)

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AfterDawn: News

Your baby monitor is currently being hacked

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Sep 2015 10:11

Your baby monitor is currently being hacked According to a new report, a few of the most popular web-connected baby monitors are extremely vulnerable to being attacked as they lack even the most basic security features.

Besides giving cyber attackers an in to watch your baby, it may also give access to other Wi-Fi enabled devices around the home.

Security firm Rapid7 Inc. reported on nine baby monitors that are popular and range from $55 to $260 in price. "There's a certain leap of faith you're taking with your child when you use one of these," says Mark Stanislav, a senior security consultant at Rapid7. All of the monitors record and send the video to your app or to a personal site (cloud). Some can even record audio and motion and alert the watcher.

The biggest problems found with the devices was lack of data encryption. Many of the monitors did not encrypt their data streams, or their web or mobile features were lacking strong encryption. Perhaps more scary was the fact that some has hidden passwords for access to the device, but those passwords were listed online or in manuals and were unchangeable by the user.

Of the nine researched, 8 of the monitors received an "F" rating while received a "D-," but all have been notified and some have already begun making changes. "When one gets an 'F' and one gets a 'D minus,' there isn't an appreciable difference," Stanislav says. "And unlike a laptop where you can install firewalls and antimalware, you can't do that here."

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AfterDawn: News

First minor Windows 10 update is slated for November

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 10:45

First minor Windows 10 update is slated for November According to multiple source, Microsoft's first non-patch update for Windows 10 (codename Threshold 2) is now slated for release in November.

Originally, the update had been planned for late October so it appears there is just a slight delay as Microsoft works out some kinks and continues developing the update.

Reportedly, Microsoft will simply name the update "Windows 10 November Update" or drop the name/identity completely.

Unfortunately for Windows 10 fans, there don't appear to be any killer features with Threshold 2 but the first major update, codename Redstone, will bring a universal messaging app and Edge extensions.

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AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp reaches 900 million users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 8:39

WhatsApp reaches 900 million users WhatsApp founder Jan Koum has announced this week that the popular messenger app has now reached 900 million monthly active users.

The Facebook-owned company has grown by 100 million users in the last five months, and 200 million in less than a year, but growth is slowing from the ferocious pace it had before.

Parent Facebook has 1.49 billion monthly active users and its own Messenger app has 700 million users so it seems that Facebook really is connecting the world.

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AfterDawn: News

Feds: Ex Tesla engineer hacked boss's email, leaked confidential information

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 8:27

Feds: Ex Tesla engineer hacked boss's email, leaked confidential information A former Tesla engineer has been charged with computer crime offenses after allegedly accessing his former Boss's e-mail account and leaking information.

Nima Kalbasi, a 28 year old Canadian citizen, was fired from Tesla Motors in December, but later allegedly accessed Tesla's e-mail servers without authorization. Once gaining access to his former Boss's e-mail account, Kalbasi is accused of stealing confidential information, including employee assessments, which he then shared with former colleagues.

He also is alleged to have leaked confidential information online and attempting to harm Tesla's reputation and credibility by making false and misleading comments.

Kalbasi was apprehended while crossing the border from Canada to the United States on August 24. He appeared in U.S. District Court in San Jose on August 27, and is charged with two counts of felony computer intrusion, and one count of misdemeanor computer intrusion.

If convicted, he could face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for the felony charges, and one year in prison for the misdemeanor charge.

Tesla Motors is based in Palo Alto, California, designing and manufacturing high-end electric vehicles, including the Tesla Model S. The firm just announced that its mass market Model 3 vehicle will be available to pre-order from March, 2016, starting at $35,000. The car itself won't go into production for two years as Tesla waits on the output from its highly-ambitious Gigafactory, under construction in Nevada.

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AfterDawn: News

UK resident arrested for Pirate Bay torrents

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 7:39

UK resident arrested for Pirate Bay torrents British police arrested a man on Thursday morning for allegedly uploading torrents to popular sites to help distribute music files.

The 38-year old was arrested in Everton, Liverpool, during a raid carried out by the Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU), which investigates copyright infringement and counterfeiting in the United Kingdom.

According to the TorrentFreak blog, the man was a regular uploader of torrents to the Pirate Bay, and also to KickassTorrents. He would, allegedly, upload torrents that could be used to download and share compilations of popular music, such as the UK Top 40 hits.

In the past five years, he allegedly uploaded hundreds of torrents.

According to the PIPCU, the man also ran a separate site that offered individual tracks and acapella versions, and generated a "significant" amount of revenue through advertisements. The man was tracked down through a PIPCU investigation with cooperation from PRS for Music.

"He is also believed to be illegally uploading the UK Top 40 Singles to various torrent sites on a weekly basis as they are published by the official charts company," a PIPCU release reads.

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AfterDawn: News

New Chrome update will reduce the incredible amount of RAM the browser uses

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 7:23

New Chrome update will reduce the incredible amount of RAM the browser uses Fans of Google's Chrome browser know that if they want to have multiple tabs open then you better have 32GB of RAM free since the browser has inexplicably over time become a huge memory hog.

Google appears to agree and Chrome 45 is now available with focuses on efficiency and better speeds.

"Speed is one of the founding principles of Chrome. As the web evolves and sites take advantage of increasing capabilities, Chrome's performance--how fast pages load, how smooth scrolling is, how much memory is consumed, and how long your battery lasts--becomes even more important. So in the latest release of Chrome we've included a ton of improvements to make your browsing use less memory and power," says Google.

Additionally, Chrome will now restore your tabs in order from how recently they have been used so you can jump right back in even more efficiently. Finally, "Chrome can now detect when a webpage isn't busy with some other task, and use the free time to aggressively clean up old, unused memory. In practice we found that this reduced website memory usage by 10% on average, but the effect is even more dramatic on complex web apps. With Gmail, for example, we can free up nearly a quarter of the memory used by the tab," adds the company.

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AfterDawn: News

Google Chrome to use less memory and power

Written by James Delahunty @ 04 Sep 2015 7:15

Google Chrome to use less memory and power Following an update, Google's Chrome browser should use less memory and be less of a burden on battery life.

It's not exactly a secret that Google's Desktop web browser likes to consume a lot of RAM, particularly for users that tend to have a large number of tabs open. There are ways to reduce the memory usage in Chrome manually, such as using add-ons that suspend tabs after a period of inactivity, or setting plug-ins (Flash etc.) as "click to play".

With the latest updates for Chrome, Google aims to ease the burden the browser puts on a system. The browser can now aggressively clean up old, unused memory when a webpage isn't busy with a task, which Google claims reduces memory usage per website by about 10 percent on average.

For complex web apps it is even better, with tests showing that up to a quarter of memory used by the tab can be freed.

Users of the Chrome browser will also have noticed that sometimes the browser can really lock up a system when restoring tabs that were previously opened. Google has made changes to improve tab restoration too, as Chrome will now restore tabs from most to least recently viewed and can detect when the computer is running low on resources and halt tab restoration temporarily.

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AfterDawn: News

Firefox for iOS now available as preview

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 2:56

Firefox for iOS now available as preview Mozilla has announced this week that their first public preview of Firefox for iOS is now available.

The rollout has started modestly just in New Zealand, but should be expanded soon.

Says Mozilla: "Our goal is to create a great browsing experience for iOS with Firefox. With this first public preview we will be collecting feedback in one country, before we extend availability to get feedback in a few more countries prior to a full public launch. Feedback from this preview release will help us build new features and bring Firefox for iOS to the App Store in rest of the world later this year."

The preview includes Mozilla 'Intelligent Search,' which suggests search results and offers answers from multiple search providers. As with other Mozilla products, you can sync over your desktop browser history, passwords and even active tabs.

You can sign up to try the preview here.

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AfterDawn: News

Hulu to offer ad-free version of streaming service for $12

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Sep 2015 1:05

Hulu to offer ad-free version of streaming service for $12 Hulu has announced this week that the company will begin offering an ad-free version of its streaming service for $11.99 per month, marking the first time since its launch that you will be able to watch content without commercials.

Until now, Hulu's premium streaming catalog cost $7.99 per month but still had ads. What made the service premium was the ability to watch shows that are currently on TV the day after they aired on Fox, NBC or ABC, a feature that is so far unmatched by other services.

In its efforts to take on Netflix, (which has 4x the amount of paying subscribers), Hulu recently announced a deal with Epix to bring new movies to the service, including popular titles from Lionsgate and Paramount.

"You can split people into two categories: ad avoiders and ad acceptors," said Hulu. "There are clearly people who just are not going to buy Hulu because there are ads. We think we can bring them back into the fold with new content and this new choice."

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AfterDawn: News

IFA: Samsung unveils first Ultra HD Blu-ray player

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Sep 2015 10:43

IFA: Samsung unveils first Ultra HD Blu-ray player Samsung has unveiled their first Ultra HD Blu-ray player today at IFA 2015.

The players, and the standard, can provide four times the resolution of regular Blu-ray players, and up to 64 times "higher color expression" and 60fps video support.

All discs will be upscaled to UHD and will be compatible with 4K streaming services and HDR video. As is now becoming standard, dual-band Wi-Fi (2.4GHz and 5GHz) is supported, and there is a USB port up front.

In addition, Samsung has promised to expand the fledgling ecosystem for 4K/Ultra HD content and will partner with Netflix, Amazon, Canal Plus and others to create and distribute more UHD content.

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AfterDawn: News

Motorola unveils new series of Moto 360 smartwatches

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 03 Sep 2015 9:46

Motorola unveils new series of Moto 360 smartwatches Motorola has today announced a new series of smartwatches in Berlin at the IFA trade show. The company aims to offer a more customizable and fashionable accessory to smartwatch lovers.

As the leaks and rumors had it Moto 360 comes in different versions and in different sizes. The new, regular Moto 360 comes in two versions, for men and for women, and in two sizes: 42mm (women and men) and 46mm (men). The display has the same "empty tire" look as the first generation Moto 360. Prices start from $299 and climb up to $429. Preorders start today and the products start shipping in a couple of weeks.

The other version is Moto 360 Sports which is – obviously – a more durable and sportier looking sibling of Moto 360 with largely the same features. It does, however, add GPS for activity tracking and a fixed silicone strap that will endure elements better. There is no price yet for the sport version but it will become available later this year.




AfterDawn: News

Is Google set to unveil new Nexus phones on September 29th?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2015 11:45

Is Google set to unveil new Nexus phones on September 29th? According to a new report, Google will unveil two new Nexus devices at a special event on September 29th.

If the many high-profile leaks are to be believed, Google will release a smaller mid-range Nexus device built by LG and also a high-end reference device built by Huawei.

The LG phone is expected to have a 5.2-inch screen, and the Huawei device will take a step back from the 6-inch Nexus 6 and be just 5.7 inches. Both devices will add fingerprint sensors but otherwise will not see large jumps in features.

Another guarantee is that both devices will run on Android Marshmallow. We will know more later this month.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, others form new group to develop next-generation media formats, codecs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2015 11:14

Netflix, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, others form new group to develop next-generation media formats, codecs A super group consisting of Amazon, Cisco, Google, Intel, Microsoft, Mozilla and Netflix have created the Alliance for Open Media, a project that will develop next-generation media formats, codecs and technologies.

The Alliance has committed to a next-generation video format that will be interoperable and open; optimized for the web; scalable to any modern device at any bandwidth; designed with a low computational footprint and optimized for hardware; capable of consistent, highest-quality, real-time video delivery; and flexible for both commercial and non-commercial content, including user-generated content.

"Customer expectations for media delivery continue to grow, and fulfilling their expectations requires the concerted energy of the entire ecosystem," said Gabe Frost, the Alliance for Open Media's Executive Director. "The Alliance for Open Media brings together the leading experts in the entire video stack to work together in pursuit of open, royalty-free and interoperable solutions for the next generation of video delivery."

The next-gen format will be royalty free.

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung shows off new, rounder Gear S2 smartwatch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2015 10:45

Samsung shows off new, rounder Gear S2 smartwatch Samsung has unveiled their latest smartwatch this week, the Gear S2.

Differentiating itself from other rival watches is the fact that the device has a round rotating bezel and two side buttons (home and back).

As with Samsung's other watches, the Gear S2 runs on the company's own Tizen OS and not Android Wear. It is actually unclear which devices will be compatible with the device but we should know soon.

The Gear S2 includes NFC, Wi-Fi and also e-SIM, allowing for phone calls and some other tasks even when your phone isn't around. Although specs don't matter on watches, the S2 has 360x360 resolution, a dual-core 1.0GHz processor and 4GB internal storage.

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AfterDawn: News

Nu Image goes after more pirates, this time suing Popcorn Time users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Sep 2015 2:11

Nu Image goes after more pirates, this time suing Popcorn Time users Indie studio Millenium and its infamous affiliate Nu Image are now going after Popcorn Time users who allegedly viewed 2015's 'Survivor' starring Pierce Brosnan and Milla Jovovich.

The companies claim that 16 users in Oregon, U.S., were responsible for over 10,000 unauthorized downloads of the film.

Each of the 16 have been accused of downloading and distributing multiple copies of the film across the BitTorrent network. The studios also claim that the individuals are "habitual copyright infringers."

The studios are also clearly looking to settle quickly and quietly without any kind of court involved since they offered to resolve the case for the "statutory minimum in damages, in this case, $750. In a court, each defendant could be liable for up to $150,000 for infringement.

Rads the suit: "It is our belief that the transfer of data, storing of physical data locally on a hard drive and facilitation and redistribution of stolen data to others should be considered a 'physical taking' under Oregon law and we felt compelled to take this opportunity to fight back and ensure that those who choose to engage in this type of behavior face real repercussions, just as a person would if they shoplifted a DVD or other physical consumer product from a retailer."

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon to allow offline viewing of streaming Prime Video content

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 11:43

Amazon to allow offline viewing of streaming Prime Video content In a pretty shocking move, Amazon has announced that all Prime subscribers will now have access to download movies and TV shows for offline viewing.

The feature had previously been available to Amazon Fire tablet owners but that has now been extended to Android and iOS tablets and smartphones (which encompass nearly 90 percent of all devices out there). Not all video is available but a significant portion is.

Amazon says the ability to download is as easy as just "tapping Download."

Prime membership costs $99 per year and gives subscribers free 2-day shipping on millions of items, free streaming through Amazon Prime Video with over 10,000 TV episodes and movies available and also free music streaming.

Check out the full selection here: Amazon Wherever You Go




AfterDawn: News

Sony PS4 update to add YouTube streaming support and boost storage

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 11:29

Sony PS4 update to add YouTube streaming support and boost storage Sony has given some insight into the upcoming PS4 firmware update version 3.00, codenamed Kenshin.

The update is currently in beta and Sony warned that some features will not make it to the final version.

A preview of the updates (via Sony):

Online storage capacity increase -- PS4 online storage capacity has increased from 1GB to 10GB for all PS Plus members. In 3.00 system software, you'll see that we added a handy usage meter to monitor your available storage capacity, and a new Auto-Upload menu has been added to Application Saved Data Management.

YouTube live -- PS4 owners will be able to live stream gameplay to YouTube. Live streams will be viewable across YouTube, including on the new YouTube Gaming mobile app and website.

Events -- A new hub for events has been added, giving an overview of activities taking place in the games you play most, as well as official broadcasts. For instance, you may see an update for a Double XP weekend, a special enemy appearing at a scheduled time, or seasonal events like in-game towns being decorated for the winter. You'll also receive notifications when the event starts, or if the timing changes.

Favorite Groups -- Favorite Groups has been added to the Friends app, letting you quickly access groups of people you like to play games with frequently. This will make the process of getting a game session up and running even easier.

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AfterDawn: News

Nintendo Wii U and 3DS games now available for download via Amazon

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 11:07

Nintendo Wii U and 3DS games now available for download via Amazon Nintendo has begun selling digital downloads of their Wii U and 3DS games through Amazon, starting with 61 popular titles.

In addition, the company is also selling classic games that were previously available through the Nintendo Virtual Console.

To complete the order, you must go to Nintendo's storefront on Amazon, purchase a download code and then login to your Nintendo Network Account to redeem. The game is then downloaded directly to your connected device.

Nintendo fans will likely enjoy having other options to purchase their games, and rivals Sony and Microsoft have had similar offerings for years.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony is crowdfunding their next smartwatch

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 10:39

Sony is crowdfunding their next smartwatch Sony has unveiled the new "Wena Wrist" on their own crowdfunding platform - First Flight, showing off a premium smartwatch with gorgeous looks.

Wena stands for "wear electronics naturally," and it is much different in appearance than Sony's other smartwatches.

Sony says the device is NFC wallet compatible (with Japan's Felica standard), has activity tracking, and provides notifications through vibration and customizable LED lights.

There will be two models available, "Chronograph" and "Three Hands." Chronograph will have separate dials for hours, minutes, and seconds (just like real chronos) and Three Hands will be a standard watch face. Both are 42mm displays. The watches are rated at one week per charge.

If the watches are funded, they are expected to ship in April 2016 with prices ranging from $275 to $575.

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AfterDawn: News

LG unveils Watch Urbane Luxe smartwatch with 23-karat gold at $1200

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 10:20

LG unveils Watch Urbane Luxe smartwatch with 23-karat gold at $1200 LG has announced a new limited edition premium smartwatch, the LG Watch Urbane Luxe, in partnership with U.S. jewelry retailers REEDS.

The smartwatch is based on the Watch Urbane but has an alligator leather strap and is plated in 23-karat gold. The watch will also sell in a piano-gloss lacquer case.

Says LG: "The LG Watch Urbane Luxe will sport a deployment clasp for a fitted, elegant look that isn't bulky. Invented by Louis Cartier in 1910, the use of a deployment clasp makes this timepiece even more exclusive and unique. The alligator band itself is handcrafted at the highest level of craftsmanship, undergoing 50 separate steps in its creation, handled lovingly by 30 experienced leatherworkers. The 23-karat gold used in the LG Watch Urbane Luxe is stronger and harder than the 24-karat gold used in jewelry and heavier than the 18-karat gold used in traditional luxury watches."

There will only be 500 of the watch made, engraved with their own serial numbers. Launching in late October, the Watch Urbane Luxe will sell for $1199.99.

"Wearable devices shouldn't be thought of as an extension of one's smartphone but an extension of oneself," added Chris Yie, vice president and head of marketing communications for LG Mobile Communications Company. "This blending of craftsmanship and technology is a natural evolution of the smartwatch, which is becoming more of a lifestyle accessory than a piece of hardware. We think this is a good direction for wearables and we want to encourage this transformation."

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AfterDawn: News

Here are the leaked specs for the new LG 'Nexus 5'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 9:43

Here are the leaked specs for the new LG 'Nexus 5' According to a new report, one of Google's upcoming Nexus phones will be built by LG, and we now have a spec sheet to go with it.

The device is rumored to have a 5.2-inch display at 1080p resolution, be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 808 and 3GB RAM, and will most likely be the "sub-flagship" Nexus phone built this year. Other rumors have pointed to Chinese OEM Huawei as the maker of the true Nexus flagship.

Qualcomm's 808 has two powerful A57 processing cores and four lower powered A53 cores and includes an Adreno 418 GPU, which is almost identical to the well-known Adreno 420 seen in last year's flagship devices.

Furthermore, the device is rumored to have a USB Type-C port, a 2700mAh battery and dual cameras 12.3MP/5MP.

Despite not including the crazy high-end specs we've come to expect from Nexus reference devices, the new LG Nexus will likely be priced to win.

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AfterDawn: News

Google has updated their logo

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Sep 2015 2:30

Google has updated their logo Less than a month after the company shook up their corporate structure, Google has announced a new logo, the first real change to the look in over a decade.

Says Google: "So why are we doing this now? Once upon a time, Google was one destination that you reached from one device: a desktop PC. These days, people interact with Google products across many different platforms, apps and devices--sometimes all in a single day. You expect Google to help you whenever and wherever you need it, whether it's on your mobile phone, TV, watch, the dashboard in your car, and yes, even a desktop!

Today we're introducing a new logo and identity family that reflects this reality and shows you when the Google magic is working for you, even on the tiniest screens. As you'll see, we've taken the Google logo and branding, which were originally built for a single desktop browser page, and updated them for a world of seamless computing across an endless number of devices and different kinds of inputs (such as tap, type and talk).

It doesn't simply tell you that you're using Google, but also shows you how Google is working for you. For example, new elements like a colorful Google mic help you identify and interact with Google whether you're talking, tapping or typing. Meanwhile, we're bidding adieu to the little blue "g" icon and replacing it with a four-color "G" that matches the logo."

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