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Telegram App Adopts Disappear Messages Like Snapchat

July 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Telegram, which gained notoriety for its encrypted messaging service, just upped its privacy game for users.

The app now lets you send your friends “self-destructing” photos and videos that disappear after a few seconds, the company said in a recentblog post. How long it takes for the media to go away depends on how long you set the timer for.

If this update sounds all too familiar, that’s because it’s similar to Snapchat’s ephemeral pictures and video. Snapchat isn’t unfamiliar to having its features cloned by other apps, however. In the last year, Facebook has rolled out a similar feature to Instagram, WhatsApp and its the Facebook app.

While self-destructing messages are automatic on Snapchat, Telegram requires you to set a timer (anywhere from one second to a minute) telling it when to work its magic before you send the selected media, which can only be viewed on the devices used to send and receive it. The feature doesn’t work on its Web platform.

The app’s latest move, billed as a way to improve privacy, may come at a bad time, given some governments believe the app offers a safe haven for terrorists to spread extremist ideas and plot attacks. After troubles in Russia, Telegram last week found itself banned in Indonesia, where authorities said they detected “thousands of communication activities [on Telegram] leading to terrorist activities.”

 

Does Windows 10 Support Intel’s Atom Chip

July 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While most people expected that Windows 10 would last a while, it appears that some Intel users will not get feature updates.

ZDNet’s Ed Bott has written that systems built around Intel’s Clover Trail Atom processors are blocked from installing Windows 10 Version 1703, known as the Creators Update.

For those with the memory of goldfish, Intel’s Clover Trail Atom processors are generally low-cost, low-power machines released between 2012 and 2015. The devices that the chips are installed would end up broken or at the bottom of the wardrobe. However if you do try to install Windows 10 on the machine you will get the message that “the chip is no longer supported on this PC”.

Clover Trail machines were shipped with Windows 8 or 8.1. If their owners had kept Windows 8.1, they’d be eligible for the regular 5+5 support policy, with security updates ceasing on October 1, 2023. But the machines were deemed compatible with Windows 10 and hence eligible for the free upgrade that Microsoft offered to Windows 8.1 users for the first year of Windows 10’s release.

What is starting to look like happening is that rather than Windows 10 lasting on your machine forever, Vole is tying its software upgrades to hardware improvements. So your current computer might be able to run future versions of Windows 10, but Vole will not let you upgrade it until you get a better chip.

Each Windows 10 update will receive security fixes for just 18 months. Version 1607, the latest that these Clover Trail machines can install, will drop out of support in early 2018. After that date, they’ll cease to receive any patches at all.

The following Intel Clover Trail processors are currently not supported on Windows 10 Creators Update: Atom Z2760, Atom Z2520, Atom Z2560 and Atom Z2580.

However the issue is not because of an evil pact between Vole and the hardware industry. Clover Trail’s GPU was a non-Intel GPU designed by Imagination Technologies which has made driver development and support a nightmare.

Later Atom processors used Intel’s own GPU designs, a move that should simplify their ongoing support.

Courtesy-Fud

T-Mobile Continues Winning Streak, Adds 1.3M New Customers

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The nation’s third-largest mobile carrier said it added 1.3 million net new customers in the second quarter, aided largely by the 786,000 new phone customers on a post-paid plan, or who pay at the end of the month. The figure topped at least one Wall Street firm’s expectations.

The numbers underscore the fact that despite the rival carriers throwing themselves at you for your business, T-Mobile continues to win over new customers. The heightened pressure has resulted in more deals for consumers, including Sprint offering a year of service for free(excluding taxes and fees), and its prepaid arm Virgin Mobile going with an all-iPhone model with a rate of $1 for the first year of service. AT&T is throwing its DirecTV Now streaming service into its unlimited plan for $10 extra. Likewise, it was the first full quarter that Verizon offered its unlimited plan.

T-Mobile, conversely, has been relatively tame and quietly raised the price of its One Plus unlimited plan by $10, matching the price of Verizon’s $80 unlimited data plan.

Unlike in previous quarters, T-Mobile is the first of the big carriers to report results, so we won’t know for sure how well it fared relative to its competitors. The company has consistently outstripped its rivals in subscriber growth, leading the industry for 14 straight quarters.

One weak spot during the second quarter was T-Mobile’s prepaid business, which only saw 94,000 new customers, potentially because of the Virgin plan. T-Mobile sells prepaid service through its MetroPCS brand.

“MetroPCS continues to perform strongly, but we chose not to respond to irrational offers from some of our competitors during the second quarter,” T-Mobile said in its earnings report.

T-Mobile posted a second-quarter profit of $581 million, or 67 cents, compared with a year-ago profit of $225 million, or 25 cents a share. Revenue rose 10 percent to $10.2 billion.

Analysts, on average, estimated T-Mobile would earn 38 cents a share and post revenue of $9.8 billion, according to Yahoo Finance.

Amazon Jumps Into Social Media Shopping With Spark Launch

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc has rolled out a social feature called Spark that encourages members to showcase and purchase products on its platforms, the retail giant’s first clear move into the world of social media.

Spark, which is currently only available for Amazon’s premium paying Prime members, encourages users to share photos and videos, just like popular social media platforms Instagram and Pinterest. The new feature publicly launched on Tuesday for use on mobile devices that use Apple’s iOS operating system.

Spark users can tag products on their posts that are available on Amazon and anyone browsing the feeds can instantly find and purchase them on the platform. Users can also respond to posts with “smiles,” equivalent to Facebook’s “likes.”

“We created Spark to allow customers to discover – and shop – stories and ideas from a community that likes what they like,” said an Amazon spokeswoman.

“When customers first visit Spark, they select at least five interests they’d like to follow and we’ll create a feed of relevant content contributed by others. Customers shop their feed by tapping on product links or photos with the shopping bag icon.”

Amazon has also invited publishers including paid influencers and bloggers to post on Spark. Their posts are identified with a sponsored hashtag.

Intel’s Core X Appears To Be In High Demand

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel seems to have made a mistake over the demand for its eight- and 10-core Core X processors for the high-end desktop market.

Word on the street is that you can’t get your paws on eight- and 10-core Core X processors for love or money.

Part of the issue is that the Skylake-X-based Core X chips were based on the same chips Intel sells to its data-centre customers in the form of Xeon Scalable Processors. These punters are given more priority as data-centre customers generally dramatically outnumber the high-end desktop processor customers.

Another thought is that there is a suspicion that the chip’s launch was rushed and there was not enough time to build inventories of some of these Core X chips. As are result Intel did not get enough of the chips to distributors.

Like most rumors it brings up other questions – is Intel having difficulty making enough Core X chips?

Core X was being seen as an aggressive move by Intel, which validated the chips at much higher speeds out of the box than it had done with previous high-end desktop chips. But this has caused Intel a bit of a headache as it has to certify each of the 10 cores found on the 7900X runs at 4.3GHz. In the old days Intel had to deliver 22 percent less.

Intel claimed that the 14-nanometer+ technology used to build the 7900X is about 12% faster than the 14-nanometer technology used to build the 6950X. But to squeeze those sorts of numbers out of the 7900X must have had few design problems.

Then there is the matter of the price, which thanks to AMD has to be lower than it what it could previously got away with. Intel sells the 7900X for $999, while the older 6950X sold for around $1,700. This means that demand for the chip is higher/ All this means that Intel is being required to make more chips which are actually trickier to make.

All this plays into AMD’s hands as it is a lot easier to compete with Intel if it has nothing to sell.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Virtual Reality To Expensive For The Masses

July 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

The current generation of virtual reality is not dead, but it’s not exactly full of life, either. What once was a pulsating buzz has faded into the background of an industry, not because there are newer, shinier toys to play with, but simply because for all the newness and shine of VR, there has been little evidence that a significant audience exists for the experiences we can deliver at this time.

Earlier this week, Oculus instituted a temporary $200 price cut of the Rift, dropping the headset and its Touch controllers to a $400 bundle that comes packed with seven free games (including Lucky’s Tale, Medium, Toybox, and Robo Recall) and an Xbox One controller for good measure. That’s in addition to the $200 price cut Oculus rolled out in March for the headset and Touch combo, meaning the company has slashed the price by 50% in just four months.

On its own, this could actually be an encouraging sign, but taken in context of the rest of the news coming out of the VR sector, it’s more concerning than convincing. For one, Oculus looks to be bringing up the rear among the three major high-end VR options on the market, despite being a first mover and having the significant financial backing of Facebook. Through the first half of this year, tracking firm Superdata put the Rift’s installed base at just 383,000 units, compared to HTC Vive’s 667,000 units and PlayStation VR’s 1.8 million.

Even ignoring its relative sales position, Oculus is already in a tough spot in the enthusiast VR fight, technologically a step behind the more expensive Vive, but still more expensive (when considering the cost of a VR-capable PC) and less mass market than the PSVR. That’s a difficult problem for marketing anything, doubly so when what you’re selling is an experience that by its nature needs to be experienced to be fully understood, triply so when you’re drastically scaling back the number of demo units in retail locations where interested customers could get their first taste of VR.

I also question Oculus’ decision to shutter its in-house Story Studio, which was set up with Pixar veterans to show how VR could shift the medium of film as much as it could games. The studio’s Henry won an Emmy in 2016. Its follow-up, Dear Angelica, premiered at Sundance earlier this year to rave reviews and has been submitted for Emmy consideration at this year’s awards, which are still a few months away. In short, Story Studio was exactly the sort of investment in a potentially disruptive medium you would expect a company with long-term ambitions to keep. Instead, they cut it loose, with head of content Jason Rubin essentially saying it was time for external filmmakers to pick up the narrative VR ball (albeit with some $50 million in funding from Oculus).

There’s a bit of a theme there. Just a couple months before closing Story Studio, Rubin pointed out for GamesIndustry.biz at GDC that Facebook–and by extension, Oculus–isn’t a content creation company.

“Facebook’s not a media company,” Rubin said. “So there may be a day where Facebook says we’re going to head towards our core competency… That’s why I don’t have internal teams. I have exactly one group of three people besides Story Studios because that didn’t exist outside.”

Facebook didn’t pay $2 billion for Oculus in 2014 because it wanted to make games. It wanted VR to be a popular thing it could leverage for its social network. If HTC Vive or Sony or Microsoft can make VR work better than Oculus, that still gets VR where the social network wants it to be. That’s not ideal for Facebook, but after the Rift’s slow start, the hundreds of millions it already owes in court judgments, the hundreds of millions more it might be made to pay in the future, and seeing the face of the VR revolution leave under a cloud of controversy, one could understand if the company’s commitment to VR began to waver.

Speaking of the competition, I’m not terribly optimistic with what they’re bringing to the table. Sony’s PSVR is leading the pack, but I’m still skeptical whether the company’s interest in the hardware will be any longer lasting than its support for Vita, or Wonderbook, or PlayStation TV, or Move, or EyeToy, or stereoscopic 3D. Sony’s E3 conference featured some promising games in Polyarc’s Moss, two titles from Until Dawn developer Supermassive, and Skyrim VR, but little that stands out as a system-seller the way that Resident Evil 7, or even the prospect of last year’s Batman and Star Wars VR experiences might have. When asked at E3 about whether that lineup would boost PSVR adoption, Sony’s Jim Ryan was unsure.

“I think we are still really just learning about VR,” Ryan said. “When hopefully we meet in a year’s time, I will be able to give you a better answer to this question. It still won’t be a perfect answer, but I’ll know more.”

That’s not exactly an overwhelming vote of confidence from PlayStation’s chief marketer. I’m not sure I want to bet the future health of VR on Sony’s continued support for a market that is (for now, at least) peripheral to its core business.

The situation with HTC and the Vive underscores another issue when trying to establish an emerging field like VR. Vive launched at the cutting edge, but since then has rolled out object tracker peripherals and a wireless adaptor, respectively giving developers more options and addressing a key complaint around high-end VR. In both cases, they would be better served as being part of the core hardware package rather than optional add-ons for what is already the most expensive option on the market. For the next generation of VR, perhaps they’ll be standard.

But who will invest in the next generation of enthusiast VR–on either the consumer side or the manufacturer side–if this generation disappoints? How long does a VR generation need to be before someone who spent $800 on a Vive (not to mention the cost of a VR-capable PC) feels they got their money’s worth and would re-up for a successor? How many great games does it need to have? How many generations does an HTC or Facebook need to take a bath on before the business turns around and justifies the continued investment?

Then there’s Microsoft, which will enter the fray this holiday season with its “mixed reality” VR headsets for Windows that are cheaper and require less of a set up than Oculus or Vive, but appear to make compromises on the technical side to get there. It’s telling that even with Microsoft launching the high-end, VR-capable Xbox One X this year, it is foregoing any sort of console VR push and relying on higher resolutions and better frame rates for Xbox One games as the sales pitch for a One X. Phil Spencer told us at E3 that VR was still years away from the mainstream for gamers, suggesting the company was waiting to launch its console VR until it had a proper wireless solution ready.

At this point, it seems more likely to me that the current enthusiast VR market is an expensive R&D exercise that won’t produce successful systems, but will lay the groundwork for the actual mass market VR, which will instead evolve both in audience and use-cases from the mobile VR world. (We call it mobile VR, but I don’t think I’m alone in having never once seen someone using a mobile VR headset on the subway, in the security line at the airport, or in the waiting room at a dentist.)

A number of the VR developers I’ve spoken to have mentioned wires, price, system-selling software, and installed base as key issues VR needs to tackle to become truly mainstream. As Google Daydream and the Oculus-powered Gear VR have shown, the first two are all but solved problems in mobile VR thanks to the use of existing smartphones. As for the other two, when your system is only $100 or so, the definition of a system-seller changes dramatically, which then has plenty of beneficial implications for the installed base. (Promotions like Samsung giving away Gear VR with new Galaxy phone purchases don’t hurt, either.)

All mobile VR really needs are better interfaces and more powerful phones. The Gear VR motion controller is a good first step for the former, and the latter is improving all the time. If VR is really going to go mass market, doesn’t it make more sense for it to grow not from the high-end early adopter market who would have dropped $600 on a PS3, but from the masses who made a compelling novelty like the $250 Wii a phenomenon?

Courtesy-GI.biz

Premium Nokia 8 Handset May Launch By End Of July

July 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The premium Nokia 8 could get everything from dual cameras to Qualcomm’s fastest Snapdragon 835 chip (the same one that’s in the Samsung Galaxy S8), according to well-known mobile tipster Evan Blass, who also writes for VentureBeat. The phone may even be unveiled as early as July 31, Blass suggests.

If true, this is just what the Nokia brand — once a top-two titan of mobile — needs. After Microsoft sold a company called HMD the rights to use the Nokia mobile name in 2016, the company has released three midrange Nokia Android phones, the Nokia 3, Nokia 5 and Nokia 6, and a throwback to a simple feature phone, the Nokia 3310. The Nokia 8 could help bring some luster back to the flagging brand.

Some rumored Nokia 8 specs include: 5.3-inch screen, 2,560×1,440-pixel resolution (QHD), dual 13-megapixel cameras featuring Zeiss optics, Android 7.1.1 Nougat, Snapdragon 835 processor,  4GB or 6GB of RAM.

The phone is also said to cost around 589 euros, which translates to about $675, £520 or AUD$865. This puts it at a much higher price than the current most expensive option — the Nokia 6.

The Nokia 8 reveal was speculated to take place in a promotional Nokia video in May, but the actual video didn’t show much besides glimpses of the phone’s appearance.

HMD Global, which licenses the Nokia brand name, declined to comment on this story.

Is Google Involved In Shady Research

July 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A watchdog group has accused Google of funding academic research to try to influence public opinion and policymakers.

Campaign for Accountability (CfA), a Washington-based non-profit that recently launched the Google Transparency Project, said in a report that the company has thrown money at research papers in the US and Europe that appear to support its business interests, covering topics including antitrust, privacy, net neutrality, patents, and copyright.

“Google uses its immense wealth and power to attempt to influence policymakers at every level,” said Daniel Stevens, CfA executive director. “At a minimum, regulators should be aware that the allegedly independent legal and academic work on which they rely has been brought to them by Google.”

CfA claims that 329 papers published between 2005 and 2017 on public policy matters relevant to Google were in “some way” funded by the company, and alleges that authors of the papers – who were paid between $5,000 and $400,000 – did not disclose the source of their funding in 66 per cent of all cases.

Google has been quick to deny the accusations, and has slammed the CfA’s report as “highly misleading”.

In a blog post, Google’s director of public policy Leslie Miller said that the CfA had inflated numbers by attributing funding to Google when it actually came from associations to which Google.

She also said it was ironic that the CfA talked about transparency given that the watchdog’s only known backer is Oracle. 

“The irony of discussing disclosures and transparency with the Campaign for Accountability is that this group consistently refuses to name its corporate funders. And those backers won’t ‘fess up either,” wrote Miller.

“The one funder the world does know about is Oracle, which is running a well-documented lobbying campaign against us. In its own name and through proxies, Oracle has funded many hundreds of articles, research papers, symposia and reports.

“Oracle is not alone. You can easily find similar activity by companies and organisations funded by our competitors, like AT&T, the MPAA, ICOMP, FairSearch and dozens more, including hundreds of pieces directly targeting Google.”

Courtesy-TheInq

Intel Launches ‘Purley’ Xeon To Compete With AMD’s Epyc Processors

July 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has unveiled a new series of ‘Purley’ Xeon server processors based on its new Skylake-SP architecture. 

The new Intel Xeon SP (‘Scalable Platform’) CPUs, which feature up to 28 processor cores per socket and six terabytes of system memory, were unveiled in New York on Tuesday, and the firm claims a 1.65 times performance boost, on average, compared to the prior generation Broadwell-based server CPUs.  

The launch comes just weeks after AMD unveiled its Epyc line of server processors based on the Zen architecture, which offer up to 32 cores per chip. Intel took a dig, naturally, and claims that its top-end Xeon Scalable processor delivers 28 per cent faster performance than AMD’s Epyc 7601. 

Given the higher core count of its new server chips, Intel has created an all-new Mesh architecture design which is claims will offer a “fundamental change” to performance. Unlike the firm’s previous ‘ring’ design (arf), the Mesh architecture arranges the individual cores in a 3D design, offering more direct paths and, in turn, faster performance. 

The new processors, Intel claims, have been designed for growing, and compute-heavy workloads, such as cloud computing, autonomous vehicles, 5G and artificial intelligence, the latter of which will reportedly see a 2.2x performance increase with Xeon Scalable.  

“Data centre and network infrastructure is undergoing massive transformations to support emerging use cases like precision medicine, artificial intelligence and agile network services paving the path to 5G,” said Navin Shenoy, executive vice president and general manager of the Intel Data Center Group.

“Intel Xeon Scalable processors represent the biggest data center advancement in a decade.”

The new Xeon SP processors also deliver a 3.1 times performance improvement generation-over-generation in cryptography performance, according to Intel, which has also built its Key Protection Technology onto the chip to deliver enhanced protection to security key attacks.

The Xeon Processor Scalable Family offers four processor tiers, representing different levels of performance and a variety of integration and acceleration options: Copper, Silver, Gold and Platinum. 

Intel says that it has already begun rolling out the new hardware to customers, with the likes of Google Cloud, AWS and AT&T having already bagged some of the 500,000 units shipped out ahead of Tuesday’s official launch. 

Intel’s server-class Purley processors are tipped to power Apple’s upcoming iMac Pro, which is set to be released in December.

Courtesy-TheInq

A Re-organized AT&T To Run Wireless, Media Properties Separately

July 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

AT&T Inc plans to operate its wireless and DirecTV satellite television businesses separately from Time Warner Inc’s media assets following its $85.4 billion acquisition of the entertainment group.

Buying Time Warner gives AT&T control of cable TV channels HBO and CNN, film studio Warner Bros and other coveted media assets. AT&T’s post-merger plans were earlier reported by Bloomberg News.

The deal, announced in October, is seen as a bold move by the telecommunications giant to acquire content to stream over its network. AT&T hopes the programming will give it a competitive edge in a saturated wireless market. The deal also brings a wealth of user data for more targeted advertising.

The reorganization will leave AT&T executives in charge of the combined company. John Stankey, who currently leads DirecTV and other entertainment businesses, will head up the media division and John Donovan, AT&T’s chief strategy officer who oversees technology and operations, will run the wireless business, the source said.

AT&T Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson will remain chairman and CEO of the combined company after the deal closes, an AT&T spokesman said.

In an emailed statement, AT&T spokesman Fletcher Cook said no decisions on an organizational structure have been finalized and that Stephenson and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes were still working on them. Time Warner did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Bob Quinn, AT&T senior executive vice president of external and legislative affairs, told reporters this week that the company expects to close the merger by the end of the year. “We are just working through the process,” Quinn said, noting it also needs approvals from some international agencies and the

iPhone 8 May Come With Scaled Down Features

July 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The upcoming iPhone 8 may not debut with a complete set of features that Apple has planned. Problems with the iPhone’s rumored wireless charging and facial recognition software could cause Apple to disable these features when the phone arrives in stores, according to Fast Company.

June was allegedly a tough month for Apple’s iPhone team, according to the report. With Apple’s usual iPhone reveal likely falling sometime in September, the team is reportedly ironing out the wrinkles in time for the phone’s launch. One of Fast Company’s sources reported “a sense of panic in the air.”

The iPhone 8 (which is what we’re calling the phone for now) is said to receive a major redesign that will debut features never before seen on an iPhone. Apple’s inability to ready these features for launch could lead to impatience if buyers experience a serious delay. Samsung’s slow release of the Bixby Voice app on the Galaxy S8 is a clear example.

This wouldn’t be the first time that Apple delayed a feature release, either. Last year’s iPhone 7 Plus‘s Portrait Mode wasn’t enabled until after the phone went on sale. Fast Company reported that if Apple can’t get its new technology working smoothly in time, it may similarly ship the iPhone 8 with the right hardware built-in and activate it later on when the software is ready.

There have been persistent rumors that Apple might delay the iPhone 8 sale date due to issues with the fingerprint sensor.

 

Password Sharing A Revenue Nuisance For TV Streaming Services

July 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Streaming TV services grapple with password sharing. More than one-fifth of young adults who stream shows like “Game of Thrones” or “Stranger Things” borrow passwords from people who do not live with them, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll, a finding that suggests media companies are missing out on significant revenue as digital viewership explodes.

Twenty-one percent of streaming viewers ages 18 to 24 said they had accessed at least one digital video service such as Netflix Inc, HBO Now or Hulu by using log-in credentials from someone outside their household at some time. Overall, 12 percent of adults said they did the same thing.

 Subscription revenue is likely to come under scrutiny starting next week when TV industry players begin reporting quarterly earnings. Netflix, the dominant streaming service, releases its results on Monday.

Up to now, Netflix and other streaming networks have accepted some password-sharing, but they may face pressure from investors to change course if new sign-ups slow substantially, Wall Street analysts said. Revenue growth at Netflix is projected to drop from 31 percent in this year’s second quarter to 19 percent in the second quarter of next year, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

“If Netflix goes from a 30 percent revenue growth story to a 10 percent story, there is absolutely going to be more focus on their leaving money on the table,” said Justin Patterson, an analyst with Raymond James.

Spotify Inks Licensing Deal With Sony Music

July 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Spotify has pulled together a licensing deal with a second major label, Sony Music Entertainment, according to media reports, setting the stage for a U.S. stock market listing by the music streaming leader.

Recently valued at $13 billion, Sweden’s Spotify is planning a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange later this year or in early 2018, sources told Reuters in May.

Sony agreed to reduce royalties that Spotify must pay in return for the streaming service restricting new albums to paying subscribers for two weeks before offering access to free users, the Financial Times reported, citing a single source.

Sony’s top artists include Adele, Beyonce and Shakira.

Spotify is also in talks with Warner Music Group , Billboard reported.

Favorable royalty terms are crucial for Spotify to attain profitability and to make it a viable long-term holding for investors.

The company reported a 349 million euro ($400 million) operating loss, a 47 percent increase on a year earlier, even as revenue grew 50 percent to 2.93 billion euros.

In April, it signed a multi-year licensing deal with Vivendi’s Universal Music Group, with a similar two-week release window for new albums and a break on the royalties Spotify pays Universal.

It also signed up digital agency Merlin, on behalf of more than 20,000 independent labels.

Last year, Universal held a 28.9 percent share of global music label revenue, Sony Music generated 22.4 percent and Warner 17.4 percent. Independent labels made up the remaining 31.3 percent, MIDiA Research data showed.

Spotify has fended off competition from rival Apple Music, with nearly double the number of paying subscribers.

In March, Spotify said it had more than 50 million paying subscribers and 140 million active users, including free listeners. Apple reported 27 million music subscribers last month, up from 20 million in December.

The company has faced boycotts from some top music artists who have complained its free services undercut the value of their work but the major label licensing deals have gone some way toward easing these tensions, according to analysts.

Spotify declined to comment. Sony Music Entertainment and Warner Music Group did not respond to requests for immediate comment.

Red Digital Cinema Announces 3D Smartphone

July 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Red Digital Cinema Camera Co. said that it will be offering what it described as the “world’s first holographic media machine,” a smartphone with 3D image capabilities.

Red, known for its professional high-definition cameras used for filming movies such as Guardians of the Galaxy and The Hobbit, said its new Hydrogen One Media Machine smartphone will ship in the first quarter of 2018.

The Hydrogen One Media Machine has a 5.7-in “retina-riveting” holographic display, runs Google’s Android OS and incorporates a new high-speed data bus and an “ever-expanding modular component system.”

What the company called “nanotechnology” will allow the smartphone to seamlessly switch between traditional 2D content, holographic multiview content, 3D content and interacting games, which can be viewed in both landscape and portrait modes.

“Wearable displays not spoken here,” the company stated in a press release. “It is no longer necessary to carry (or charge) another device to enjoy multi-dimensional content.”

Red said it has also created its own file type, called “Hydrogen 4-View content.” Like Apple’s iCloud service, video and photos will automatically be stored via the company’s Red Channel, which also users to stream holographic games and movies.

The company also created a proprietary firmware algorithm that converts stereo sound into multi-dimensional audio. “Think 5.1 on your headphones,” the company stated in its marketing material.

Because of its modular design, the smartphone will be able to incorporate future attachments for shooting higher-quality motion and holographic still images. The smartphone will also integrate into the Red camera program, enabling it to work with the company’s Scarlet, EPIC and Weapon line of 8K cameras to act as a user interface and monitor.

The Hydrogen One will come with a USB-C cable and charger and an expandable micro SD card slot.

The Hydrogen One comes unlocked and with a steep price tag: $1,195 for the “Aluminum” model, and $1,595 cost for the “Titanium” version.

Nokia And Zeiss Team Up Again For Phone Camera

July 7, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Nokia mobile phones of the future, you could pack a stellar camera as a headline feature.

Phone maker HMD on Thursday announced an exclusive partnership with imaging experts Zeiss that will see the two work together to develop cameras for upcoming Nokia phones.

Frustratingly, we don’t yet know when exactly we we’ll see a high-end flagship Nokia phone, but at least we know now that when we do it’s likely to have a camera with Zeiss credentials. The two companies will be collaborating on all aspects of camera tech, meaning lenses, sensors, software — the whole package.

The partnership is “very long term,” according to HMD’s chief marketing officer, Pekka Rantala, although he wouldn’t specify exactly how long he meant by that. As for what we can expect the focus of the partnership to be, it looks like it could encompass anything and everything.

“Video is an area we could see a lot of innovation in,” Rantala told CNET in a briefing. “Definitely AR is one of the big things. And we are here to brainstorm.”

It’s not the first time Nokia and Zeiss have teamed up. They also worked together back in the noughts on the Nokia N series, which preceded the more recent Lumia line. In the Lumia series we saw some experimental technology from the two that resulted in the PureView brand, which was all about lossless images, and a phone that boasted a staggering 41 megapixels.

It’s unlikely we’ll see anything like that again from HMD. “The answer is not to emphasize one number when it comes to megapixels,” said Rantala. Dual cameras, on the other hand, are “a very interesting idea,” he said. “That will give new possibilities for a player like us to possibly explore new experiences.”

For now HMD is concentrating on selling the Nokia 3, 5 and 6 (and of course the 3310), but it’s at least given us some idea of what’s coming next. “We have saved some space below three and above six for some expansion of the portfolio,” said Rantala.

Presuming you can count at least to 10, that’s a pretty self-explanatory hint.

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