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Daily updated technology news



Published: Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:39:56 GMT

Last Build Date: Tue, 26 Sep 2017 02:17:39 GMT

 



Apple's former GPU partner sold for $740 millionApple's former GPU partner sold for $740 million

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:39:56 GMT

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Earlier this year Apple decided to start developing graphics processors in-house. This meant that their longtime partner, Imagination Technologies, was going to get bad news.

Indeed Imagination Technologies was scrapped as the GPU developer for iPhones and iPads. During the summer, while the British company was struggling, it was revealed that Apple has opened a R&D unit near Imagination Technologies' headquarters, perhaps hoping to attract talent that was laid off from the former partner.

A strange move from Apple that was among the largest shareholders of the company. However, Apple did consider acquiring the company before deciding to abandon their chips.

Now that Apple has already unveiled their this year's iPhones, they've seemed to have moved on completely. The iPhone 8 as well as the upcoming iPhone X both have a new GPU developed by Apple. All the older Apple devices that they sell (including the iPhone 7) have PowerVR chips from Imagination Technologies.

All this time Imagination Technologies has been trying to figure out how to continue after losing most of its revenue. Over half of the company's revenue came from licensing deal with Apple that included iPhones, iPads, Apple TV, iPods, and Apple Watch.

Eventually the company started seeking for buyers. Now there are some good news for the UK chip maker.

They have found a buyer in a Chinese backed private equity firm Canyon Bridge. Imagination Technologies was acquired for £550 million, that is approximately $740 million.

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WhatsApp competitor confirms: All data is revealed to Chinese governmentWhatsApp competitor confirms: All data is revealed to Chinese government

Mon, 25 Sep 2017 17:20:15 GMT

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It has been revealed that the messaging platform WeChat, owned by the Chinese technology giant Tencent, shares all its data with the government, Moneycontrol.com reports.

Chinese government is known for limiting access to online content and surveilling its citizens closely so it shouldn't come as a surprise but nonetheless seems egregious even from them.

Even though the messaging service is not among the most used in the U.S., or Europe for that matter, it has over 650 million users. It's the third largest messaging platform after WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. As one might imagine most of its users are in China or surrounding countries but plenty of westeners use the service as well.

The sharing of data with the Chinese government was revealed from the company's new privacy policy. Updating the software requires accepting the new policy so this means that every single message can be accessed by the government from now on.

The Chinese government has made it clear that it will hold individuals responsible for example group chats that spread information that is deemed questionable.

Unlike WeChat, the most popular messaging platform WhatsApp offers end-to-end encryption that makes it (nearly) impossible for anyone except the sender and recipient to read the message.

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Xbox 360's Halo titles now compatible with Xbox OneXbox 360's Halo titles now compatible with Xbox One

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 21:50:05 GMT

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Halo fans with Xbox One will be happy to know they can play back through the Xbox 360 catalog of Halo titles on their consoles.

While Halo: Reach was already backwards compatible with Xbox One, Microsoft has revealed that now Halo 3, Halo 3: ODST, Halo 4 and Halo: Combat Evolved Anniversary are now compatible with the Xbox One and Xbox One S. They will also soon be playable on the Xbox One X console.

All Xbox 360-era downloadable content for Halo titles is already available for free from the Xbox Store. If you own the games digitally, you can download any of them from the Xbox Store except for Combat Evolved Anniversary which requires a disc for the moment.

Multiplayer between Xbox One and Xbox 360 players is also available through Live.

via: Engadget

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Uber loses license to operate in LondonUber loses license to operate in London

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 21:40:11 GMT

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Ride-hailing service Uber will not be issued a new license to operate in the city of London after its current license expires on September 30.

The decision was made by Transport for London (TfL) and affects over 40,000 Uber drivers and an estimated 3.5 million passengers. According to the TfL, the decision was made for public safety and security reasons. London mayor, Sadiq Khan, backed the decision publicly.

"I fully support TfL's decision - it would be wrong if TfL continued to license Uber if there is any way that this could pose a threat to Londoners' safety and security," Khan said.

Uber said it will appeal the decision, and added that it signals to the world that London is far from being open, and is "closed to innovative companies."

"By wanting to ban our app from the capital, Transport for London and the mayor have caved in to a small number of people who want to restrict consumer choice," said Tom Elvidge, general manager for Uber in London.

"If this decision stands, it will put more than 40,000 licensed drivers out of work and deprive Londoners of a convenient and affordable form of transport. To defend the livelihoods of all those drivers, and the consumer choice of millions of Londoners who use our app, we intend to immediately challenge this in the courts."

Uber will be able to continue operating in London while an appeal is processed.

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Chinese search giant is investing enormously in self-driving carsChinese search giant is investing enormously in self-driving cars

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 19:51:00 GMT

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The Chinese equivalent of Google, Baidu, has announced that it has launched a new $1.5 billion fund to speed up advancement in autonomous driving. Baidu's plan is to fund around hundred self-driving car projects over the next three years.

Clearly Baidu is serious about competing more fiercely with U.S. based technology companies for the future in autonomous vehicles.

The fund, called Apollo Fund, is named after the company's open-source autonomous vehicle software, Apollo. The Apollo Fund was announced alongside news that the self-driving software had advanced to second generation and version 1.5, Reuters reports.

The Apollo software is turn is named after NASA's space program.

From the public's perspective it seems that Baidu's target is mainly competing with Tesla. The American car maker has been able to bring forth most impressive autonomous driving features so far.

Tesla has previously been working on autonomous driving features, software application, and chip manufacturing with Nvidia as well as Mobileye, which was acquired by Intel in March. Tesla is now developing AI chips for autonomous driving in-house and rumored to be partnering with AMD.

Baidu's plan is to get the Apollo software ready for public use in regular traffic by 2020.

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CCleaner disaster: It was a targeted espionage attempt against major tech firmsCCleaner disaster: It was a targeted espionage attempt against major tech firms

Fri, 22 Sep 2017 07:15:26 GMT

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At the beginning of this week, it was reported that award-winning, hugely popular computer cleaning software CCleaner had been bundled with malware for almost a month with its official installer.

Shortly after, it was revealed that the incident wasn't caused by mismanagement at the Piriform, company behind the software, but a "sophisticated" hack that had managed to gain access to Piriform's development environment.

Now, Wired has more details of the incident. According to Telos, a security company who found the malware originally, the malware didn't care much about Joe Average's computer, but instead, filtered the infected computers and tried to find out whether it had gained access to specific tech firms' networks. Those networks include at least 18 large tech companies, including Intel, Samsung, Microsoft and Cisco (Telos, who found the malware, is a subsidiary of Cisco).

In about half of those cases, Telos manager says, the hackers successfully found a machine they'd compromised within the company's network. Hackers then used the backdoor to install another piece of malware to such systems, intended to gain more access within the network.

According to Cisco, they've managed to get a copy of a database including the computers who had "phoned home" with the initial malware. That list included about 700'000 PCs. But they also found a separate database that contained the details of computers who had installed another payload of malware after the initial contact.

Avast, who owns Pirisoft, confirmed this and stated that of those 18 companies the malware specifically targeted, have been partially breached and says that computers infected with the second malware (initiated by the original one that came with CCleaner) is "in hundreds".

Cisco calls the entire disaster a sophisticated espionage attempt, aiming to steal valuable information from tech giants across the globe.

For employees within those 18 companies who had installed the CCleaner in August or September, simply removing the infected CCleaner isn't enough as the second malware might still be lurking within their systems. And as the malware is a tailor-made, it might be able to avoid traditional anti-virus scans. Thus, Cisco recommends to wipe out the entire PC and install it again from a pre-August backup.

For everybody else, it is enough to remove the CCleaner v5.33 and replace it with the latest, clean one.

You can download the latest, clean CCleaner from here:

Download latest CCleaner (from AfterDawn's servers)

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Tesla abandoned Nvidia? Developing a chip with Nvidia's rival AMDTesla abandoned Nvidia? Developing a chip with Nvidia's rival AMD

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 17:05:00 GMT

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The electric car company Tesla has worked with Nvidia for a long time. Nvidia has delivered chips to current Tesla models with autopilot features, but Elon Musk has wanted to get more rule over the development of the chips.

According to new information acquired by CNBC, Tesla is trying to become more independent when it comes to autopilot enabling AI processing. Tesla is looking to develop their own chips that are custom made to their AI needs, and provide energy efficiency while tackling specifically the problems of self-driving.

However, while this might mean that Nvidia will be tossed aside altogether, Tesla will still need some help manufacturing the chips.

Now the kicker is that Tesla has made a deal with AMD, the main rival of Nvidia, who is perhaps less known for their AI prowess than Nvidia. However, AMD is now offering their architecture and other technologies to be used in Teslas in-house chips and self-driving concepts.

Leading the Tesla AI chip development is a former Apple and AMD chip architect Jim Keller.

According to CNBC, the first implementation of Tesla's in-house AI processor to be used in self-driving has already made with the help of AMD's manufacturing and intellectual property.

Elon Musk has previously stated that full-fledged autopilot should be available for the selected Tesla models, that support the feature, in 2019.

Tesla or AMD have not commented on the rumors.

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Google signs a billion dollar deal with HTCGoogle signs a billion dollar deal with HTC

Thu, 21 Sep 2017 14:26:26 GMT

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As expected, Google and HTC have signed a deal marking a new era in cooperation between the companies. However, HTC was not acquired but instead they signed a billion dollar partnership.

This will allow Google to use HTC's patented technologies and transfers some HTC's employees to Google. Of course the team responsible for Pixel is part of that, and they have already been working with Google now for many years, but this deal will solidify that partnership.

They will be from now on working for Google, literally, and get paid by the search giant. That also means that Google can reallocate any number of engineers to other products, be it Chromecast, Google Home or any number of new and unannounced ones.

This might mean bad news for LG, who is rumored to be again the second manufacturer of the Pixel phones. LG has made the Pixel XL and rumors, detailing the phones, have it that this years Pixel 2 XL will be theirs as well. As Google now has essentially manufacturing to themselves, that might change.

As rumored, the virtual reality division was not part of the deal, and will stay in business without the help of Google. HTC will continue developing their own smartphones, too, but in a limited quantity.

The transactions are said to be completed in early 2018. The deal was worth $1.1 billion.

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HTC is halting shares, Google takeover imminentHTC is halting shares, Google takeover imminent

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 18:15:00 GMT

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The Taiwanese smartphone manufacturer HTC has been looking for a buyer for years. Year after year their business has declined, and the past few months have been the worst in over a decade.

There have been some good news, though, for them. About two weeks ago rumors had it that HTC is close to signing a deal that could possibly mean an acquisition. The other participant in the negotiations was rumored to be no other than Google itself.

As the negotiations were said to be close to being finished, one would expect some additional information around this time, right? Well, it seems that the Chinese sources might have indeed been right.

HTC has now informed, according to the Twitter account of Bloomberg columnist Tim Culpan, that it'll be halting trading shares starting tomorrow pending a major announcement.

The rumors previously didn't detail if Google would indeed be taking over the entire company, excluding VR business which isn't for sale, or if they would become a strategic partner. Either way, it would probably be considered a "major announcement."

HTC is the manufacturer of Google Pixel and the recently leaked Pixel 2 that will debut on October 4th. HTC was also the first smartphone manufacturer to build an Android phone, HTC Dream (or T-Mobile G1).

Google has previously owned Motorola, a smartphone manufacturer that was bought in 2012 and quickly after in 2014 sold onwards to Chinese computer powerhouse Lenovo.


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Watch Series 3 has LTE connectivity problems: reviewersWatch Series 3 has LTE connectivity problems: reviewers

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 17:00:41 GMT

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Several reviewers have found a problem with the new Apple Watch Series 3 and LTE connectivity, which Apple says it is investigating.

The ability to connect directly to an LTE network and break free from iPhone tethering was probably the biggest selling point of the Apple Watch Series 3 unveil last week. It promised a smartwatch that can stand on its own and work more or less anywhere an LTE-capable cell phone could.

However, according to reviewers at The Verge and the Wall Street Journal, the new Watch seems to have a problem with LTE connectivity. Writing for The Verge, Lauren Goode found that the device frequently struggled to connect to LTE and would often connect to unknown wireless networks.

In a review for the Wall Street Journal, Joanna Stern summed up the problem in the headline: Apple Watch Series 3 Review: Untethered... and Unreliable.

This is bad news for those who would like the smartwatch but had previously held off a purchase because of the required tethering.

Apple has responded however, telling the Verge that it had discovered an issue with the Watch Series 3 connecting to unauthenticated WiFi networks without connectivity, and that it seemed to affect the device's ability to use cellular networks. It promised to alleviate the issue by software update.

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WATCH: Warner Bros reveals new 'Tomb Raider' trailerWATCH: Warner Bros reveals new 'Tomb Raider' trailer

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:51:23 GMT

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Lara Craft to return to the cinema screens with Oscar winner Alicia Vikander in the leading role.

Warner Bros has released the first official trailer for the upcoming Tomb Raider reboot. Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina, The Fifth Estate, The Danish Girl) replaces Angelina Jolie in the role of Lara Croft, as she explores an island off the coast of Japan while investigating the mysterious disappearance of her father.

Vikander is flanked by Dominic West (The Wire's 'McNulty', 'Theron' in 300) and Walton Goggins (The Hateful Eight), and is directed by Roar Uthang. Geneva Robertson-Dworet penned the screenplay. This movie adaption is based on the 2013 reboot of the video game series.

The trailer teases plenty of action as Croft battles an organization called "Trinity" and discovers a mythical tomb her father had previously revealed.

The reaction to the trailer has been mixed so far, which is understandable given Hollywood's abysmal track record of adapting beloved video game franchises for the big screen.

Check out the trailer.

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Xbox One X pre-orders open, 130 titles now enhanced for new consoleXbox One X pre-orders open, 130 titles now enhanced for new console

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 16:35:16 GMT

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You can now pre-order for the Xbox One X console ahead of its launch this holiday season, and Microsoft has expanded the list of titles that are enhanced for its upgrade.

Pre-orders of the Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition kicked off in August and produced record setting sell-outs in the first five days. Now, gamers can pre-order the standard edition Xbox One X from local retailers around the world, or from the Microsoft Store.

Microsoft also announced that the full list of new and existing titles that have been enhanced to take advantage of the Xbox One X' new hardware has grown to 130 strong. It includes a large variety of games like Far Cry 5, L.A. Noire, Greedfall and Okami HD.

There is a full list of enhanced games with more details available at Xbox.com.

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This is what the upcoming Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look likeThis is what the upcoming Google Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL look like

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:44:59 GMT

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Now that Apple has unveiled their new, albeit mostly leaked, smartphones it is perhaps time to move on to other major players in the field. Google remains to be the only one that hasn't yet announced this years flagships.

In Google's case the upcoming phones will be the only phones of the year. And they aren't even manufactured by the company themselves. Nevertheless, if you want a Google phone, one would think you'd want it designed by Google. And that is exactly what you are getting with the Pixels.

However, considering the design of last years Pixel, it doesn't seem like you are getting a radical, or even that attractive, piece of equipment with Pixel. And unfortunately it seems to be the case this time around too.

A leak has revealed exactly what the upcoming Pixel 2 (below) and Pixel 2 XL (above) will look like, and they haven't changed much in a year. With the new colors it does spice up the design a little bit but it's still essentially the same dual design in the back.

The leak, detailed by Droid-Life, also reveal the prices. For the smaller Pixel 2 they are $649 (64GB) and $749 (128GB), and larger Pixel XL is $849 for the standard 64GB version and $949 for the 128GB model.

The good news are that it is still way cheaper than iPhone X and even though you might not like the design (or maybe you do?) it will be a speed demon, you will definitely get the newest version of Android available, and if the last year's model is of any indication then the camera will be one of the best shooters in a smartphone.

You'll find more pictures and details about devices at Droid-Life's Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL articles.

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Google's cheaper Home revealed in a leakGoogle's cheaper Home revealed in a leak

Wed, 20 Sep 2017 15:20:24 GMT

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After the success of Amazon's assistant-in-a-can, better known as Echo, several competitors have joined the home assistant domain with their own smart assistant powered speakers.

One of the more high-profile ones is of course Google whose Google Home is effectively, in terms of functionality, a duplicate of Amazon's Echo. It's a smart speaker that has all the functionality of Google Assistant, found on the Android mobile platform.

Now, it has been revealed, that Google is even going to expand the home assistant selection with a new Google Home Mini, just like Amazon, mind you, with Amazon Tap and Amazon Dot.

Droid-Life has released pictures of this smaller Home that is expected to be released on October 4 alongside the new Pixel 2 smartphones.

According to their information the new Mini version costs $49 and comes in three colors, Chalk (grey), Charcoal (black), and Coral (red). Google sells the original Google Home for $129.

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Amazon has a new Fire HD tablet for $150Amazon has a new Fire HD tablet for $150

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 19:03:00 GMT

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Amazon has unveiled a refreshed version of its Fire HD 10 tablet. The online retailers improved 10-inch tablet has got more storage and performance but a reduced price tag.

The new Fire HD 10 retails starting at $149.99 and includes doubled storage capacity. Not only is the storage increased to 32 gigabytes but there's a new MediaTek octa-core processor that is said to improve performance up to 30 percent.

Just the price drop of 35 percent is a significant improvement on value. Add in the improved performance and storage and you've got a pretty good deal. Fire HD 10 features a 10.1 inch Full HD display, 2 gigabytes of RAM, two cameras (VGA front-facing, 2MP rear-facing), 3.5 mm headphone jack, stereo speakers, and a microSD slot for expandable memory up to 256 gigabytes.

However, one has to remember that Fire HD 10 is not a full-fledged Android tablet but for Amazon customers, and especially Prime members, it is certainly worth a look.

The new versio can already be preordered on Amazon but it'll be released on October 11. There's also a 64GB model for $189.99. Both are available in black, blue, and red.

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