AfterDawn: Tech news

News archive (1 / 2016)

AfterDawn: News

'House of Cards' will return for fifth season on Netflix

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 11:58

'House of Cards' will return for fifth season on Netflix Despite the departure of series creator Beau Willimon, Netflix has confirmed that 'House of Cards' will return for a fifth season via the streaming service.

The renewal comes just ahead of the launch of the show's fourth season, which begins in early March. The next season will begin filming in 2017, without Willimon, who left to try his hand at other projects.

"I'm grateful to Netflix and MRC, my fellow executive producers, our two incandescent stars Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, our talented writers, as well as the incredible cast and crew with whom I've had the privilege to work,"
Willimon said last week. "After five years and four seasons, it's time for me to move on to new endeavors, but I'm supremely proud of what we've built together, wish the show much continued success, and leave it in the hands of a very capable team."

If you are already excited for season 5, don't miss the trailer for season 4, here:

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AfterDawn: News

OnePlus X now available to all, no invite necessary

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 11:49

OnePlus X now available to all, no invite necessary OnePlus has begun selling its OnePlus X smartphone to all, without the need for an invite.

The X sells for just $249 and comes with high mid-range specs. The X has a 5-inch 1080p AMOLED screen, a Snapdragon 801 processor, 3GB RAM, dual-SIM slots, 16GB internal storage (with microSD slot), dual 13MP/8MP cameras and a 2525 mAh battery.

OnePlus launched the device in November and says the move to general availability is its quickest ever for a phone.

The device has been generally well received, however, in the U.S. it is mainly useless as it is lacking LTE bands required by GSM providers here in the states.

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AfterDawn: News

The Jolla tablet is dead, but you may get a refund by the end of 2016

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 11:36

The Jolla tablet is dead, but you may get a refund by the end of 2016 Finnish startup Jolla has confirmed that just under 700 crowd-funded Jolla Tablets will ever reach consumers, and over 21,000 backers will eventually receive refunds.

The original Indiegogo campaign concluded in November 2014 and raised $2.5 million, hitting every stretch goal. So far, the company has only shipped 121 units running the company's own Sailfish OS 2.0, which remains in beta and will likely always remain in beta.

Says Jolla: "We have been analyzing different alternatives regarding the Jolla Tablet project situation. But no matter how you come at it, the tight financial situation remains a major constraint and, therefore, a main driver of the solution. Furthermore, due to the delays in the latest financing round it has simply become too late to produce all the tablets for the project. The supplier no longer has the needed components and many of them are no longer available. Unfortunately, there is nothing that can be done now to change this."

Unfortunately for backers, you will get a refund but it will likely not be until the Q4 2016. Word of advice: The next time a company claims it can 'disrupt' the Apple/Google duopoly, just close the web page and put your wallet away.

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AfterDawn: News

Free, ad-supported iTunes Radio is officially dead

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 11:18

Free, ad-supported iTunes Radio is officially dead As reported last month, Apple's free, ad-supported iTunes Radio service is now dead.

The free, streaming radio service will live on only through the DJ-hosted Beats 1 radio station that will remain active.

If you'd like to keep listening you will have to upgrade to Apple Music for $9.99 per month, giving you access to curated radio stations and on-demand access to tens of millions of tracks.

Apple Music has seen swift growth since it launched last summer, and now has over 10 million paying subscribers. Spotify is the leader in the market, with over 20 million paying subscribers, although Spotify launched nearly a decade ago.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony reports earnings: PlayStation rocks, mobile is horrible

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 10:51

Sony reports earnings: PlayStation rocks, mobile is horrible Earlier this week, Sony announced its quarterly earnings, showing small growth in revenue and a nice boost in profits thanks to strong PlayStation and Sony Pictures sales.

The company had $21.25 billion in revenue for the quarter and managed to bring in income of $1.69 billion, a huge turnaround for a company that has been losing millions (and even billions) for years.

Sony's Mobile and Devices division continues to bring the company down but Sony is trying to nullify those losses by offering less and less phones, TVs, tablets, etc with a better focus on quality. Perhaps most surprisingly, however, was the decrease in sales for the company's smartphone camera sensor business, normally a stalwart at the company. Sales fell 12.6 percent for the sensor business, leading to a $97 million loss for Sony compared to a nearly $450 million gain in the previous quarter.

On the positive side, restructuring costs dropped by 50 percent year-over-year, and cost cutting across the company's divisions appear to be paying off. PlayStation sales increased 10.5 percent, and revenue from the division increased to $4.9 billion.

Overall, Sony appears to have finally begun its long-awaited turn around although many could still argue there is more to cut at the legendary Japanese co.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Apple working on long-distance wireless charging tech for 2017

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 31 Jan 2016 10:28

Report: Apple working on long-distance wireless charging tech for 2017 According to sources, Apple is working on wireless charging technology that can be used for its iPhones and iPads starting next year.

While wireless charging technology is certainly not new, Apple's will be different in that it will not require the phone or tablet to sit on the charging mat, suggesting the phone could be charged from feet away rather than inches.

The tech is not available today because Apple is still working on overcoming "loss of power over distance," say the sources. Efficiency is drastically reduced as the distance between the device and the charger increases, meaning it takes longer to charge the battery.

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AfterDawn: News

Official press shots of Galaxy S7 leak

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jan 2016 2:20

Official press shots of Galaxy S7 leak The grand old man of smartphone leaks, Evan Blass of VentureBeat has leaked one of the most anticipated smartphones of the year. It is of course the flagship model of Sasmung, Galaxy S7.

There's two pictures of the two different versions shown – the regular 5.1 inch Galaxy S7 and the larger 5.6 inch Galaxy S7 Edge. Blass has added one of the pictures to an ">early January VentureBeat story (show above) and the other picture is seen in his tweet below.

By the looks of it the phone will be pretty much identical to the Galaxy S6, but obviously a lot of differences can be found under the hood. The Galaxy S6 – and especially the Edge version – and its metal and glass finish got a warm welcome after a slew of plasticky models, so not changing the exterior certainly isn't a bad choice.

According to Blass, Samsung has also added some key features to Galaxy S7 that the community has been aching for. The battery is still non-replaceable but microSD card slot will allow memory expansion and the phone is also finally water and dust resistant.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft reveals Q4 results, another nail in the Windows Phone coffin

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 30 Jan 2016 2:01

Microsoft reveals Q4 results, another nail in the Windows Phone coffin Microsoft has revealed quarterly results and disclosed details on smartphone sales. It might not come as a surprise but the figures do not paint a pretty picture, and some have deemed the platform dead.

During the fourth quarter of 2015, Microsoft sold only 4.5 million Lumia smartphones, dropping over 50% from just couple years back. Other phones, so called dumb phones without Windows, Microsoft sold 22.3 million units. The figures are dreadful for the Redmont giant.

Windows Phone has never quite found its place in the smartphone platform wars and the acquisition of Nokia didn't seem to help Microsoft. After the acquisition Microsoft has seemed to scale the smartphone business down rather than give it a strong, maybe its last, push. Now it looks like the swan song was a rather weak one, if we indeed have witnessed it.

Since 2010 only 110 million Windows Phones have been sold, which is minuscule compared to more than 4.5 billion Android phones or iPhones. It's hard to see a way up for Microsoft. Everything could change with one magical product, but it's really hard to see that happening.




AfterDawn: News

Is Microsoft's Edge browser storing your private browsing data?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2016 6:16

Is Microsoft's Edge browser storing your private browsing data? Microsoft Edge, the company's evolution for Internet Explorer, may be storing data it should not be.

The browser, which launched last year with Windows 10, has an 'incognito' browsing mode called InPrivate which is supposed to ensure that your browsing history and habits are not tracked nor stored. According to researcher Ashish Singh, InPrivate is not protecting you as it should.

Singh says that any site visited while InPrivate can be recovered by examining the app's WebCache file. The sites are stored in a "Container_m" table just like your regular browsing history is.

"The not-so-private browsing featured by Edge makes its very purpose seem to fail," Singh wrote.

Microsoft has confirmed it is investigating the reports: "We recently became aware of a report that claims InPrivate tabs are not working as designed," a Microsoft spokesperson added, "and we are committed to resolving this as quickly as possible."

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AfterDawn: News

The hated Java plugin has finally been given its last rites

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2016 4:47

The hated Java plugin has finally been given its last rites Oracle has announced this week that the horrible Java browser plugin will be extinct soon.

After the upcoming Java Development Kit 9 is released, the plugin will be removed from future releases. Oracle says the move is necessary as browser makers are moving away from plugins.

"With modern browser vendors working to restrict and reduce plugin support in their products, developers of applications that rely on the Java browser plugin need to consider alternative options such as migrating from Java Applets (which rely on a browser plugin) to the plugin-free Java Web Start technology," the company said.

Throughout its life, Java has been exploited numerous times, with users being left vulnerable to malware and worse. Additionally, the plugin has harrased users to update almost daily for years, as well.

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AfterDawn: News

Strategy Analytics: 1.4 billion smartphones shipped in 2015

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2016 4:22

Strategy Analytics: 1.4 billion smartphones shipped in 2015 According to research firm Strategy Analytics, global smartphone shipments jumped 12 percent to 1.4 billion in 2015.

For the Q4 2015, growth was only six percent year-over-year, a number that Strategy Analytics says is the slowest holiday period growth rate of all-time for smartphones.

The numbers seem to suggest that the smartphone market is nearing saturation in the coming years unless emerging markets begin to move from mobile phones to smartphones sooner than expected.

Samsung, Apple and Huawei led the way in shipments and were the only companies to ship nine-digit units. Samsung shipped nearly 320 million phones for 2015 followed by Apple at 231.5 million and Huawei at 107.1 million.

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AfterDawn: News

Report: Amazon is preparing a 'Spotify-killer'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 28 Jan 2016 3:50

Report: Amazon is preparing a 'Spotify-killer' According to the New York Post, Amazon is preparing a 'Spotify-killer' although the plan is still in its early stages.

The sources claim Amazon has been negotiating with the major record labels to secure licensing rights for a subscription music service that can take on Spotify and Apple Music.

Amazon currently offers a free (small) music streaming catalog to its $99-per-year Prime subscribers but this new service will allegedly have its own $9.99 per month fee. The current Prime offering is about 1 million songs, compared to 10+ million for rivals.

The e-commerce giant is the second-largest seller of digital music and the largest seller of physical music but digital downloads peaked two years ago and physical music peaked in the early 2000s.

It is unclear what will separate Amazon's streaming service from rivals, but there was an interesting note towards the end of the report which claims that Amazon could drop the price of the subscription if you purchase an Echo, the company's surprise hit voice-controlled 'personal assistant.'

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft now owns Surfacephone.com

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2016 10:56

Microsoft now owns Surfacephone.com It appears that Microsoft has been buying up Surface related domains in the last few months, ahead of the expected launch of the Surface Phone.

The software giant now owns surfacephone.com although the domain currently redirects to the main Surface website.

Of course, the moves don't mean Microsoft is actually building a Surface-branded phone, but there is little doubt at this point especially as Microsoft phases out the Nokia and Lumia brands.

In addition to surfacephone.com, Microsoft now owns surfacecar.com and surfacelaptop.com, which are interesting, but likely useless.

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AfterDawn: News

The first Angry Birds theatrical trailer is here

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 27 Jan 2016 10:38

The first Angry Birds theatrical trailer is here Rovio has released the first theatrical trailer for the upcoming Angry Birds Movie, set for release in May.

Reads the statement: "The movie takes us to an island populated entirely by happy, flightless birds – or almost entirely. In this paradise, Red (Jason Sudeikis, We're the Millers, Horrible Bosses), a bird with a temper problem, speedy Chuck (Josh Gad in his first animated role since Frozen), and the volatile Bomb (Danny McBride, This is the End, Eastbound and Down) have always been outsiders. But when the island is visited by mysterious green piggies, it's up to these unlikely outcasts to figure out what the pigs are up to.

Featuring a hilarious, all-star voice cast that includes Bill Hader (Trainwreck, Inside Out), Maya Rudolph (Bridesmaids, Sisters), and Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones), as well as Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live, Ghostbusters), Keegan-Michael Key (Key & Peele), Tony Hale (Veep, Arrested Development), Tituss Burgess (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Ike Barinholtz (Neighbors, Sisters), Hannibal Buress (Daddy's Home, Broad City), Jillian Bell (22 Jump Street), Danielle Brooks (Orange is the New Black), Latin music sensation Romeo Santos, YouTube stars Smosh (Ian Hecox and Anthony Padilla), and country music superstar Blake Shelton, who writes and performs the original song "Friends," the Columbia Pictures/Rovio Entertainment film is directed by Fergal Reilly and Clay Kaytis and produced by John Cohen and Catherine Winder. The screenplay is by Jon Vitti, and the film is executive produced by Mikael Hed and David Maisel."

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AfterDawn: News

Japan Display to begin mass production of OLED panels in 2018

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2016 10:39

Japan Display to begin mass production of OLED panels in 2018 Japan Display has confirmed it will begin mass production of OLED panels in 2018, hoping to have such displays used for upcoming Apple iPhones that are rumored to use OLED.

"We will take advantage of our advanced thin-film transistor technology in developing OLED screens," Akio Takimoto, chief of Japan Display's research center.

JD already supplies screens to Apple, but has been facing increased competition from companies like Samsung and LG.

Japan Display, which is majority owned by the government-backed Innovation Network Corporation of Japan (INCJ), could soon be merging with Sharp, if the company accepts INCJ's recent bid.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony merges PlayStation businesses into new company

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2016 10:15

Sony merges PlayStation businesses into new company Sony has confirmed a new business structure for their existing PlayStation businesses, with the new company called Sony Interactive Entertainment.

Starting on April 1st, Andrew House will become SIE President and CEO. SIE merges Sony PlayStation Network Services, Sony Network International and Sony Computer Entertainment into one company based in the U.S. Local subsidiaries will also be set up home in Tokyo and in London.

"By integrating the strengths of PlayStation's hardware, software, content and network operations, SIE will become an even stronger entity, with a clear objective to further accelerate the growth of the PlayStation business," says House in a statement. "Along with our business partners, SIE will develop pioneering services and products that will continue to inspire consumers' imaginations and lead the market. We will work hard to maximize corporate value by coordinating global business operations across San Mateo, Tokyo, and London by leveraging local expertise."


Sony added: "It has become important for both SCE and SNEI to unify their business strengths under one entity with a single focus," and that the two former companies will "combine resources across their hardware, software, content and fast-growing network businesses, positioning [SIE] for enhanced competitiveness, continued expansion and market leadership in all areas."

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung to open VR studio in New York

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 26 Jan 2016 10:01

Samsung  to open VR studio in New York Samsung has announced that they will be opening a New York-based studio dedicated to producing "new, immersive experiences" for Samsung VR headsets.

There was not much else revealed about the studio except that Samsung already inhabits the space and the exsiting marketing team there would not be moving.

Marc Mathieu, chief marketing officer of Samsung USA, would add: "At Samsung we love stories. And we love to help people tell stories."

Samsung has recently showed off its Gear VR headset and premiered their first virtual-reality sketch comedy series as the company tries to offer more and more content for VR early adopters.

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AfterDawn: News

Spotify video streaming service launching this week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 25 Jan 2016 11:34

Spotify video streaming service launching this week As rumored, Spotify is launching a video streaming service to compliment its popular music streaming, and the product is ready to launch this week.

Reportedly, the service will have a 'heavy' mobile presence, launching for Android first and then on iOS next week. Spotify has been private beta testing the service in the US, UK, Germany, and Sweden for a few months.

Subscribers will be able to stream video from popular partners including Comedy Central, ESPN, MTV, BBC and Maker News.

At this point, however, it is still unclear what type of video content will be available and whether it will be exclusive. We should certainly have a better idea soon if the service really is launching this week.

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AfterDawn: News

Twitter executives flee en masse, Dorsey forced to tweet

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 25 Jan 2016 1:41

Twitter executives flee en masse, Dorsey forced to tweet Twitter's stock has been in steep decline for majority of the past year. The plunge didn't stop – quite the opposite – when co-founder Jack Dorsey was appointed as CEO in October.

Now the company is facing another huge problem as executives are leaving the company in an unprecedented pace. When the going gets rough and the times are tough it's very normal to see an exec or even two leaving the company. However, Twitter is having to deal with four high profile executives leaving the company in a very short timespan.

CEO Dorsey has been forced to give an official statement &ndash via Twitter of course. He goes on to dismiss "inaccurate press rumors", whatever they might be, but acknowledges that Alex Roetter, Skip Schipper, Katie Stanton, and Kevil Weil are leaving the company. According to Dorsey the CTO Adam Messinger is taking a responsibility of most of the work left undone and the COO Adam Bain will be taking additional responsibilities as well.

In addition the Twitter owned Vine GM Jason Toff is leaving to develop VR headsets, BGR reports.

Tweets by the public show many kinds of reactions. Some blame Twitter for not taking a strong enough stance against harassment and "violence", some have in the recent past even blamed the company for being partly responsible for ISIS attacks for not actively blocking them. Some think Twitter's downfall is not protecting the freedom of speech and advocating certain type of speech over another that was highlighted by hashtag campaign #JeSuisMilo.

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AfterDawn: News

Toshiba likely to sell some chip assets

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2016 9:41

Toshiba likely to sell some chip assets Japan's struggling electronics maker Toshiba is likely to sell part of its chip business as the company hopes to rebound from years of falling revenues and a $1.3 billion accounting scandal that threatened to bankrupt the company.

The company has begun accepting bids and already has some early interest.

Any sale would exclude Toshiba's NAND flash memory division but will include businesses related to LSI and discrete chips. Those chips are used in industrial machinery, cars and home appliances. Together, sales for those businesses were $2.78 billion for the fiscal year ended March 2015.

Toshiba will use any funds to focus on its flash memory production capacity and its storage business.

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AfterDawn: News

Alphabet to pay UK £130 million in back taxes

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2016 4:47

Alphabet to pay UK £130 million in back taxes Just like every corporation, ever, Google has been accused of skirting taxes in different countries but this time, the search giant has decided to pay some back.

Google parent Alphabet has settled in the UK and will pay £130 million in back taxes for the last decade.

From 2006 to 2011, Google made $18 billion in revenue in the UK but paid just $16 million in corporate taxes, using legal loopholes and subsidiaries to avoid higher tax rates.

Moving forward, the taxes paid will be more reflective of the company's actual revenue and profits. "We have agreed with HMRC a new approach for our U.K. taxes and will pay 130 million pounds, covering taxes since 2005," Google said. "We will now pay tax based on revenue from U.K.-based advertisers, which reflects the size and scope of our U.K. business."

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AfterDawn: News

Consumer Reports: Fitbit heart rate data is accurate

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2016 4:32

Consumer Reports: Fitbit heart rate data is accurate Despite the fact that there is a lawsuit out there over the accuracy of Fitbit's heart rate monitors, at least one reputable publication has found the data to be accurate.

Consumer Reports tested the Charge HR and Surge through high-impact workouts and found it to be as accurate as chest-based heart rate monitors. The publication did note that the tracker's accuracy fell off when using the Charge HR in specific intense workouts, but that was fixed by moving the band up the arm from the wrist to the forearm.

The lawsuit should certainly be interesting because there are real concerns if the accuracy is wrong. It is not safe if the Fitbit is conveying a lower heart rate than what is really occurring. It is also unclear how comprehensive a test must be done to truly prove the accuracy of the popular fitness trackers.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple's electric car project just lost its top exec

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2016 3:53

Apple's electric car project just lost its top exec According to sources, 16-year Apple executive Steve Zadesky is leaving the company, leaving a vacancy at the head of the company's electric car project.

Zadesky had been overseeing the project since 2014.

The sources say the departure was for personal reasons and did not specify when he will actually be leaving the company. For the time being, he remains with Apple.

Apple's car project, codenamed Titan, has a ship date of 2019 although there are very, very few details available at this time.

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AfterDawn: News

The FBI ran the world's largest child pornography website for weeks, caught thousands

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2016 3:19

The FBI ran the world's largest child pornography website for weeks, caught thousands Last year, the FBI ran the world's largest child pornography site, allowing users to download disgusting images and videos while they tracked down the criminals.

This is the third time in as many years that the FBI infiltrated an illicit site, leaving it open to identify hundreds of users that would otherwise remain hidden and anonymous.

The site, known as Playpen, was under FBI control from Feb. 20 to March 4, 2015. The site had 215,000 registered users and 23,000 sexually explicit images and videos of minors.

While the tactics have drawn some ire, especially since the victims remain victimized, there does not seem to be a more effective way to find and identify the criminals and perverts.

"We had a window of opportunity to get into one of the darkest places on Earth, and not a lot of other options except to not do it,"
said Ron Hosko, noted a former senior FBI official. "There was no other way we could identify as many players."

Playpen launched in August 2014 and quickly became the largest child pornography site available in the dark web. In just the two weeks while it was under FBI control, 100,000 users signed up for the site and agents have found "true computer addresses" for 1300 of them, so far. 137 have been charged with crimes.

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AfterDawn: News

Google: How we fought bad ads in 2015

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Jan 2016 11:33

Google: How we fought bad ads in 2015 Google SVP of Ads & Commerce, Sridhar Ramaswamy, had an interesting post this week going over some of the methods Google employs to fight off "bad ads."

"When ads are good, they connect you to products or services you're interested in and make it easier to get stuff you want. They also a lot of what you love about the web--like news sites or mobile apps--free. But some ads are just plain bad--like ads that carry malware, cover up content you're trying to see, or promote fake goods. Bad ads can ruin your entire online experience, a problem we take very seriously,"
starts Ramaswamy.

The exec says the company has invested millions in tech to ward off bad ads, and now employs 1000 people across the globe dedicated to doing the same.

In the last year, the company disabled 780 million ads for violating Google policy, a number much higher than past years since Google has improved their detection process.

Here is a rundown of some of the "bad ads" Google nuked in 2015:


Counterfeiters
We suspended more than 10,000 sites and 18,000 accounts for attempting to sell counterfeit goods (like imitation designer watches).
Pharmaceuticals
We blocked more than 12.5 million ads that violated our healthcare and medicines policy, such as ads for pharmaceuticals that weren't approved for use or that made misleading claims to be as effective as prescription drugs.
Weight loss scams
Weight-loss scams, like ads for supplements promising impossible-to-achieve weight loss without diet or exercise, were one of the top user complaints in 2015. We responded by suspending more than 30,000 sites for misleading claims.
Phishing
In 2015, we stepped up our efforts to fight phishing sites, blocking nearly 7,000 sites as a result.
Unwanted software
Unwanted software can slow your devices down or unexpectedly change your homepage and keep you from changing it back. With powerful new protections, we disabled more than 10,000 sites offering unwanted software, and reduced unwanted downloads via Google ads by more than 99 percent.
Trick to click
We got even tougher on ads that mislead or trick people into interacting with them--like ads designed to look like system warnings from your computer. In 2015 alone we rejected more than 17 million.
Creating a better experience
Sometimes even ads that offer helpful and relevant information behave in ways that can be really annoying--covering up what you're trying to see or sending you to an advertiser's site when you didn't intend to go there. In 2015, we disabled or banned the worst offenders.
Accidental mobile clicks
We've all been there. You're swiping through a slideshow of the best moments from the Presidential debate when an ad redirects you even though you didn't mean to click on it. We're working to end that. We've developed technology to determine when clicks on mobile ads are accidental. Instead of sending you off to an advertiser page you didn't mean to visit, we let you continue enjoying your slideshow (and the advertiser doesn't get charged).
Bad sites and apps
In 2015, we stopped showing ads on more than 25,000 mobile apps because the developers didn't follow our policies. More than two-thirds of these violations were for practices like mobile ads placed very close to buttons, causing someone to accidentally click the ad. There are also some sites and apps that we choose not to work with because they don't follow our policies. We also reject applications from sites and mobile apps that want to show Google ads but don't follow our policies. In 2015 alone, we rejected more than 1.4 million applications.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix sticks to promise, begins blocking VPN users in Australia

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2016 10:45

Netflix sticks to promise, begins blocking VPN users in Australia Last week, Netflix announced it would begin blocking subscribers who were accessing their streaming catalogs using proxies or VPNs.

This weekend, an Australian-based VPN called uFlix says that Netflix has begun blocking some of its users, leaving subscribers with the simple message on their screen: "You seem to be using an unblocker or proxy. Please turn off any of these services and try again."

Netflix's tactics do not appear to be too complicated, with the streaming giant identifying and then blocking IP addresses associated with VPNs or proxies. The VPNs can quickly and effectively get around the blocks by changing their servers, which will lead to an extended cat and mouse game between subscribers and the company.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft updates Office app for iOS to support 3D Touch gestures

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Jan 2016 10:19

Microsoft updates Office app for iOS to support 3D Touch gestures Microsoft has updated its Office suite app for iOS, adding support for 3D Touch gestures and the Apple Pencil.

You can use the gestures to toggle 'Quick Actions,' and will let the different apps (Word, Excel, etc) to open up recent documents on launch, for example.

Additionally, there is a new "Draw" tab within the suite. You can use the Apple Pencil to write, draw or annotate text if you have an iPad Pro, or you can use your finger for any iOS device.

Finally, if you are running iOS 9, the apps are integrated into Spotlight so you can search for specific docs and have them show up in the universal search.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft announces a new, higher tier for Surface Books and Surface Pro 4s

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2016 11:34

Microsoft announces a new, higher tier for Surface Books and Surface Pro 4s If you have Bill Gates money, you can now get a new top-tier version of the Surface Book and Surface Pro 4.

The two new models of the popular devices feature 6th-generation Intel Core i7 processors, 16GB RAM and 1TB SSD storage.

Microsoft says the Surface Book is available online only for $3,200 while the Surface Pro 4 will be available in retail stores and online for $2,700.

For more specs for the devices, please read our previous reviews here: Microsoft surprises with new, gorgeous Surface Book laptop




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft delays Windows 10 Mobile rollout until next month

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 22 Jan 2016 10:36

Microsoft delays Windows 10 Mobile rollout until next month Microsoft has confirmed that its Windows 10 Mobile rollout for WP8 devices has been delayed until next month.

The rollout had initially been planned for December and the software giant then delayed it to January. In addition, the sources claim the new monthly service updates for the Lumia 950 and 950 XL have also been delayed.

It is clear that Microsoft needs this rollout to go perfect and is in no rush, either. Regardless, the sources say to expect the rollout to begin in mid-February.

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AfterDawn: News

Forget it, Verizon is not bringing unlimited data back

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 22 Jan 2016 5:37

Forget it, Verizon is not bringing unlimited data back Verizon published fourth quarter earning earlier this week stating "a strong, balanced" quarter. On the whole the company's wireless business is doing "fine" with a steady 4.6 percent yearly increase in revenue. And nothing going to change it, as long as the company keeps the status quo?

Many customers would disagree after Verizon gave up offering unlimited data plans five years ago. However, unlike within AT&T, Verizon doesn't see any reason to change the fact, at least as long as the business remains profitable.

Chief Financial Officer Fran Shammo reiterated according to CNET that unlimited data is not coming back. "At this point, we are not going to entertain unlimited," Shammo said.

According to Shammo, Verizon is not looking to counter rivals. Instead the company is focusing on their own strategy which seems to be buying off customers from the rivals and charging for activation.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple got paid $1 billion by Google to keep Google search as default

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2016 11:52

Apple got paid $1 billion by Google to keep Google search as default Thanks to transcripts from the court proceedings from Oracle's copyright lawsuit against Google, we have some incredible figures about Google's Android dealings.

The search engine giant paid Apple $1 billion in 2014 to keep Google's search as the default on iPhones, and Apple made the money through a revenue sharing deal for a percentage of all revenue generated through the Apple devices. At one point, the revenue share was 34 percent, according to Oracle, showing the major lengths Google is going to to keep themselves front and center on iOS.

Oracle sued Google in 2010 claiming the search giant used its Java software without compensating Oracle. The company is seeking in excess of $1 billion to cover all devices created with Android for the last 5 years.

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AfterDawn: News

Dish Network could face up to $24 billion in fines over marketing calls

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2016 10:50

Dish Network could face up to $24 billion in fines over marketing calls The U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and four states are seeking $24 billion in fines from satellite TV giant Dish Network over illegal marketing calls over the last decade.

The trial starts today, and U.S. District Judge Sue Myerscough will hear the case without a jury. The judge had already determined that Dish made 55 million illegal calls, and laws protecting consumers allow for damages up to $16,000 per violation.

As of writing, the company has a market valuation of $24 billion so a complete judgement against them would decimate the company.

Dish said they have improved compliance significantly and that most of the illegal calls were made as long as ten years ago. "Dish has long taken our compliance to the telemarketing laws seriously, has and will continue to maintain rigorous telemarketing compliance policies and procedures, and has topped multiple independent customer service surveys along the way," the company said in a statement.

Despite being on the Federal Do Not Call Registry, millions of U.S. consumers received robo-calls and telemarketing calls from Dish or from companies that Dish paid to make the calls. Dish already paid a $5.99 million fine to 46 states in 2009 over the same claims. California, Illinois, North Carolina and Ohio did not settle and their suits have finally gone to trial.

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AfterDawn: News

Foxconn offers to buy struggling tech co. Sharp

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2016 10:32

Foxconn offers to buy struggling tech co. Sharp Taiwanese manufacturing giant Foxconn has offered to purchase struggling electronics maker Sharp for ¥625 billion ($5.3 billion), handily outbidding a rival investment fund.

Sharp had previously received an offer from the Japanese government-backed Innovation Network Corp of Japan for about half of the current offer from Foxconn, but there may be other provisions we don't know about yet.

In addition, there are concerns about letting Sharp go under foreign control, and INCJ already owns most of Japan Display, a rival display maker.

"Japan's technology is leading the rest of the world and we would like to help make it even more competitive," industry minister Motoo Hayashi said earlier this week in promoting the INCJ deal.

Other industry watchers beleive that Foxconn's offer is so large that Sharp cannot say no. The company owes ¥510 billion to debtors this year, alone, and even more moving forward. Foxconn is willing to face the debt.

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AfterDawn: News

Apps: Google Play saw many more downloads but Apple made all the money

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Jan 2016 9:45

Apps: Google Play saw many more downloads but Apple made all the money According to App Annie, the Google Play Store saw 100 percent more downloads than Apple's App Store, but Apple made 75 percent more in revenues in 2015.

From those figures, two things are clear. The Google Play Store is much larger than the Apple App Store and Android has a lot more users. iOS developers are likely not complaining, however, given the gap in revenue.

Additionally, Google strong growth came from emerging markets, namely Brazil, India, Indonesia, Turkey, and Mexico, where Android continues to proliferate.

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AfterDawn: News

Google promises new algorithm will make Chrome run faster

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2016 11:03

Google promises new algorithm will make Chrome run faster Google says their latest algorithm will significantly increase Chrome's speed, with the ability to compress up to 26 percent more than the existing compression engine.

Brotli, as the new engine is called - will replace the existing Zopfli.

Google web performance engineer Ilya Grigorik says you can expect to see the speed jump in time for the next version of Chrome, which is always just a few weeks away.

Brotli "will help mobile Chrome users experience lower data transfer fees and reduced battery use." Google also noted that Firefox will eventually get access to the compression algorithm, as well.

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AfterDawn: News

Spotify acquires two startup apps to beef up music discovery software

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2016 10:47

Spotify acquires two startup apps to beef up music discovery software Spotify has acquired Soundwave and Cord Project this week, two apps it hopes will help make it easier to discover music and then share it with friends.

Soundwave, which has been downloaded more than 1.5 million times, allowed users to browse "communities based on genre, mood or artist to discover new music and meet fellow music lovers!" The company was backed by tech billionaire Marc Cuban and was very highly rated.

Cord project "is an incredibly simple, incredibly fast voice messaging that lets you chat with one friend or shout to a whole group of friends," suggesting that Spotify is looking to improve messaging capabilities for its mobile app.

Spotify has over 20 million paying subscribers and has been fighting to differentiate itself from other streaming apps from much larger rivals such as Apple and Google.

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AfterDawn: News

Hermès bands for Apple Watch now available online

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2016 10:27

Hermès bands for Apple Watch now available online First launched in October in Apple and Hermès retail stores only, the high-end leather bands built for the Apple Watch will be available online starting on Friday.

All three of the bands will be available online, starting at $1100 for the "Single Tour" band available in Noir or Fauve in 42mm or Capucine in 38mm. The next step up is the "Double Tour," starting at $1,250 and available in Etain, Fauve, Capucine and Bleu Jean.

If you want to go all-out, you can get the "Cuff" band starting at $1,500 and available in brown.

Furthermore, you can get a stainless steel Apple Watch with Hermès branding on the back, and a few special watch faces pre-installed.

"Uncompromising craftsmanship. Pioneering innovation. Groundbreaking functionality. Apple Watch Hermès is the culmination of a partnership based on parallel thinking, singular vision and mutual regard. It is a unique timepiece designed with both utility and beauty in mind. With leather straps handmade by Hermès artisans in France and an Hermès watch face reinterpreted by Apple designers in California, Apple Watch Hermès is a product of elegant, artful simplicity -- the ultimate tool for modern life," read the original press statement for the partnership.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to recall some power cables for Surface Pro tablets

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Jan 2016 10:13

Microsoft to recall some power cables for Surface Pro tablets Microsoft has announced it will do free exchanges for power cords on its older Surface Pro tablets due to minor overheating concerns.

"As a result of damage caused by AC power cords being wound too tightly, twisted or pinched over an extended period of time, a very small proportion of Surface Pro customers have reported issues with their AC power cord. We will be releasing details of how customers can obtain a free replacement cable shortly," a Microsoft spokesperson noted.

The program is good for Surface Pro, Surface Pro 2 and Surface Pro 3 models sold before July 2015 for most of the globe but only for those models sold before March 2015 in the U.S., suggesting the company knew about the issue for some time.

More information about the recall will be available "shortly."

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix reports record international subscriber growth

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2016 11:04

Netflix reports record international subscriber growth Just days after announcing an expansion to 130 new countries around the world, Netflix reported record international subscriber growth.

The company announced its Q4 earnings today, bringing in $1.823 billion in revenue and $43 million in profit.

Netflix added 5.59 million new subscribers for the quarter, with 4.04 million coming from international markets. It appears that the U.S. has been saturated, as the company added just 1.56 million in the States. Notably, Netflix says it will add 6 million new international subscribers this quarter, well above estimates.

The streaming giant recently announced it will spend $6 billion this year in content, a figure that is almost as large as their annual revenue but is expected to lead to more subscribers.

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AfterDawn: News

Former Sony Online boss opens his own studio, first game already in development

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2016 10:20

Former Sony Online boss opens his own studio, first game already in development John Smedley, the former chief of Sony Online Entertainment, has co-founded his own studio.

Pixelmage Games is already working on its first title, 'Hero's Song,' an RPG that 'revolves around a system of gods that shape the world' with the ultimate goal of becoming a god yourself.

The title will have a solo campaign and multiplayer online, as well.

To date, the company has raised $1 million from investors and it hopes for $800,000 from Kickstarter. Pixelmage also employs Everquest co-creator Bill Trost and fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss.

If you are willing to gamble on the game, a $25 Kickstarter donation gets you the game by the end of the year.

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AfterDawn: News

Check out the trailer for the fan made Metal Gear Solid remake built with Unreal Engine 4

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2016 10:04

Check out the trailer for the fan made Metal Gear Solid remake built with Unreal Engine 4 Metal Gear Solid superfan Airam Hernandez has released the first trailer for his MGS remake built using the Unreal Engine 4.

The game came out for PlayStation in 1998 and was one of the most popular games for the console.

While there is little chance that Hernandez gets to finish his remake, what he shows off in the first trailer is quite impressive. We see some of the most iconic locations, as well as Solid Snake and Cyborg Ninja.

Check the trailer here:

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AfterDawn: News

Alphabet pays $215 million for 550,000 square-foot office center

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 19 Jan 2016 9:50

Alphabet pays $215 million for 550,000 square-foot office center Alphabet's YouTube division will be expanding significantly, acquiring the 554,000 square-foot Bayhill Office Center for $215 million.

The five-building campus is located in San Bruno and is adjacent to the company's existing headquarter buildings.

Bayhill is currently full and existing tenants include Oracle, Walmart Labs and a plethora of smaller companies. It is unclear if prices will go up for tenants, or whether YouTube wants a good portion of the space for themselves.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple Watch 2 to launch in October?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2016 10:56

Apple Watch 2 to launch in October? Over the past few months, there has been a debate as to whether Apple will launch a sequel to the Apple Watch a year after launching the original last April or move to a longer cycle.

According to recent reports, Apple is set to move the Watch into an 18-month update cycle, suggesting an October 2016 release.

The new reports directly contradict notes from Mark Gurman and others who had posted that Apple Watch 2 trial productions were starting in early February. The Apple Watch 2 will introduce better battery life, new casings and a refreshed operating system.

That being said, sources do claim an updated Apple Watch will be available this March or April, including new "design partnerships" and accessories and potentially a FaceTime camera.

It makes sense for Apple to keep a longer update cycle for the Apple Watch, which remains a niche product despite stronger sales than rival watches.

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to launch Lumia 650 on February 1st

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2016 10:13

Microsoft to launch Lumia 650 on February 1st If new reports are to be believed, then Microsoft's final Lumia phone will launch on February 1st.

The Lumia 650 is ready, and we will have official details on February 1st, say the sources, although it remains unclear when the phone will actually be available for purchase.

Over the past few months, leaks have basically revealed the 650 in full, but the following specs are obviously subject to change:

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix to spend $6 billion on content in 2016

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2016 10:03

Netflix to spend $6 billion on content in 2016 Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos has confirmed that the streaming giant will throw down an obscene amount of money on content in 2016.

"Is there too much TV?" Sarandos asked. "We don't think there's too much TV. And if there is too much TV, someone else is going to have to slow down, because we have big plans for 2016 and beyond."

For the year, the company will have 600 hours of original programming, with the company spending $6 billion on content. This will include original shows and syndicated programming. "We are running a global network," Sarandos noted, "one that is not easily comparable either in business or cultural terms ... We're not courting advertisers because we're not targeting a single demographic."

At the same time, Netflix let fans know that the company's most popular show, 'Orange is the New Black,' will be back for its next season on June 17th.

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AfterDawn: News

WhatsApp likely to cross billion user mark by end of month, drops $1 price

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 18 Jan 2016 9:45

WhatsApp likely to cross billion user mark by end of month, drops $1 price WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum has announced today that the popular app now has 990 million users, suggesting it will hit the billion user milestone by the end of the month.

"On the one hand, this is a huge number,"
Koum noted. "On the other hand, it's a little embarrassing. We're about 10 million short," he added in jest.

With near one billion users, the next step is, of course, making the service profitable for its parent Facebook. The app used to cost $1 per year (a silly number for such extensive features), and Koum actually announced that the company is dropping that nominal cost, making the app free, forever.

"We've done really well in the consumer space, but there is whole other aspect of communication as you go through your day: You want to communicate with businesses," he says. "We've taken SMS technology for consumers and improved it. Now, we want to do the same with commercial messaging." Over the coming months, WhatsApp will be testing out ways to bring in revenue, likely starting with its large business user base. For example, you can message your buddies to go out to dinner and then message a restaurant to make a reservation, where they can respond back quickly.

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AfterDawn: News

iTunes Radio will no longer be free as of January 28th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jan 2016 1:05

iTunes Radio will no longer be free as of January 28th Apple has confirmed that its popular ad-supported iTunes Radio (Apple Music Radio) service will no longer be free as of January 28th.

Moving forward you will have to pay $9.99 a month for Apple Music to have unlimited access to iTunes Radio. The continiously running Beats 1 radio station will remain free, however.

The company says only that "Beats 1 will be the premier free broadcast so you'll continue to get all the best music and culture there with world-class DJs like Zane Lowe and specialty programming from artists like Dr. Dre, Drake, Pharrell Williams, and more."

iTunes Radio launched in 2013 to rival Pandora and has been part of iOS ever since.

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AfterDawn: News

Lyft drops price in 33 cities as trips decline over winter

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jan 2016 12:26

Lyft drops price in 33 cities as trips decline over winter Following in the footsteps of Uber, ride-hailing app Lyft has dropped the price of fares in 33 cities to combat the slower trip traffic in the winter months.

Uber announced last week that it was dropping its fares by 10 percent in 100 cities.

"At Lyft we want to remain the most affordable option for passengers,"
a spokesperson added. "We also know that in January many people make resolutions to save money. So starting today, we are lowering prices in 33 markets to get people back on the road at a lower cost and help ensure our drivers are in high demand."

A few of the major metros to see reduced prices are Denver, LA, DC, San Francisco, Detroit and San Jose. Chicago and New York are notably absent from the list, as demand is always high there.

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AfterDawn: News

The Google X lab is now just 'X,' focused on top projects

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 17 Jan 2016 12:09

The Google X lab is now just 'X,' focused on top projects Google's experimental lab, Google X, will now be known just as X as the division tries to turn its experiments into profitable businesses.

Following the company's reorganization as Alphabet, Google promised investors that X and other investments outside of the core businesses would be refocused and this move will satisfy that promise. X is now Alphabet's 'incubator,' taking some of the more ambitious experiments, focusing on them, and then 'graduating' them to profitable standalone operations.

The criteria for deciding whether the projects live or die has also been refocused, with a group dubbed 'The Foundry' running the projects through the ringer.

A few of the projects that are being incubated within X are Project Titan, Project Wing and Project Loon. Titan is the company's robotics project, Wing is the drone delivery program and Loon is the Internet-supplying balloon project.

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AfterDawn: News

Supreme Court will hear Microsoft's appeal of class action suit over scratched Xbox discs

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 16 Jan 2016 11:11

Supreme Court will hear Microsoft's appeal of class action suit over scratched Xbox discs The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear Microsoft's appeal over a class action suit that alleged that the Xbox 360 hardware had a defect that led to game discs being scratched and ruined.

In the suit, Xbox 360 owners claimed that the optical disc drive could not withstand even minor vibrations, leading the games to spin "out of control" and scratch during normal gameplay, eventually making the games unplayable.

Microsoft had refuted the claim, noting that only 0.4 percent of Xbox owners ever reported disc scratching and that those owners misused the console.

A 2012 ruling dismissed the class action claims, but a 2015 appeal reversed the original dismissal.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple's slowing sales hurting suppliers

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 Jan 2016 2:53

Apple's slowing sales hurting suppliers Apple's rise to the top and success after it has been unparalleled. But as the saying, or the song, goes "what goes up must come down". And according to some the downward curve might be in the horizon for Apple.

The Cupertino giant is such a massive company that sales slowing down affects major manufacturers, suppliers of iPhone and iPad parts. According to Wall Street Journal, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) is warning about lowering first half revenue due to decrease in demand.

Also among companies suffering from lowering demand are camera manufacturer Largan Precision and casing manufacturer Catcher Technologies.

It's not entirely clear from what portion of revenue this decline comes from. But the companies agree that smartphone demand is the reason. All of the companies have been providing parts for iPhones.

TSMC has also lost a major deal with Qualcomm as Samsung will be manufacturing Snapdragon 820 that will be featured on most of 2016's highend smartphones. Apple's A9 chips are manufactured by both TSMC and Samsung.

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AfterDawn: News

Desktop YouTube gets Picture in Picture for non-stop music

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 16 Jan 2016 1:56

Desktop YouTube gets Picture in Picture for non-stop music While YouTube seems to be the perfect website for viewing videos that might not be entirely the case. There are some features that people have been wanting for a long time, and some of those are already found on other YouTube applications.

One these features is the Picture in Picture or PiP that lets you browse and search YouTube while continuing to play the video in a smaller window. This is especially useful when you are listening to music using YouTube and don't want to hassle with multiple tabs and don't want the music to pause.

This feature is already found on the mobile YouTube and now you can get it on your desktop YouTube experience with the new Chrome extension. It is currently on Beta and can be downloaded here.




AfterDawn: News

Report: Amazon Prime now used by 38 percent of American households

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2016 10:49

Report: Amazon Prime now used by 38 percent of American households According to a new report by IBD, Amazon Prime is now being used by 38 percent of American households, an incredible number if true.

Amazon Prime, which costs $99 for most people, allows users to order millions of products with free 2-day shipping, allows users to stream millions of songs and also includes a large catalog of films and TV shows to stream.

Another report recently noted that Amazon Prime customers are higher earners than the average American (and the average Target and Walmart buyers) with an average household income of $69,300. That number is 25 percent higher than Walmart shoppers, and 4 percent higher than Target buyers.

If the report is to be believed, that would suggest that Amazon Prime is now being used in over 47 million households, with Amazon seeing growth rates in the double digits every year.

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AfterDawn: News

Al Jazeera America cable channel shuts down, will move to digital

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2016 10:41

Al Jazeera America cable channel shuts down, will move to digital Al Jazeera America, the cable channel launched in 2013 to rival mainstream media like CNN and Fox News, has shut down following years of no viewership.

The channel came to be after Al Jazeera purchased Al Gore's Current TV for $500 million. When the channel officially goes dark in April, Al Jazeera says it will "expand its digital presence in the United States." The expansion "would bring new global content into America."

At its peak, the channel had just 30,000 viewers, a far cry from viewership levels required to be profitable. Rivals averaged anywhere from 300,000 to 1.5 million viewers during the same periods.

CEO Al Anstey, said the "decision by Al Jazeera America's board is driven by the fact that our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the U.S. media marketplace."

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix will shut down proxy users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2016 10:28

Netflix will shut down proxy users Netflix, which now offers their streaming service in 190 countries, says it will do its best to shut down proxy users who use the services to get around country-based content licensing restrictions.

Within the next few weeks, Netflix subscribers using proxies will be restricted to content from just their own countries, however, it is unclear how Netflix will pull off the feat.

VP of content delivery architecture David Fullagar did note the bigger problem is that Netflix's catalog is not equal across the world, but that Netflix is actively working on the complicated world of global licensing deals.

"We are making progress in licensing content across the world... but we have a ways to go before we can offer people the same films and TV series everywhere," he wrote. "For now, given the historic practice of licensing content by geographic territories, the TV shows and movies we offer differ, to varying degrees, by territory. In the meantime, we will continue to respect and enforce content licensing by geographic location."

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AfterDawn: News

MUBI expands streaming catalog to China

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2016 10:14

MUBI expands streaming catalog to China MUBI, the "Netflix for independent films," is expanding to China.

The streaming startup has announced a partnership with Hong Kong-based Huanxi Media, a company that finances films specifically for the Chinese market.

MUBI China, as the joint venture will be known, comes with a $40 million investment for 70 percent stake from Huanxi and an additional $10 million investment in the MUBI parent company.

Offering a "curated online cinema," MUBI is very interesting in that it offers 30 films at a time to stream via mobile or desktop and a new title is added daily as one falls off.

"What we are seeing in China is that they are at the very, very beginning of VOD," says Efe Cakarel, the CEO and founder of MUBI. "The market is wide open." He adds that while Chinese companies like Tencent, Baidu, and Alibaba have focused on user-generated video platforms or ad-supported premium content, "no one has quite established a subscription-based platform, which we think is the only viable platform to show premium content and make the economics work."

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AfterDawn: News

Google drops price of Nexus 5X to start at $349

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 14 Jan 2016 10:05

Google drops price of Nexus 5X to start at $349 Google has announced today that the Nexus 5X will start at $349 moving forward, a $30 price drop for the newly launched device.

The smartphone is the smaller of the two Google flagships, the same way Apple has the 6s and 6s Plus, and the specs are still very solid, especially for the updated 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.

Check out the device here: Google Store




AfterDawn: News

Amazon ready to launch smaller, portable Echo in the next few weeks

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 13 Jan 2016 12:09

Amazon ready to launch smaller, portable Echo in the next few weeks Amazon's popular voice-activated personal assistant Echo is about to get smaller.

According to sources, Amazon will be releasing a smaller, portable model of the Echo in the next few weeks, under the codename "Fox."

The new portable will sell for cheaper than its larger brother, which sells for $180. The Echo can answer questions (similar to Siri and Cortana), can create your Amazon shopping lists, can control your music and can even plug into smart home networks to turn off connected lights, for example. It can also tell you the weather, traffic and give you restaurant recommendations through Yelp.

Echo has been a surprise hit for Amazon, which clearly launched it as an experiment to test out its voice command software, Alexa. After the company dropped the price, it started selling wildly and now has over 30,000 reviews, with a 4.5/5 star overall rating.

Most recently, Amazon set aside $100 million to integrate its Alexa software into other consumer devices, including a deal with Ford to have Alexa in new cars allowing for garage doors to be opened by voice command.

Source:
WSJ




AfterDawn: News

Lenovo: Google Play will be back in China this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2016 9:39

Lenovo: Google Play will be back in China this year According to Lenovo CEO Chen Xudong, Google will finally bring the Google Play store back to China.

Google has had very limited exposure in China for the last few years after the company refused to censor its services, but with over 1.3 billion people in the nation, it's clear that the company sees some missed opportunities.

In the last year, Google has made clear steps to try to get back int he good graces of the Chinese government. The company has taken a stake in China's most popular AI and voice recognition companies, Mobvoi, and Google's most recent flagship device is built by Chinese smartphone giant Huawei.

Android has also long been the top smartphone platform in the country, although the market is massively fragmented due to the lack of one centralized store.

There is no word on when the store will return to China (and whether or not it will be censored) but Xudong's word suggests a time frame within months.

Source:
9to5Google




AfterDawn: News

Google confirms I/O 2016 location and date

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 12 Jan 2016 9:24

Google confirms I/O 2016 location and date Google CEO Sundar Pichai has confirmed the location of this year's I/O event, as well as the date.

According to the executive, the event is headed back to its original location: the Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View.

For anyone who may be interested in attending, I/O will take place from May 18-20.

There was little other details given, but I/O tickets normally move quickly given Google's propensity to give away big ticket items to anyone who attends.

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix: It's cool, share your accounts

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2016 11:22

Netflix: It's cool, share your accounts Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has noted this week that consumers sharing their Netflix accounts was "a positive thing" for the company.

Hastings explained that those who share accounts with paying subscribers often go on to subscribe themselves in the future.

"We love people sharing Netflix whether they're two people on a couch or 10 people on a couch," Hastings said. "That's a positive thing, not a negative thing."

As an example, Hastings noted that kids that grow up sharing their parent's accounts will eventually subscribe once they have grown up or have their own income and would like the ability to view on multiple screens without worrying that family is already using the service.

"As kids move on in their life, they like to have control of their life, and as they have an income, we see them separately subscribe," Hastings added. "It really hasn't been a problem."

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AfterDawn: News

T-Mobile CEO John Legere writes open letter discussing net neutrality concerns of Binge On

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 11 Jan 2016 11:07

T-Mobile CEO John Legere writes open letter discussing net neutrality concerns of Binge On T-Mobile CEO John Legere has taken to the T-Mobile newsroom to ease concerns that the carrier's new Binge On program violated basic net neutrality.

The basis of Binge On is that any customer with Simple plans can watch video from a number of providers and the data used would not go against their monthly caps. Additionally, all video you stream will be throttled to 480p, thus effectively limiting the amount of data you use, as well. There have been quite a few concerns about which video does not go against the cap and whether providers can get an unfair advantage by signing up for Binge On.

Here is Legere's full letter to the public in an effort to address those concerns:

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AfterDawn: News

Analysts: Nintendo could launch NX console as early as October this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2016 10:20

Analysts: Nintendo could launch NX console as early as October this year Analysts in Japan have suggested that Nintendo will provide gamers with more information about its upcoming NX console this March ahead of an eventual launch in October.

It has been nearly a year since Nintendo hinted at the NX and we still have no idea what the console will bring to the table at this point.

Besides the first reveal in March, the Nomura Securities analysts claim that Nintendo will give a full reveal in June, almost undoubtedly during E3.

For now, there remain many, many questions about the console, some of which we hope will be answered soon.

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AfterDawn: News

YouTube to also support HDR video, following recent Amazon and Netflix announcements

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2016 9:49

YouTube to also support HDR video, following recent Amazon and Netflix announcements This week, during CES, Google announced that YouTube will support HDR video, following in the footsteps of Amazon and Netflix.

Robert Kyncl, YouTube's Chief Business Officer, made the announcement while announcing a partnership with GoPro and its new 360-degree video.

HDR is the new fad in TV and video technology, promising improved video through expanded color palettes and contrast ratios. HDR picture quality, in theory, produces much richer colors and more realistic and natural images.

Of course, to be able to view the content you will need an HDR TV, but luckily, nearly every big manufacturer announced one this year at CES.

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AfterDawn: News

The massive NYC subway system will have Wi-Fi by the end of the year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 10 Jan 2016 9:08

The massive NYC subway system will have Wi-Fi by the end of the year New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) have announced a massive technology overhaul for the world's biggest subway system, including Wi-Fi connectivity across all 278 stations.

Additionally, the MTA will add USB charging stations to subway cars and buses and MetroCard readers will eventually accept mobile payments, as well.

Cell service will be available by the end of 2017, so you never have to worry about missing a call when you are headed to work or home.

"The MTA is absolutely vital to the daily functioning of New York City, but for too long it has failed to meet the region's growing size and strength," Cuomo said. "This is about doing more than just repair and maintain -- this is thinking bigger and better and building the 21st century transit system New Yorkers deserve. We are modernizing the MTA like never before and improving it for years to come."

Source:
Capital NY




AfterDawn: News

Apple Music surpasses 10 million subscribers?

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 10 Jan 2016 5:10

Apple Music surpasses 10 million subscribers? Apple Music's launch was far from the perfection we're used to seeing from Cupertino. Quickly Apple racked millions of users and by August 11 million users were trying out the service. But how many of these trials would never graduate to paid subscriptions?

Well, after the first batch of three month free trials, Apple's Tim Cook told that they've reached 6.5 million paying customers. Now according to unofficial sources the Apple Music has surpassed 10 million milestone.

Apple has yet to comment on the figures. The service seems to be racking more paying customers at a pace of a million a month. However, there's still a long way to catch up with industry-leading Spotify. Spotify has 20 million paying customers and a total of 75 million active listeners.

If Apple keeps up with the pace maybe we'll see the services compete for the first place in late 2016. Or is that too much to ask from Apple?




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft building its own cellular data service for Windows 10 devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2016 12:36

Microsoft building its own cellular data service for Windows 10 devices Microsoft is building its own cellular data service for Windows 10 devices, if their own app release can be trusted.

Reads Microsoft's new "Cellular Data" app for Windows 10:

Are you looking for a reliable, convenient way to stay connected everywhere you go, even when WiFi isn't available? The Cellular data app allows you to connect to a trusted nationwide mobile data network using only your Microsoft account.

Connect with – and pay for – a mobile data plan on your Windows 10 device using only your Microsoft account information.

That means no fixed contract and no long term commitments to a mobile network operator. Now you can buy and use mobile data at your own convenience. This is the easiest way to get online using a trusted nationwide network. Purchase a plan via Windows Store anywhere network coverage is available. The Cellular data app can get you connected at any time with a secure, high-speed mobile connection. This app is designed to work solely with specific Windows 10 devices and requires a Microsoft SIM card. Service is available in some markets and offers are for domestic plans only – international roaming offers will be available soon.

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AfterDawn: News

'Candy Crush' becomes a trilogy

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2016 11:26

'Candy Crush' becomes a trilogy Candy Crush, the addictive mobile game still played by millions is now a trilogy.

Joining Candy Crush Saga and Candy Crush Soda Saga is 'Candy Crush Jelly Saga,' which builds on the same foundation as its two predecessors.

For fans of the series, however, there will be one minor change. To complete the level, you will have to spread jelly to every square on the field, rather than trying to get rid of it like in past games. Additionally, you will face off against the 'Jelly Queen' in a few levels which means fighting an AI opponent trying to do the same thing as you in turn-based combat.

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AfterDawn: News

Facebook Messenger now up to 800 monthly active users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2016 11:01

Facebook Messenger now up to 800 monthly active users Facebook has boasted an incredible figure for its Messenger instant messaging service: 800 million monthly active users.

"The Messenger team's mission is to make Messenger the best place to communicate with all the people and businesses in the world. I'm happy to report that we've made a good step in that direction, and towards the end of 2015, we crossed the milestone of 800 million people using Messenger each month. It's a good number, but we believe we have so much more opportunity ahead of us, and these are still the early days of Messenger," said Facebook in a recent post.

In 2015, the company spent a lot of money on improving Messenger, adding video calling, adding emojis, introducing Messenger for Business and other customization features. The company also got into the financial services world and began allowing users to send and receive money right through their chat.

At this rate, the service is likely to reach the billion mark in a matter of months, a major milestone for any service.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Over 220,000 people petition for Apple to keep the headphone jack for the iPhone 7

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2016 10:20

Over 220,000 people petition for Apple to keep the headphone jack for the iPhone 7 Over the past few weeks, there have been more and more reports concluding that Apple is set to get rid of the standard 3.5mm headphone jack from its upcoming iPhones.

By removing the port, it is expected that Apple can make the iPhone a tiny bit slimmer and, of course, they can boost their own bottom line as the new headphones will have to connect either wirelessly or via the proprietary Lightning port.

Apple fans are not happy about the rumored move (possibly because they already own expensive Beats headphones with a standard 3.5mm jack and have petitioned to stop Apple from dumping the connector.

The petition has 227,000 signers as of writing. That is a large figure given that the iPhone 7 is, at least, six months away from even being announced, but a tiny figure compared to the 100 million-plus iPhones the company is expected to sell in 2016.

If accurate, this would not be the first time Apple has double-dipped on its own customers. In 2012, the company got rid of its old proprietary 30-pin connector and replaced everything with the Lightning connector. Anybody who upgraded their phones and tablets then had to buy new charging cables and USB connectors.

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AfterDawn: News

Apple working on completely wireless Beats headphones

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 09 Jan 2016 10:00

Apple working on completely wireless Beats headphones According to multiple sources, Apple is working on completely wireless Beats headphones that will launch alongside the iPhone 7.

The headphones will not even have wires to connect the left and right buds and will, therefore, sit flush in your ears without ever tangling.

Motorola released the Moto Hint last year, which has a similar concept but includes only a single mono headphone.

Although everything is unconfirmed, the accessory is expected to include a built-in noise-cancelling microphone, allowing for phone calls and voice activation to Siri. Apple recently trademarked "AirPods" which gives a suggestion as to what the buds will be called.

For the time being there is no word on a suggested price, but these are expected to be the premium model of headphones Apple sells while they continue to include a free pair of EarPods with each phone.

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AfterDawn: News

PC game crackers admit Denuvo could end piracy in the future

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2016 10:57

PC game crackers admit Denuvo could end piracy in the future Infamous Chinese game cracking group 3DM has warned that pirating PC games may be impossible in the near future.

"Bird Sister" of 3DM said "according to current trends in the development of encryption technology, in two years time I'm afraid there will be no free games to play in the world," The reason for the end of piracy is Denuvo Anti-Temper technology that protects DRM and stops even the best of crackers from editing any game files.

In fact, the recently released FIFA 16 and Just Cause 3 are still not cracked due to Denuvo, months after their respective release dates.

Denuvo is certainly excited with their results as director of marketing and sales Thomas Goebls added that they have "achieved good crack-free windows on every title we've protected" and "Due to our recent success in the past two years, some publishers are even considering releasing console-only titles for the PC platform."

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AfterDawn: News

Samsung's new Ultra HD Blu-ray player available for pre-order at $399

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2016 10:29

Samsung's new Ultra HD Blu-ray player available for pre-order at $399 First shown off last year at IFA, Samsung's new Ultra HD Blu-ray player is available for pre-order at $399.

The UBD-K8500 goes on sale in late February but you can order it now directly from Samsung or Amazon.

Design-wise, the 4K Blu-ray player looks very familiar to Samsung Blu-ray player owners except that this hardware can download 4K streaming apps, play 4K and 3D Blu-rays, and playback MP3s, MP4s, MKVs and more.

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AfterDawn: News

Adam Sandler's first movie for Netflix sets records

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 08 Jan 2016 10:09

Adam Sandler's first movie for Netflix sets records In 2014, Adam Sandler signed a deal with Netflix to produce and star in four original movies that would premiere exclusively on the streaming service.

The first film, 'The Ridiculous Six,' appears to be a resounding success. In its first thirty days of release, the film has become the most watched movie in Netflix's history. Says Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos: "The Ridiculous Six, by way of example, in the first 30 days on Netflix it's been the most-watched movie in the history of Netflix. It's also enjoyed a spot at number one in every territory we operate in, and in many of them, it's still number one."

Sandler's film employs his usual gang including Terry Crews, Rob Schneider, David Spade and Jorge Garcia and is based in the Wild West.

While the film has been universally panned, and Netflix's figures don't include how many people actually watched the film all the way through, on the surface it seems that the deal has worked out for both.

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AfterDawn: News

Lenovo begins phasing out Motorola brand name, will keep 'Moto' however

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2016 9:55

Lenovo begins phasing out Motorola brand name, will keep 'Moto' however Lenovo has confirmed today that the name Motorola will soon be gone from their devices.

The Chinese giant purchased Motorola's mobile division in 2014 from Google and they have been using the Motorola name for their smartphones rather the less well-known Lenovo name (at least in the U.S.).

That is changing now although Lenovo says it will continue to use the nickname "Moto" as well as the winged "M" logo.

For example, new phones will sell as the 'Lenovo Moto E' rather than 'Motorola Moto E.'

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to end support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 next week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 07 Jan 2016 9:15

Microsoft to end support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 next week Microsoft has confirmed that it is indeed stopping support for Internet Explorer 8, 9 and 10 on January 12th, as previously announced.

Windows 7 and Windows Server 2008 users will receive a notification inviting them to use IE 11 or the new Edge browser that comes default with Windows 10. In addition, the notice will come with a cumulative patch to cover any existing security flaws in the browsers.

Microsoft notes that the end of life means no "more security updates, non-security updates, free or paid assisted support options, or online technical content updates."

If you upgrade, you won't have to worry about losing support for quite some time, as IE 11 and Edge have an end-of-life scheduled for 2020 at the very minimum.

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AfterDawn: News

CES: BlackBerry Priv confirmed for T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2016 11:58

CES: BlackBerry Priv confirmed for T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint BlackBerry CEO John Chen has confirmed that the new Android-powered Priv slider is on its way to T-Mobile, Verizon and Sprint.

The phone launched last year, exclusive to AT&T, but that exclusivity period has run out.

Chen did not give a time frame for the phone's respective release dates, but T-Mobile CEO John Legere said the phone will be available online and in stores for $700 unlocked on January 26th.

"Things are starting to work," noted Chen when asked about sales. "We're generating cash, and we expect that to continue." Chen previously hinted that the company could leave the hardware market completely if they could not hit 5 million sales for the Priv for the fiscal year.

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AfterDawn: News

Analysts: Oculus Rift sales likely very slow to start

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2016 11:26

Analysts: Oculus Rift sales likely very slow to start Now that the Oculus Rift is available for sale, industry analysts have piled with opinions on potential sales.

The majority of analysts believe sales in the first year will be in the low hundreds of thousands, which seems reasonable given the $599 price tag and the need for a mid-range computer and a high-end graphics card. A few analysts called for sales as high as one million.

Oculus founder Nate Mitchell confirmed the hardware is being sold at cost, so Facebook will not see any bottom line help (at least not in 2016).

Despite the slow start, analysts place the VR market with a projected value of $16 billion by 2020.

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AfterDawn: News

Oculus Rift now available for pre-order at $599

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2016 11:07

Oculus Rift now available for pre-order at $599 Oculus has announced the availability of the highly-anticipated Rift VR headset.

The headset sells for $599 and will begin shipping in 20 countries on March 28th. The device, which is being hailed as one of the most innovative experiences of the decade, will also include a headset (with mic and headphone), sensor and an Xbox One controller for your gaming needs.

Oculus is also including "Lucky's Tale" with each headset, the first VR platformer from developer Playful.

The company also introduced their new Oculus Remote, an 'input device we designed to make it simple and intuitive to navigate VR experiences.' The remote goes on sale later this year and Rift buyers get the first crack.

Of note, Oculus also released the necessary specs to be able to run the Rift, and they are on the higher end although you can likely build one for under $800:

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AfterDawn: News

Apple announces record holiday sales in the App Store

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 06 Jan 2016 10:41

Apple announces record holiday sales in the App Store Apple has announced today that customers spent $1.1 billion on apps and in-app purchases in the App Store for the two weeks ended January 3rd, a record for both traffic and sales.

New Year's Day was the "biggest day in App Store history with customers spending over $144 million."

"The App Store had a holiday season for the record books. We are excited that our customers downloaded and enjoyed so many incredible apps for iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple Watch and Apple TV, spending over $20 billion on the App Store last year alone,"
added Philip Schiller, Apple's senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing. "We're grateful to all the developers who have created the most innovative and exciting apps in the world for our customers. We can't wait for what's to come in 2016."

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix now available around the world

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 06 Jan 2016 1:34

Netflix now available around the world Netflix had today a press event at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in which they revealed major expansion in availability. Company CEO Reed Hastings announced that Netflix is now available around the world.

Hastings said that Netflix adds 130 new countries as of today and can be watched in 190 countries all over the world. The language selection is said to improve in the coming months and years but currently you have to rely on 15 languages available, including English, Spanish, French and Simplified (and Traditional) Chinese.

"Today you are witnessing the birth of a new global Internet TV network," said Reed Hastings.

In 2016, Netflix will released 31 different new or returning original series, over 20 movies and documentaries, 30 kids series, and range of stand-up specials.




AfterDawn: News

CES: Panasonic to release their first 4K Blu-ray player this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2016 11:42

CES: Panasonic to release their first 4K Blu-ray player this year  In keeping up with rivals, Panasonic has used CES to announce their first 4K Blu-ray player - set for release in 2016.

Panasonic has promised a U.S. release this year, following an extremely limited launch in Japan in November. In Japan, the player has a ridiculous price tag of $3300, but it is expected to sell for much less when it reaches our shores.

Sony and Warner Bros. have begun announcing 4K Blu-ray titles, discs which support both 4K and HDR, and will be released this year, as well.

Source:
Verge




AfterDawn: News

R.I.P. Yahoo Screen - you were, um, not great

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2016 11:24

R.I.P. Yahoo Screen - you were, um, not great Yahoo has shut down is video portal Yahoo Screen, two years after it was launched to tie together Yahoo's original and syndication programming.

The site was home to the last season of former NBC hit "Community," Sci-fi comedy "Other Space" and "Sin City Saints" as well as the home of the first live-streamed NFL broadcast from London and streaming concerts via a partnership with Live Nation. Screen also had channels in partnership with media giants like Viacom, who supplied clips from Comedy Central, for example.

Earlier this year, Yahoo took a massive $42 million writedown for its Screen division, with executives citing 'Community' specifically for not bringing in the ad money they expected it would. The company also struggled to make the content easily accessible on devices that consumers have become accustomed to using, such as consoles.

All of Yahoo Screen's 1000 hours of content have migrated to Yahoo's other sections.

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AfterDawn: News

Star Wars Battlefront is a huge hit

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2016 11:05

Star Wars Battlefront is a huge hit As if it was ever really a question, we now have proof of how big a hit Star Wars Battlefront really is.

EA's blockbuster has sold about 12 million copies since its release in late November, generating over $600 million in revenue.

Gaming industry analyst Michael Pachter reported on the figures in a client note and its hard to fight the figures given that Battlefront was the third best-selling video game of the holiday season on Amazon, behind only Fallout 4 and Call of Duty: Black Ops 3.

The game has certainly been buoyed by the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which has cruised to $1.5 billion in sales in just 3 weeks.

Battlefront is available for PS4, Xbox One and PC and can be found at a discount to its $60 MSRP.

Source:
GameRant




AfterDawn: News

Google makes Nexus 6P available in gold

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2016 10:44

Google makes Nexus 6P available in gold Google has announced a fourth color option for the popular and powerful new Nexus 6P flagship: gold.

Just like its brothers in Aluminium, Graphite, or Frost the "Matte Gold" model will sell for $499 (32GB model) or $549 (64GB model). Unfortunately if you have large storage needs, the 128GB model is not available yet.

The Nexus 6P runs on stock Android 6.0 Marshmallow, has a 5.7-inch AMOLED display, 3GB RAM, a Snapdragon 810 processor under the hood, a USB-C connector, the Nexus Imprint fingerprint sensor, a large 3450 mAh battery and easily the best camera on an Android device, ever.

Check it out here: Google Play




AfterDawn: News

CES: The Sony Walkman is back for 2016

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2016 10:31

CES: The Sony Walkman is back for 2016 Sony is back with a new Walkman music player for 2016: the newly announced Walkman A26.

The new device is a sequel to last year's A17, although the A26 is decidedly less high-end. The new device loses the touchscreen and has a stripped down UI (no more Android) although it can still handle hi-res audio formats like FLAC, AIFF, WAV, ALAC and standard MP3 and AAC.

Sony has also made the lineup more "colorful" adding grey, blue, red, purple, white and green.

Under the hood, Sony has left 32GB of internal storage (expandable to 128GB with microSD) and the company promises up to 30 hours of hi-res playback on a single charge.

Price and availability are currently unknown, but expect it to be cheaper than last year's touchscreen-touting A17.

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AfterDawn: News

CES: Sony 4K HDR TVs will let you buy and stream 4K movies from Sony Pictures

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2016 10:12

CES: Sony 4K HDR TVs will let you buy and stream 4K movies from Sony Pictures Alongside the announcement of a few new powerful 4K HDR TVs, Sony also announced that their 4K TVs will allow consumers to buy and stream Sony Pictures movies in 4K quality.

The TVs have a new built-in app called Ultra that will tap into Sony Picture's catalog of around 50 titles in 4K. The first films are not great and include clunkers like After Earth and Salt, but there are some titles worth seeing in 4K like Elysium and Fury.

Reportedly, the app is built for Android TV, but it seems like it will only work on Sony Android TV sets at launch.

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AfterDawn: News

Sony PlayStation 4 continues to sell well, global sales tap 36 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2016 10:01

Sony PlayStation 4 continues to sell well, global sales tap 36 million As of Monday, Sony has sold 35.9 million PlayStation 4 units, crushing its competition from Nintendo and Microsoft.

Notably, Sony says that figure is "sold through" and not just shipped, suggesting the console is not staying on retail shelves for long.

In addition, Sony says from November 22nd to January 2nd they sold 35 million PS4 games (digital and physical), a massive number even for the retail-heavy holiday season.

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AfterDawn: News

PS Now adds 40 more PS3 titles

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 05 Jan 2016 9:38

PS Now adds 40 more PS3 titles Sony has announced 40 more PlayStation 3 games are now available through the PS Now subscription service.

The service now has over 300 titles, over 100 of which are PlayStation exclusives.

Here is a full list of the new titles:

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AfterDawn: News

Microsoft says Windows 10 is now on over 200 million devices

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2016 11:39

Microsoft says Windows 10 is now on over 200 million devices In just a few months since its release, Microsoft's latest operating system is now powering over 200 million devices.

The software giant announced today that Windows 10 installations are growing rapidly and at a far faster pace than previous iterations of Windows although that is not too hard to explain given that Windows 10 is free for most consumers and Microsoft pushes the OS to your computer even if you don't want it.

Regardless, the figures are impressive. Adds Microsoft: "In fact, Windows 10 continues to be on the fastest growth trajectory of any version of Windows – ever – outpacing Windows 7 by nearly 140% and Windows 8 by nearly 400%.

We are also seeing accelerating and unprecedented demand for Windows 10 among enterprise and education customers. As of today, more than 76% of our enterprise customers are in active pilots of Windows 10, and we now have over 22 million devices running Windows 10 across enterprise and education customers."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

The PlayStation Network was down for 12 hours today

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2016 11:13

The PlayStation Network was down for 12 hours today After successfully navigating the holidays with only minor blips, the PlayStation Network had a major outage today, with most users experiencing downtime of over 12 hours.

Sony did not offer any real response as to what happened, and a few groups were quick to take credit for the downtime but none seems credible.

For most of the day, Sony's site had the brief message: "We are currently under maintenance and you may be experiencing issues. We appreciate your patience." The maintenance was certainly not announced ahead of time (which is very unlike Sony), so the 'maintenance' was likely to fix whatever broke PSN.

Hopefully, we will know more as to what happened with an update from Sony later today or tomorrow.

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AfterDawn: News

Supercell announces a sequel to 'Clash of Clans'

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 04 Jan 2016 10:59

Supercell announces a sequel to 'Clash of Clans' Mobile superstudio Supercell has announced the follow-up to their blockbuster Clash of Clans game, and it's sure to make gamers happy.

The game, Clash Royale, will combine collectible card game aspects with real-time strategy game features. Think of it like Hearthstone meets League of Legends.

You collect cards for different characters and spells and upgrade and then you can use them to battle other gamers around the world, in real-time. Making it a "sequel" to Clash of Clans is the fact that it set in the CoC universe.

Just like Supercell's other hit games like Clash and Boom Beach, Clash Royale will be freemium, meaning free to download with the option to buy cards, characters, etc from within the app.

Check out a teaser trailer and a gameplay video here:

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AfterDawn: News

Activision Blizzard buys Major League Gaming for $46 million

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2016 10:13

Activision Blizzard buys Major League Gaming for $46 million Major League Gaming, on the verge of bankuptcy, has sold its assets to gaming giant Activision Blizzard.

In addition to the sale, the esports company has also removed CEO Sundance DiGiovanni from his role and replaced him with former CFO Greg Chisholm.

The move is somewhat of a surprise, given that the company raised $6 million just this year in new funding. Many investors will leave with nothing.

MLG had run esports tournaments in past years for notable titles like COD and StarCraft 2, but recently lost the Call of Duty World League to rival ESL.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Microsoft Xbox One Elite controller will be in low supply until at least March

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 03 Jan 2016 11:31

Microsoft Xbox One Elite controller will be in low supply until at least March Microsoft has confirmed that its popular luxury Elite controller will be in low supply until at least March thanks to heavier than expected demand.

Xbox head Phil Spencer noted in November that the company expected the controller to sell out for the holiday season but great reviews and popularity within the gaming community seems to have led to a supply shortage for the near future.

The new Elite wireless controller costs $150 and the controller has swappable components meaning you can switch the D-pad for a joystick, and more. Among the new features are four interchangeable paddles on the back side, Hair Trigger Locks for precise control in shooters and a textured rolling pad. The four paddles are customizable allowing you to remap as you choose. Microsoft also released an app to help gamers remap their controllers.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Spotify being sued again over unpaid royalties

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jan 2016 9:47

Spotify being sued again over unpaid royalties Cracker frontman David Lowery has filed a class action lawsuit against Spotify seeking, at least, $150 million in damages over unpaid royalties.

The artist claims that the streaming service "knowingly, willingly, and unlawfully reproduces and distributes copyrighted compositions without obtaining mechanical licenses."

In the complaint, it is alleged that Spotify has unlawfully distributed music to 75 million users but "failed to identify or locate the owners of those compositions for payment." It is pretty clear that Spotify knows this is true, as they have set aside $30 million for payments, likely making this lawsuit redundant.

"We are committed to paying songwriters and publishers every penny," adds Spotify global head of communications and public policy Jonathan Prince in a statement. "Unfortunately, especially in the United States, the data necessary to confirm the appropriate rightsholders is often missing, wrong, or incomplete. When rightsholders are not immediately clear, we set aside the royalties we owe until we are able to confirm their identities. We are working closely with the National Music Publishers Association to find the best way to correctly pay the royalties we have set aside and we are investing in the resources and technical expertise to build a comprehensive publishing administration system to solve this problem for good."

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Yikes: Jolla tells backers that not everyone will get a tablet

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jan 2016 9:31

Yikes: Jolla tells backers that not everyone will get a tablet Finnish startup Jolla, fresh off being saved from bankruptcy, had some bad news for backers of their Jolla Tablet project.

The company says not all backers will get a tablet, a shocking development given that it has already been delayed multiple times and that many backers paid $179 or more for the tablet.

Says Jolla: "During 2015 we also worked hard on the Jolla Tablet project, which was first introduced in November 2014. Our very talented team made a lot of progress in the project, and the first small batch of Jolla Tablets were shipped in the autumn to our Indiegogo contributors. The project altogether had some serious unexpected setbacks in the autumn, and we were forced to postpone the whole project schedule many times – these were communicated in several blog posts along the summer and autumn.

The serious financing challenge in November-December had unfortunately a bigger impact on this project than we could even anticipate. Now that our financial situation has improved and we are slowly starting to get back to the normal operations, we are actively planning the best way to finalize the project and to find a solution that fits to both all you dear Jolla Tablet contributors and to our future business plans, together with our investors.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

FCC: U.S. Internet connection speeds have at least tripled since 2011

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jan 2016 9:11

FCC: U.S. Internet connection speeds have at least tripled since 2011 The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has said this week that the average download speed for U.S. Internet connections has surged to 31 Mbps as of September 2014, up from 10 Mbps in March 2011.

Consumers have demanded faster speeds and more bandwidth as streaming services are now the norm and the size of downloadable files have increased over time. The FCC says video now accounts for 60 percent of all Internet traffic. Some reports have Netflix accounting for nearly 30 percent of all global traffic at peak hours.

Google also helped pushed the industry along after they began offering their 1 Gbps Fiber connection in nine cities. Other providers, like AT&T and Comcast, are testing out similar speeds with expansions planned for 2016.

Despite the huge boost in speeds, the U.S. was still ranked 25th out of 39 developed nations in 2013 for average speed. The tiny country of Luxembourg had the fastest average speed, at 47.32 Mbps.

Source:




AfterDawn: News

AT&T to drop contracts for good next week

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jan 2016 8:43

AT&T to drop contracts for good next week AT&T is preparing to drop contracts on January 8th, making it the latest carrier to move away from two-year contracts and subsidized phone purchases.

Just like with rival carriers, you will have to pay for phones completely upfront or with no-interest installment plans over one or two years.

In June, AT&T stopped offering smartphone contracts through its local dealers and retail partners, but the deals were still available online and if you asked for a contract extension in stores.



Source:
Engadget




AfterDawn: News

Report: Xbox One Slim to launch this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 02 Jan 2016 8:27

Report: Xbox One Slim to launch this year According to new reports, Microsoft is planning to release a digital-only "slim" Xbox One later in 2016.

If true, the new console will cost less than the current MSRP of the Xbox One, $350.

Microsoft blogger Brad Sams calls the reported console a "lightweight Xbox One," and expects it will launch in time for the holiday season.

To lose its weight and keep the price down, the new Xbox One will only allow for digital downloads and will not have a disc drive. Says the blogger: "I have heard from internal sources that the company is considering plans for a lightweight Xbox One that may only be for Windows store games and would compete with the Apple TV. But it's not clear if these plans have been scrapped."

The idea is certainly interesting, especially if the price drops significantly under that of the original Xbox One (let's say, $199) and if the new console includes some extra home entertainment features.

Read more...


AfterDawn: News

Windows 10 reaches 10% as 2015 comes to a close

Written by Matti Vähäkainu @ 02 Jan 2016 6:51

Windows 10 reaches 10% as 2015 comes to a close It has been five months since Windows 10 was released in late July and the pace at which it has been adopted surpassed that of its predecessor by quite a margin. New figures reveal that Windows 10 will soon overtake Windows 8.1.

Net Applications' figures show that Windows 10 has increased its marketshare another 1 percent since November. The pace has slightly slowed down but still hovers around one percent per month.

One in ten computers (with desktop OS) now run Windows 10 and it is expected that Windows 10 will overtake both Windows 8.1 and Windows XP within the first month in 2016. However, there's a long way still to beat the Windows 7's over 55 percent share.

All Windows operating systems still have a commanding 91.3 percent share as OS X is at 7 percents and Linux at 1.66%.




AfterDawn: News

Uber celebrates 1 billion trips just as the calendar turns

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jan 2016 10:32

Uber celebrates 1 billion trips just as the calendar turns Just as the calendar was set to turn to 2016, ride-hailing service Uber celebrated another massive milestone: 1 billion rides.

A couple in London took the 1 billionth trip in an Uber car, just another milestone as the company continues to grow exponentially across the globe.

"Their £5 London uberX ride together on Christmas Eve from London Fields, Hackney to Hoxton in Ara's blue Honda Insight Hybrid was the billionth Uber trip,"
the company wrote. "One billion. That's a whole lot of riders and drivers sharing the road, special moments, and celebrations together. Certainly far more than we ever imagined when we got started in San Francisco five and a half years ago."




AfterDawn: News

Final Fantasy IX headed to mobile, PC in 2016

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 01 Jan 2016 10:16

Final Fantasy IX headed to mobile, PC in 2016 One of the most popular RPGs of the early 2000s, Final Fantasy IX, is headed to PC and mobile devices next year.

Developer Square Enix said the game will be released first in Japan to be followed by Europe and North America, although the time frames are still unclear. It is also unclear if the game will be released for Android and iOS, although it is expected to launch for both.

Just like they have done with past ports, Square Enix will add auto-save and graphical improvements to FFIX.

Read more...



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