Thursday, December 14, 2017

Disney Has Announced A Deal To Buy 21st Century Fox In A Deal Worth Around $66B, Includes Hulu Stake

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Walt Disney has announced a deal to buy a big portion of 21st Century Fox, in a deal worth around $66B made up of $52.4B in stock and an estimated $13.7B in net debt.

The purchase excludes Fox News, Fox Business, and Fox Sports but includes all of the entertainment assets including Fox’s 30% stake in Hulu. Coupled with Disney’s existing 30% share in Hulu, that gives Walt Disney a controlling interest of 60% in Hulu.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

T-Mobile Acquires Layer3 TV, Launching Its Own TV Service In 2018

Financial terms were not disclosed. Denver based Layer3 has raised about $80 million from investors including Evolution Media whose backers include CAA and Jeff Skoll’s Participant Media. The company has added Hollywood veterans including former Fox exec Lindsay Gardner and ex UTA social media agent Eric Kuhn to its exec roster as it has grown.

Details about the new TV service which will build on Layer3’s existing presence in select markets have not been disclosed. Execs declined to offer any guidance on pricing or strategy on the mix of content.

T-Mobile CEO John Legere said “This is about an integrated home and mobile experience.”

Apple Acquires Shazam For $400 Million

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Apple has announced that it has acquired song recognition company Shazam. According to Recode the deal is valued at $400 million.

In a statement to The Verge, an Apple spokesperson said:

“We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple. Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users. We have exciting plans in store, and we look forward to combining with Shazam upon approval of today’s agreement."

Shazam currently has apps for iOS, Android, and macOS with the Windows apps being pulled earlier this year. It is one of the most highly rated and popular apps in the world on every platform. Even before the acquisition Shazam has been part of Apple software powering the song recognition feature in Siri. 

With the acquisition, Apple could build deeper integration within Apple Music software. The deal should close in the coming weeks pending regulatory approval.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

How To Enable Google's Pixel 2 And Pixel 2 XL Visual Core HDR+ Feature On Android 8.1 Beta

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How to enable the Pixel Visual Core’s HDR+ feature.

Go to the Settings menu.

Scroll down and select System.

Tap on Developer options.

Make sure the Developer options is toggled on and scroll down until you find the Debugging subheading.

At the bottom of this section, locate Camera HAL HDR+ and toggle it on.

A pop-up will appear letting you know that you must now restart your smartphone before the Pixel Visual Core can begin working.

With the Camera HAL HDR+ option turned on when you take a picture, the custom chip will start handling the HDR+ image processing.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Essential Updates PH-1, Gains Fingerprint Sensor Gestures And KRACK Patch

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Essential recently pushed out another software update, the two biggest changes include fingerprint sensor gestures and a fix for KRACK.

Fingerprint sensor gestures on the Essential PH-1 work just like on the Google Pixel and Google Pixel 2's. Swiping down on the fingerprint sensor will show notifications, swiping up will dismiss notifications. The other big news here is a fix for the KRACK vulnerability. The update also includes the latest October 2017 security patch from Google, improved performance, bug fixes, and better touch scrolling.

The update is rolling out with a build number of NMJ20D and file size of 74.8Mb. The update will download in the background and once it's ready to go restarting your Essential PH-1 with the new update installed. 

The unlocked variant of the Essential Phone already has access to the new update build NMJ20D, However the Sprint variant will have to wait for the carrier to approve the update prior to it gets pushed out to phones.

Source: Essential via Twitter

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Essential Phone Gets Permanent Price Drop To $499, Previous Buyers Get $200 "Friends And Family" Code

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Essential Phone was first announced and went on sale in May. The high end Android phone later started shipping to customers in late August. At the time the price of the phone was $699, but a few days ago some retailers started discounting the device by $100. This evening Essential announced that the phone was getting a permanent $200 price drop to $499 on its web store.

Niccolo de Masi the president of Essential, stated that anyone who bought the Essential Phone before October 22 will be able to get a $200 “friends and family” code for use on its store. The code can be used to reduce the price of a new Essential Phone purchase, which means if you have one of these codes the price of the phone will go down to $299. The code can also be applied to the purchase of the company’s Essential 360 Camera add-on for the phone, which basically makes that accessory free. Those folks will have to submit their details to claim the $200 store code at the source link below by November 15.

Source: Essential, $200 "friends and family" code

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Android Co-Creator Andy Rubin's Startup Essential, Sued Over Magnetic Connector Technology

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Keyssa has filed an intellectual property lawsuit against Essential, the maker of the Essential PH-1 smartphone backed by former Google exec and Godfather of Android Andy Rubin. The lawsuit pertains to magnetic wireless connectors that can pass information and current from one device to another, such as the magnetic module accessory system used on the Essential PH-1. 

According to Keyssa Essential worked with the company for period of 10 months on the magnetic technology and was given trade secrets under non disclosure agreement during that time. Eventually the relationship between the two companies dissolved and Essential picked magnetic components from a third company called SiBEAM for the Essential PH-1. Keyssa alleges that even though Essential is using different hardware for its phone the technology couldn't have been recreated without Keyssa's protected intellectual property.

"Keyssa has not been compensated for Essential’s use of this guidance and know how," said Keyssa in a statement provided to Reuters. "We are pursuing this action because our attempts to resolve this matter through discussions with Essential have not been successful." Keyssa is backed by Tony Fadell, who co-created the iPod when at Apple. Keyssa filed the lawsuit in federal court in San Francisco.

Source: Reuters

Friday, October 13, 2017

Google’s Pixel 2 Camera App Gets Ported To Original Google Pixel And Google Pixel XL

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The new Google Camera app delivers a handful of interface changes as well as a Motion Photos and Face Retouching.

It’s said that the more advanced features like AR Stickers, Motion Photos, and Face Retouching may not work properly and Portrait Mode is not operable on account of requiring a dual camera sensor. However availability seems to be dependent on your device and APK version installed.

If you'd like to try this for yourself, you can head to the Google Camera source link below and download the APK.

Source: Google Camera

Google Pixel 2 Launcher With Google Now APK Download

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We got our hands on the APK file for the updated Pixel Launcher that will ship on the Google Pixel 2 and Google Pixel 2 XL with its bottom Google Search bar and At A Glance widget.

If you install the updated launcher on your device you'll get those changes. Bottom Google Search bar, top At A Glance widget, and new animations. The Google Search bar stays on all the screens but the At A Glance widget will only show on the first screen. The At A Glance widget will display the weather only if you have location turned on.

If you want to try the new Pixel Launcher on your device regardless whether it's a Google Pixel, Google Nexus, or other OEM made phone you can grab the APK file below at the source link. Remember you'll need to install it as a system app on non Google Pixel or Nexus devices to get the Google Now feed on the left screen.

Source: Pixel Launcher

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sprint, T-Mobile Rumored To Be In Final Stages Of Merger Deal... Yet Again

SoftBank which controls 80% of Sprint is expressing optimism about the prospect for mergers in the U.S. wireless carrier industry under President Trump.

The Obama administration was "quite tough on business," SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has been quoted saying. But now the "door is open" for potential deals he added.

Masayoshi Son failed in an attempt to merge Sprint with T-Mobile back in 2014 after the plan ran into regulatory hurdles. SoftBank paid $20.1 billion October 14th 2012 taking 70% control, on August 6th 2013 Softbank purchased another 2% raising their stakes to 80% ownership of Sprint and has struggled to turn the U.S. carrier around since.

Now, Masayoshi Son is ready to try again saying that while he is open to other options, T-Mobile remains his "first priority" for a merger with Sprint. T-Mobile CEO John Legere said earlier this year that the company was open to "various forms of consolidation."

Source: The Phone Ninja