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FaviconGoogle ready to give up and copy iMessage 21 Apr 2018, 2:11 pm

Google ready to give up and copy iMessage

Google's mobile operating system is the most popular around the world, but it is not without faults, far from it. Many of you are familiar with the Android's fragmentation problem, also known as "where are the damn updates?!", but there are some other key issue too.

One of them is something that is perhaps not discussed enough, the messaging mess. For iPhone users both SMS and instant messages are as simple as 1, 2, 3 – you use iMessage and that's it.

On Android over the years you've been through dozens of applications that designed for different purposes by different teams for different kinds of people. Finally Google has decided to call it quits and just go with what Apple has determined to be the best practice.

The best practice, of course, is the way of the iMessage – and don't get me wrong there are no perfect solutions as will become evident. When using iMessage you'll send messages and pictures over the internet for blue dot contacts (with iOS device) and over the cellular network for green dot contacts (non-iOS users).

The same will apply to Google's new messaging app that is called Chat, according to a scoop by The Verge. Chat will be released somewhere between 6 and 12 months from now, and will be replacing Google's current messaging apps on all Android devices.

So this Chat messaging app will be just like iMessage. Well almost entirely, at least.

Android users will finally be able to send rich content easily to other Chat users, and even use it as a simple SMS app with the grandma using a dumb phone. As mentioned, there is some differences, though.

One huge difference is that Google's new app will use a new technology called Rich Communication Services, or RCS, that is build on top of, or at least to replace, the age old SMS platform by the same people at GSMA. The technology has even been marketed as SMS+.

While that in itself doesn't make the technology any worse than any other, there are actual shortcomings. One of the main ones is that it doesn't offer end-to-end encryption, which in today's world is a huge issue.

Not only iMessage but a billion user messaging app called WhatsApp offer encrypted and thus secure communication. It will be hard to convince Android users to give that up for convenience, or will it?

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FaviconiPhone 5S gets iOS12 update after all? 21 Apr 2018, 8:21 am

iPhone 5S gets iOS12 update after all?

For many years, the Autumn release of new iOS operating system update has also meant that at least one of the iPhone models will be cut off from receiving the latest OS version, officially killing the product's support.

As the inevitable iOS 12 update is approaching, the next in line to be retired would be iPhone 5S, released back in 2013.

However, it seems that there's going to be a change to the familiar pattern and none of the iPhone models would be cut off this time around. At least if believe this Reddit discussion where a redditor had found out that latest WebKit tests specifically state that iPhone 5S running on iOS 12 is part of the test suite.

If true, the change would make iPhone 5S the most updated iPhone model ever. It has gone through five major iOS updates and if iOS 12 really comes to it, it would be the phone's sixth major iOS version.

iPhone 5S was released in September, 2013. If the iOS 12 really supports iPhone 5S, the model's lifespan would be more than half a decade.

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FaviconLG to release first ever phone with dedicated Google Assistant button 20 Apr 2018, 2:27 pm

LG to release first ever phone with dedicated Google Assistant button

Perhaps nothing is a bigger focus point for technology giants these days than artificial intelligence. Companies try to integrate smart, and often learning, systems to almost all facets of modern technology.

Google has been at the forefront of this AI revolution for years, and one of the more important achievements is the Google Assistant. Google Assistant is of course an ever-learning voice assistant just like Apple's Siri, Amazon's Alexa, Microsoft's Cortana, or Samsung's Bixby.

You can talk to Google Assistant nowadays via Google Home devices but more importantly on hundreds of millions of Android phones. The company has been looking to integrate Assistant more seamlessly with smartphones, but traditionally you'd have to first wait for the features to be applied to their own Pixel line of smartphones.

However, according to CNET, the second largest Korean manufacturer, LG, is about to release the first ever phone, dubbed LG G7 ThinQ, to feature a Google Assistant button. Then again, Google's last year's Pixel 2 phones have a squeeze sensing feature that opens up the Assistant.

It's not the first time a button dedicated to a voice assistant has been implemented on a high-end smartphone. In fact, the largest of the Korean smartphone manufacturers, Samsung, had button just like it on last year's Galaxy S8 as well as on the new Galaxy S9.

Samsung has gotten a lot of heat from reviewers and public alike from the button, though. The button that opens up Samsung's own Bixby assistant has been widely considered one of the worst parts of the phones.

Although, large portion of the dislike comes from the fact that Bixby is not as full-fledged of a service as Google Assistant, not necessarily from the button itself.

Unfortunately another inconvenience of Samsung's button will, according to the report, be replicated here. The rumors say that you cannot change the functionality of the button, so you are stuck with Google Assistant.

Even if it might not be as big of a problem as with less practical Bixby, there's bound to be accidental presses. And even more so for people that prefer to use language not included in Assistant's supported languages they might want to switch to another type of program altogether.

According to CNET's information the button is located on the left side and the power button will be found on the right side of the phone. Most specs of G7 ThinQ are still to be revealed as the official unveiling on May 2 approaches. There have, however, been a few leaks, one of which detailed the device in the picture above. That seems to corroborate at least the positioning of the power button.

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FaviconNetflix beat growth estimates, Amazon boasts 100 million Prime members 19 Apr 2018, 9:32 am

Netflix beat growth estimates, Amazon boasts 100 million Prime members

Netflix revealed their quarterly results this week, and even most of the more positive analysts didn't guess how well the three month period has gone for the streaming giant. Adding around 7.4 million new subscribers it was a whole million ahead of Wall Street estimates.

This means that Netflix's global user base has grown to around 125 million even when the company has in the recent past increased some of its pricing. However, Netflix is definitely not without competition these days, and Jeff Bezos wants to makes this clear.

Following the Netflix reports, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos unexpectedly revealed some stats about Prime memberships. Previously the company has stayed quiet about the subscriber counts but Bezos decided to share with investors that Prime subscribers have surpassed 100 million.

One doesn't know if the sudden urge to reveal membership details came because of Netflix's recent announcements but it does put Amazon's prowess into perspective. Obviously Prime membership offers much more than the Grand Tour toting video streaming service, which is continuing to invest in original content.

While Amazon isn't all in on the video streaming quite like Netflix and its $8 billion investment in programming, it definitely has potential to make Netflix's future seem a bit more uncomfortable.

Although Prime Video is available nearly worldwide, the biggest problem Amazon has is that many of its Prime service are available only in a handful countries with a lot of market specific limitations while Netflix is available everywhere, with the huge exception of China of course.

Amazon is said to be planning expansion to Nordic countries as soon as later this year.

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FaviconOops! Russia tries to block Telegram - blocks thousands of innocent addresses (and Telegram still works) 18 Apr 2018, 7:14 am

Oops! Russia tries to block Telegram - blocks thousands of innocent addresses (and Telegram still works)

Russia has banned popular messaging app Telegram and tries to block it as well as it can. This week, Russia blocked tens of thousands of IP addresses in order to block its citizens' access to Telegram - and failed.

At first, Russia's communication authority Roskomnadzor blocked tens of thousands of IP addresses that belong to Amazon's cloud services. Later, Roskomnadzor blocked yet another bunch of IP addresses, thus time those that are used by Google's cloud services.

The result?

Now Russians cannot access to thousands of unrelated web services, online games and more. Even some Russian banks are on the block list.

And yes, Roskomnadzor own website was hosted on one of the blocked IP addresses, too, so it wont work either..

Things that @roscomnadzor successfully blocked:
✔Their own website
✔and their monitoring devices (Ревизор)
✔Google Cloud
✔Amazon AWS
✔Payment processors
✔Retail store chain
✔Gett ridesharing app
✔National social network OK

What @roscomnadzor didn't block:

— Manual (@CatVsHumanity) 18. huhtikuuta 2018

And as far as Telegram goes, it still seems to work for most users. Reuters reports that Russian online users have started using various VPN services in order to avoid the government's blocks.

Telegram started using Amazon's AWS to bypass Russian censorship. Now, if you were @roscomnadzor (highly unlikely because nobody's as dumb as these doorknobs), what would you do? Certainly not block 655352 IP addresses belonging to Amazon, right? That would be so stupid... oh

-- Manual (@CatVsHumanity) 16. huhtikuuta 2018

The war between Russia and Telegram, which originates from Russia, comes down to encryption. Russia wants Telegram to hand over the encryption keys so it can monitor online disucssions of its citizens. And as Telegram has refused to comply, Russian courts have deemed Telegram illegal in Russia.

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FaviconSamsung introduces smart phone without Internet connectivity 18 Apr 2018, 5:54 am

Samsung introduces smart phone without Internet connectivity

Samsung has released a weird, weird little phone. Company's latest smartphone doesn't have any form of Internet connectivity at all.

The phone, Samsung Galaxy J2 Pro simply cannot be connected to the Net. It has decent 2600mAh battery, 1.5GB RAM and 16GB internal storage and decent 8Mpix camera (and 2Mpix front camera).

Oddity is aimed at Samsung's home market, Korea. Company targets elderly people with the product, trying to make the phone easier to grasp than most smart phones. Samsung also suggests that the phone could be perfect for students who want to avoid interruptions through social media and instant messaging.

Phone retails for appx €150 / $185, which seems bit steep for a phone without any form of online capabilities. But there's a unique option there, too: Samsung promises to give full refund to those who purchase a more expensive Samsung phone after the school year in Korea ends.

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FaviconCable companies accepting defeat? Comcast bundling Netflix 15 Apr 2018, 1:31 pm

Cable companies accepting defeat? Comcast bundling Netflix

In the arena of television and media, cable companies and Netflix are rivalries of the most epic proportion, or so you'd think.

For many of the Netflix generation there aren't much to gain from old-fashioned cable television while cable companies want to protect their TV profits with expensive subscriptions.

Comcast, Spectrum (formerly known as Time Warner), and others are bending over backwards trying to keep their customers. Bundling TV with internet, and even home phone, is the go-to strategy of aforementioned companies.

Now, they've seemed to have accepted defeat and joined Netflix's side, or are at least flirting with the idea. Comcast, the largest of them all, has entered in a partnership with Netflix and is offering the streaming service in a new bundled service package.

Of course cable companies offer internet in addition to TV, and with that internet many choose to watch Netflix. In fact, on the X1 platform nearly half of the users use Netflix actively.

Netflix on the other hand is getting access to millions and millions of potential new customers with not much work on their side, so it seems like a good deal for both of them.

The companies have already been in a partnership via Comcast's X1 platform but now they are ready to expand. Comcast's statements says they are going to offer "new and innovative Xfinity packages, including a Netflix subscription."

At this point the companies don't reveal the details of upcoming package offers but Comcast has clarified that there will be offers for both existing and new customers.

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FaviconLove vinyl? Soon there's a new, better sounding HD version 13 Apr 2018, 1:08 pm

Love vinyl? Soon there's a new, better sounding HD version

In recent years, as physical music media has largely disappeared from use and from stores, there's been one exception that has seemed to cement itself with a surprisingly strong foothold.

While CDs have been crushed by streaming services, people still find use for old vinyl records. Perhaps it is the fact that they are the most tactile, physical media and the opposite of where the mainstream is now.

Austria based company Rebeat Innovation is trying to hit this niche with a new product it has collected $4.8 million in investments for. The technology, dubbed High Definition Vinyl, is said to be a better version of the age old method of listening to music.

The HD vinyl is said to provide a richer, more authentic sounds with higher peak volumes compared to traditional vinyl records, Pitchfork reports. It is unclear how the higher volume is managed but the company says the technology increases the amplitude up to 30 percent.

Rebeat patented the technology already a couple years ago but now with new interest from investors is managing to bring it to the masses. The basic idea is that recorded audio is transformed into a topographic map which in turn is carved into the record with a laser.

This technology optimizes the surface area which means that you can record up to 30 percent more music while retaining the size. The discs are playable with all normal vinyl players.

The company also doesn't forget to mention that there's no need for chemical treatment, unlike with old vinyls, so it is more environmentally friendly, which might interest people.

According to Rebeat the new HD vinyls will be hitting stores in 2019.

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FaviconReuters: Tesla starting the production of Model Y next year 12 Apr 2018, 5:09 pm

Reuters: Tesla starting the production of Model Y next year

Most of the largest car manufacturers of the world are developing both autonomous vehicles as well as full electric cars. Both of these are of course the wheelhouse of Tesla, lead by the generation's revolutionary numero uno.

Tesla has been an important player in both respects for years but only after the release of Model 3 (pictured) has it really become a truly dangerous to some of the biggest – and oldest – companies in the world.

However, an affordable electric car has been problematic, to say the least. Tesla is struggling with the production, and ramping it up seems to where it needs to be is posing troubles even Elon Musk didn't expect.

Perhaps Tesla is better at doing higher end cars, and should stick to them?

Well, according to Reuters, as soon as next year Tesla is going to start producing yet another model, and it's not the super car Roadster. The report says that Tesla is looking to start production of a new Model Y before the end of 2019.

Model Y is slated to be Tesla's fifth car model, after Roadster, Model S, Model X, and Model 3. It's a crossover, quite like the Model X, that has some functionality of a SUV but in a more compact body, likely based on Model 3.

The information Reuters got from the Tesla supplier suggest that Model Y production will start in November 2019. Musk has earlier suggested that the company is aiming to produce as many as a million Model Ys but hasn't revealed when this would happen.

It is highly unlikely that the number will come any time soon, as Tesla is currently not meeting the requirements to hit 500,000 cars from its Fremont, CA, based factory which produces the Model 3, as well as older X and S models.

Although the Model Y is based on the body of Model 3, the Model Y is expected to be more expensive, and one would imagine more complicated, to produce than Model 3 which also makes Musk's plan seem more like a pie in the sky.

Maybe Tesla is taking some new funding in to jumpstart Model Y production, as a huge investment in production facilities seems inevitable, but Musk has said no capital will be raised at least this year.

We'll just have to see how Musk is going to pull this one out.

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FaviconGmail getting a revamp with a new interface, features from Inbox 12 Apr 2018, 12:22 pm

Gmail getting a revamp with a new interface, features from Inbox

Google is planning to do a fairly meaningful user interface revamp to its beloved email service, Gmail, according to a leak by Android Authority. The renovation will include new features that have been used in Google's 2015 launched email service Inbox.

Among these updates Google will introduce smart answers and mute to Gmail, but perhaps more importantly user interface will get a refresh. Nothing major will change, as you might imagine, after all the companies don't want to fix what's not broken and thus no radical changes are usually expected.

Google will move Gmail's interface more towards its Material Design design philosophy most likely familiar from Android. This means turning some buttons into round bubbles and changing some colors, fonts and other minor elements.

Function-wise Gmail will retain everything you've gotten used to, and the bulk of options should be in their own usual places.

Leak doesn't have information when this update would be released but it might be as soon as Google I/O next month. Learn more about the leaked update at Android Authority.

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FaviconGoogle to buy Nokia's new airplane LTE technology? 11 Apr 2018, 9:43 am

Google to buy Nokia's new airplane LTE technology?

Google is in talks with Nokia to buy their air-to-ground LTE technology, Bloomberg reports. According to the information acquired by Bloomberg, Google's parent company Alphabet wants to expand its current ISP service to new markets.

Nokia has developed a technology called A2G (air-to-ground) which uses mobile broadband connections to connect airplanes to ground cell towers. This means that you don't have to bounce the connections off of satellites. It improves upon both speed and latency of the connection on planes that traditionally use satellites for internet connectivity.

Google has been looking into bringing fast internet connections to flights. Currently the market leader is Gogo Inflight Internet operated by Chicago-based Gogo.

The search giant has been looking for ways to connect people of the world in myriad of ways. One of these is of course Google Fiber, which has been expanding slowly but surely, but also cross-ISP service Profect Fi as well as more experimental connectivity advancements in Project Loon with high-altitude balloons.

The deal with Nokia, however, is yet to be finalized so nothing is official yet. We'll just have to wait and see, but considering the dire situation with airplane connections, one can hope for competition from Google.

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FaviconAfterDawn's official Android app updated 11 Apr 2018, 1:40 am

AfterDawn's official Android app updated

AfterDawn's own official Android app has been updated. The new version, v1.10, is now available.

After the initial launch of our own app, we've focused on fixing bugs that have crashed the app in certain cases. Thus, the new version is mostly a quick bugfix to known problems.

The app's stability rate has been bit over 99 percent, but we obviously aim to make the app as stable as possible.

Furthermore, the new version also improves both, search and "news by tag" listings, making them "infinite". Being infinite means that once you reach the bottom of the news list, the app will load more (older) content for the results, allowing you to search through our entire news database of 19 years.

The app is free, doesn't require any specific persmissions and includes all of our news ever released - ever since 1999.

Get it now:

AfterDawn app for Android

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FaviconGoogles upcoming Android TV device revealed in pictures and specs 10 Apr 2018, 1:09 pm

Googles upcoming Android TV device revealed in pictures and specs

Google only really sells one type of TV product at this moment, albeit in a couple variations. That is of course the immensely popular Chromecast streaming dongle we all know and love.

However, other manufacturers already offer perhaps a more Google-y TV experience than Chromecast already. That is due to the fact that Google has offered its Android TV platform for manufacturers since its inception alongside a now discontinued Nexus Player.

However, Google has been rumored to be releasing a new Android TV product, and that is exactly what we've got for you today. The US regulatory body for communications, FCC, has revealed a product by the name of 4K ATV Stick, manufactured by a Chinese company called Shenzhen SEI Robotics.

Now, it could be just another Android TV device from a no-name Chinese company, but we believe, as do the hawkeyed Ausdroid, that this is in fact the upcoming Google device.

There's a few hints in the pictures provided by the FCC. First and foremost you can't miss the huge Google logo on the front, but perhaps even more importantly the device is fitted with the Google Assistant out of the box.

The device is practically a copy of the Chromecast in terms of design. It's a dongle you hang from the TV's HDMI port and power with a USB cord that can be connected to either TV or wall socket with included adapter.

It comes with a remote control – something you don't have with Chromecast – that supports the aforementioned Google Assistant.

The pictures from the manual also reveal some of the specs. The system-on-chip is Amlogic S905X, which is a pretty common choice for this type of media device. It supports 4K video playback, as expected, and has 2 gigabytes of RAM and 8 GB storage.

That is about as much information as we could've hoped for at this point. For the official introduction we'll have to wait just under a month until Google I/O kicks off on May 8th.

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FaviconHackers remove Despacito from YouTube 10 Apr 2018, 8:08 am

Hackers remove Despacito from YouTube

Hackers that call themselves Prosox and Kuroi'shi have successfully hacked YouTube. They managed to remove the most successful music video of all time, Despacito.

Before removal, hackers managed to change the video's thumbnail images to gang members from the show Casa de Papel.

Despacito, a song by Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee was the first video ever to reach more than 5 billion views in YouTube.

Also some other music videos were removed by the same group - all of them were added to YouTube's VEVO music video service.

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FaviconApple Music is growing fast, hits another major milestone 5 Apr 2018, 1:14 pm

Apple Music is growing fast, hits another major milestone

Just as Spotify entered the stock market in an unusual direct listing that determined its market value at nearly $30 billion, Apple has announced that its 2015 launched service hit a new milestone.

Apple Music, the streaming service launched at Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference in July of 2015, has reached 40 million subscribers. The company revealed the new subscriber count via Twitter, although from an usual source.

The tweet was posted by Steven Huon, the content boss of Apple France, and not by say Tim Cook, or Eddy Cue, Apple's senior vice president of Internet Software and Services, who revealed just a month earlier at SXSW that Apple Music had 38 million subscribers.

I doesn't necessarily mean Apple managed to rack two million new subscribers within a month – although it has been closing in on Spotify's subscriber acquisition numbers after a shaky start – although it is possible. It could be that Cue has a little bit older data at SXSW.

The world's largest streaming music service, Spotify, started the year with 70 million subscribers. The Swedish service has added 5 million subscribers every three months or so, which would make Spotify's user count somewhere around 75 million at this moment.

This would mean that the growth numbers of Spotify and Apple over the past 6 months have been largely the same, around 10 million each. According to Statista, in September Spotify had 65 million and Apple 30 million subscribers.

Spotify has another 80 to 90 million listeners that are using the ad-supported free tier. According to Eddy Cue's SXSW interview, Apple's service has around 8 million trial users.

However, Apple is its strongest in the US where it could surpass Spotify's subscriber count by as soon as this summer, according to WSJ.

Well! #AppleMusic

-- Steven Huon (@StevenHuon) April 4, 2018

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