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Flash Drives To Become More Secure And Faster

February 27, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Flash drives in mobile devices are set to become faster and secure thanks to a new standard signed off by the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association.

eMMC version 5.1, will allow for a new mobile storage that will provide faster access. Flash drives based on eMMC 5.1 can handle 4K streaming and more data-intensive tasks.

Samsung has started making 64GB, 32GB and 16GB drives based on the new standard and is shipping units to customers, but has not said whether those drives will be used in the Galaxy S6 smartphone, which will be announced early next month at the Mobile World Congress trade show.

Samsung’s 64GB eMMC 5.1 has a random read performance of 11,000 IOPS (input/output operations per second) and write performance of 13,000 IOPS, compared to a rough performance of 7,000 IOPS for 64GB drives based on the previous eMMC 5.0 standard.

The speed improvements comes through some cache and data-streaming improvements.

There is also something called Secure Write Protection ensures only specific entities are able to access files and lock or unlock storage.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Android Malware Fake Shuts Down Phones To Steal Data

February 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Next time you turn switch off your Android mobile phone, you might want to pop the battery out as an extra precaution.

Security vendor AVG has spotted a malicious program that fakes the sequence a user sees when they shut off their phone, giving it freedom to move around on the device and steal data.

When someone presses the power button on a device, a fake dialog box is shown. The malware then mimics the shutdown animation and appears to be off, AVG’s mobile malware research team said in a blog post.

“Although the screen is black, it is still on,” they said. “While the phone is in this state, the malware can make outgoing calls, take pictures and perform many other tasks without notifying the user.”

The malware requires an Android device to be “rooted,” or modified to allow deep access to its software. That may eliminate a lot of Android owners who don’t modify their phones.

But some vendors of Android phones ship their devices with that level of access, potentially making it easier for the malware to get onto a device.

This malware is unlikely to show up in Google’s Play Store, since Google tries to block applications that have malicious functions. But it could be a candidate for one of the many third-party app stores with looser restrictions.

 

Raspberry Pi Making Moves

February 19, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The Raspberry Pi Foundation has announced that its pint-sized computer has now sold a whopping five million units.

The announcement came via Twitter, where the official Raspberry Pi account boasted that the five million milestone makes it the big-selling computer manufacturer in the UK of all time.

Just confirmed the big news we’ve all been waiting for: we’ve now sold more than 5 million Raspberry Pis.

— Raspberry Pi (@Raspberry_Pi) February 17, 2015

We think that this means that in just under 3 years, we’ve gone from zero to being the biggest selling UK computer manufacturer ever. Yowza.

— Raspberry Pi (@Raspberry_Pi) February 17, 2015

This comes just two weeks after the firm announced sales of 4.5 million Raspberry Pi computers, suggesting that its latest model, the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, has proved popular since it went on sale on 2 February.

Raspberry Pi said previously that it aims to ship three million units of the new model within 12 months, and Tuesday’s announcement suggests that it’s on track to smash that target.

The firm has yet to announce exactly how many Raspberry Pi 2 models have shipped, but we are likely to hear official figures in the next few weeks.

The second-generation device was unveiled at the beginning of this month, improving on the original Raspberry Pi with 1GB RAM and support for Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system.

It also boasts expanded GPIO pins and advanced power management and connectivity, making it possible to connect up to four USB devices, including powered devices such as hard drives.

Courtesy-TheInq

Will Intel Bring Braswell Based Pentium To Market In Q3?

February 17, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel’s transition from 22nm to 14nm, with out-of-order architecture better known as Atom, was not a walk in the park.

Intel had to delay its next generation Atom out-of-order architecture codenamed Braswell all the way to Q3 2015 and, at that time, we expect to see the Braswell-based Pentium N3700 replacing the Bay-Trail-M BGA based N3540. Last time we mentioned Braswell, the processor was delayed to Q2 2015 and now it slipped an additional quarter.

The Pentium N3700 is 14nm quad core clocked at 1.6GHz, with the ability to jump all the way to 2.4GHz. The Bay Trail-M based Pentium N3540 is clocked at 2.16GHz base clock and 2.66GHz Turbo.

As you can see, Braswell 14nm has a significantly lower clock and Turbo at a 6W TDP (Thermal Design Power) and 4W Scenario Design Power (SDP). Pentium N3640 Bay Trail has a 7.5W TDP and 3.5W SPD, so the TDP went significantly down but the SDP went up, just barely.

The Intel HD Graphics core also works at 400MHz base and 700MHz maximum frequency on the Braswell Pentium N3700, which is slower than the N3540 with its 313MHz base and 896MHz Turbo clock.

The Pentium N3700 supports DDR3L 1600 MHz memory, has 2MB cache and it comes in BGA packaging. The good news is that the new platform supports Chrome, Linux, Windows 7 64-bit only as well as Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 64-bit only.

There will be a few other Braswell 14nm dual- and quad-core processors that will end up branded as Celerons. The Atom brand name is gone in the notebook / Chromebook market.

Courtesy-Fud

Google Pulling The Plug On Helpouts Video Service

February 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google is has decided to shutter Helpouts, the company’s service to provide answers and advice by connecting information seekers with experts via live video.

With Helpouts, Google sought to provide an information platform built around live tutorials rather than clickable search results or links. The goal of the service, launched in 2013, was to let people connect with experts to get information about practically anything, whether it be photography, cooking, fitness or home improvement. Google took a 20 percent transaction fee from most types of paid sessions. A desktop version was offered, as well as mobile apps.

But Helpouts never took off. “The Helpouts community includes some engaged and loyal contributors, but unfortunately, it hasn’t grown at the pace we had expected,” Google posted Friday to the Helpouts website. Google will shut down the service on April 20. Users can download their Helpouts history with the Google Takeout service until Nov. 1 of this year, the company said.

The Helpouts mobile apps appear to already have been removed from the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Google didn’t provide any additional comment on the reason behind the shutdown. Helpouts’ main competitors may have been Google’s other products, including its web search engine.

For example, Google now displays relevant information in response to people’s queries via its Knowledge Graph feature at the top of the search results page, in addition to the traditional website links. The feature now covers a range of topics including public figures, places and nutrition data, with health information being the latest addition.

Google did not charge a transaction fee on health-oriented Helpouts.

 

 

 

 

 

Canon Looking Beyond Camera Market With Latest Acquisition

February 11, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Canon Inc will acquire network video surveillance leader Axis AB for about 23.6 billion Swedish crowns ($2.83 billion), the biggest purchase ever for the Japanese company that is trying to expand beyond the shrinking camera market.

Canon said it was launching a tender offer to buy all Axis shares for 340 crowns each, a premium of nearly 50 percent.

The Swedish company said its board of directors unanimously supported the offer, and that three of its top shareholders representing around 40 percent of total shares will accept it.

Canon already sells surveillance cameras and sees the sector as a growing market, although it has not disclosed how much it earns from such products.

The deal will make Canon a top player in the video surveillance market, which was worth an estimated $15 billion at the end of last year, according to researcher IHS. Within that market, there is a $3.86 billion segment for network-connected security cameras which is led by Axis with a 17.5 percent share as of 2013.

The deal comes after Canon late last month reported a slight increase in fourth-quarter profit, as a weaker yen and rising sales of office equipment offset weakness in a camera division competing with smartphones capable of high-quality imaging.

The company, which earned over 80 percent of its revenue overseas in 2014, said it would pay in cash.

Axis’ is targeting average annual growth of at least 20 percent and a profit margin of at least 10 percent. The company reported a fourth-quarter operating profit of 199 million crowns, slightly below analyst forecasts but up from 166 million a year earlier.

Around half of its sales come from the Americas, 40 percent from Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and the rest from Asia.

Axis said it will remain as a separate legal entity within Canon, and that its current management team will stay.

 

 

New Spyware Infection Can Steal Pics, Data From iPhones

February 6, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

A group of cybercriminals that target governments, the military and journalists has turned its attention to the iPhone, according to Trend Micro.

The computer security firm says it has discovered new spyware that infects iPhones, gathers large amounts of personal information and sends it to a remote server.

The spyware, called XAgent, is delivered via a phishing attack using a technique called island hopping. In that, the phones of friends and associates of the true target are first infected and then used to pass on the spyware link. It’s based on the assumption that the target is more likely to click on links from people they know than from strangers.

Once installed, XAgent will collect text messages, contact lists, pictures, geo-location data, a list of installed apps, a list of any software processes that are running and the WiFi status of the device. That information is packaged and sent to a server operated by the hackers. XAgent is also capable of switching on the phone’s microphone and recording everything it hears.

XAgent runs on both iOS 7 and iOS 8 phones, whether they’ve been jailbroken or not. It is most dangerous on iOS 7 since it hides its icon to evade detection.

On iOS 8 it isn’t hidden and needs to be manually launched each time the phone is rebooted — a process that would require the user to purposely reinfect their phone each time. For that reason, Trend Micro believes the spyware was written before iOS8 was launched last year.

While close to three quarters of Apple mobile devices are using iOS 8, a quarter are still running iOS7, according to data published by Apple this week.

“We’ve been monitoring the actors behind this for quite some time,” said Jon Clay, senior manager of Global Threat communication at Trend Micro, in a phone interview. “The criminals have introduced [the iOS app] as part of their campaign to move further into the [targeted] organization, using this rather than PC malware.”

While the identity of the hackers isn’t known, Trend Micro says it believes those behind what it calls “Operation Pawn Storm” to be a pro-Russian group. Past targets have included military organizations, defense contractors, embassies and media groups.

 

 

 

FAA Drone License Requests Sees Big Spike

February 5, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The Federal Aviation Administration has given out eight more drone licenses, the latest approvals for several hundred applications it has received.

While people are free to fly drones for personal use and enjoyment, the FAA has claimed commercial use requires a license — something that comes with specific requirements. Pilots of commercial drones must have at least an FAA Private Pilot certificate and a current medical certificate, the drone must remain within line of sight at all times, and the pilot must be assisted by an observer.

Nevertheless, the attraction of operating a drone has led 342 companies and individuals to apply for licenses, the FAA said Tuesday.

A large number of those applications relate to drone use for imaging applications, as can be seen from Tuesday’s approvals. The newest licenses went to companies planning to use drones for video and TV production, aerial photography and surveying and inspecting flare stacks in the oil, natural gas and petro-chemical industry.

The latest licenses bring to 24 the number of licenses issued by the FAA since September last year, when the first licenses went to movie and TV production companies.

Regulations governing use of drones, or “unmanned aerial systems” in government-speak, are continuing to develop. Several stipulations already exist including a ban on flying drones within five miles of airports. Also off limits are many professional sports events including NFL and MLB games, NCAA games in stadiums that seat more than 30,000 people and many NASCAR events.

The FAA warned before last weekend’s Super Bowl that drone operators could face jail time for violating a no-fly zone that extended 30 nautical miles around the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

 

 

Intel Delays Its Photonics Technology

February 5, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has delayed shipment of a component module required for its silicon photonics technology, because they are not meeting quality specifications.

The original batch of modules, which was supposed to ship at the beginning of the year, will now be used as samples for testing.

Now it looks like silicon photonics cables for connecting servers won’t be installed before 2016.
The delay will hurt customers who are counting on silicon photonics for specific applications in the near term, although more widespread adoption was still a few years away anyway.

Servers that support silicon photonics will have special MXC connectors in which fibre optic cables are plugged. One MXC connection, which combines multiple silicon modules, could eventually transfer data at up to 1.6Tbps (terabytes per second), or 800Gbps in each direction.

Silicon photonics has been researched for more than a decade and Intel wants to make sure the modules work well before launch.

Courtesy-Fud

AT&T Spends Big At Spectrum Auction

February 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

AT&T Inc shelled out nearly half the total in the record-setting U.S. sale of airwaves for mobile data, followed by Dish Network Corp spending heavily to manage a surprise win at No.2 ahead of Verizon, results showed on Friday.

AT&T bid a total of $18.2 billion to win licenses of so-called AWS-3 spectrum. Dish itself did not win any licenses, but had invested in bidding partners SNR Wireless LicenseCo LLC and Northstar Wireless LLC, which bid a total of $13.3 billion.

The two companies, backed also by financial firms including BlackRock Inc  but with little to no revenue, had applied to receive a discount as small-business entities, bringing their net bid amount to $10 billion.

Verizon and T-Mobile bids were $10.4 billion and $1.8 billion, respectively, according to the results of the Federal Communications Commission’s largest ever auction.

“Dish was the one that surprised most, spending a couple of billion more than anticipated,” said Jefferies & Co analyst Mike McCormack.

Dish’s larger-than-expected bid for over 700 licenses put a damper on the investors’ hypothesis that the satellite company had expected to turn around and sell the newly acquired airwaves to Verizon or another buyer. However, Dish’s plans remain unclear.

Verizon made slightly lower-than-expected bids but the company had hinted to investors that it would do so in December, McCormack added.

The record $44.9 billion auction, which ended on Thursday, demonstrated the voracious appetite of wireless carriers and other companies for spectrum to satisfy the growing consumer demand to stream video and other data-guzzling content.

AT&T, Dish’s partners and Verizon snapped up airwaves in some of the most coveted and expensive markets, such as New York and California.

 

 

 

 

Amazon Courting The Enterprise With New ‘WorkMail’ Service

January 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc ramped up its attempts to woo corporate clients by announcing an email and scheduling service that will compete with Microsoft Corp and Google Inc .

The service, dubbed WorkMail, will launch in the second quarter and has been developed by the company’s cloud computing unit, Amazon Web Services (AWS). It highlights Amazon’s efforts to convince deep-pocketed companies, called enterprises in tech parlance, to shift more of their work to AWS.

Launching an email and scheduling service is likely the first step toward a broader suite of Amazon tools to gain corporate clients, analysts said. For example, Google’s Gmail offers many other services beyond email and calendars including file-sharing and video conferencing.

AWS has spent the last couple of years trying to get corporate clients on board because big businesses spend more on data centers than startups, who were the initial focus of its business. But there are concerns that Amazon is spreading itself too thin, given its other sizeable investments in areas like Hollywood-style production and consumer devices.

“Email is a Trojan Horse into the enterprise,” Baird analyst Colin Sebastian said. He added that email is a $1 billion opportunity for Amazon given the popularity of AWS and Amazon’s willingness to sacrifice margins for volume.

If Amazon adds more services for companies, it could bring in about $10 billion more in extra revenue, Sebastian said.

 

 

Auto Industry Helps Texas Instruments Bottom Line

January 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Texas Instruments appears to have done rather well thanks to a growing demand for chips from the car industry.

The company posted fourth-quarter revenue of $3.27 billion, up 8 percent from the year-ago period and slightly above what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street predicted by reading their tarot cards.

This was mostly because TI deepened its focus on analogue and embedded chips which are in demand from carmakers, telecom companies and industrial customers.

Revenue from Texas Instruments’ largest market, “industrial,” grew a bit in 2014, while revenue from its communications market expanded as wireless carriers installed next-generation base stations.

TI has been winding down its unprofitable wireless business and refocusing on analogue and embedded chips. Factories that Texas Instruments bought at relatively attractive prices in recent years and the chipmaker’s robust sales force give it an advantage over smaller competitors.

The company’s fourth-quarter net income rose 61 percent to $825 million. Earnings per share were 76 cents.

Texas Instruments forecast first-quarter revenue of between $3.07 billion and $3.33 billion.

Analysts on average had expected revenue of $3.26 billion for the fourth quarter and $3.19 billion for the first quarter.

 

Courtesy-Fud

Cablevision To Launch Wi-Fi Phone Service

January 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Cablevision System Corp said that it would launch in February a wireless Internet phone service to give customers an alternative to more expensive data plans from cellular companies such as AT&T and Verizon.

The “Freewheel” phone service, which runs on any WiFi connection, is an attempt by Cablevision to retain and potentially add subscribers at a time when cable companies are losing out to lower-priced, bundled TV and Internet services from telecom firms.

Cablevision said the phone service was the first of its kind to be launched by a cable company and aims to tap users seeking to download unlimited amounts of data on their mobile phones using WiFi, which is less expensive than a cellular connection.

Such services could pose a challenge to traditional telecom carriers. Currently, carrier Republic Wireless and Massachusetts-based startup Scratch Wireless offer users similar services that use WiFi to control data costs.

“There has been a dramatic shift in how consumers use their mobile devices: today, it’s all about data, and WiFi is now preferred and clearly superior to cellular,” Kristin Dolan, chief operating officer of Cablevision, said in the statement.

Cablevision, controlled by New York’s Dolan family, has been investing in its “Optimum” WiFi network since 2007, setting up over 1.1 million WiFi hotspots or access points in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

Cablevision’s WiFi phone service will be offered at $29.95 per month and $9.95 per month for subscribers of its “Optimum Online” service. It will be available exclusively on the Motorola Moto G smartphone that users will have to purchase, the company said.

The $180 Android phone will be sold to “Freewheel” users without a contract at a discounted price of $99.95, it added.

 

 

 

Microsoft Unveils Hologram Visor

January 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Microsoft Corp surprised the tech world with the unveiling of a prototype hologram visor that can bring the Minecraft video game, Skype calls and even the landscape of Mars to three-dimensional life.

The veteran tech pioneer, which long ago lost the mantle of the world’s most inventive company, is making a bold play to regain that title in the face of stiff competition from Google Inc and Apple Inc.

Virtual or enhanced reality is the next frontier in computing interaction, with Facebook Inc focusing on its Oculus virtual reality headset and Google working on its Glass project.

Microsoft said its wire-free Microsoft HoloLens device will be available around the same time as Windows 10 this autumn. Industry analysts were broadly excited at the prospect, but skeptical that it could produce a working model at a mass-market price that soon.

“That was kind of a ‘Oh wow!’ moment,” said Mike Silver, an analyst at Gartner who tried out the prototype on Wednesday. “You would expect to see a relatively high-priced model this year or next year, then maybe it’ll take another couple of years to bring it down to a more affordable level.”

Microsoft does not have a stellar record of bringing ground-breaking technology to life. Its Kinect motion-sensing game device caused an initial stir but never gripped the popular imagination.

The company showed off a crude test version of the visor – essentially jerry-rigged wires and cameras pulled over the head – to reporters and industry analysts at a gathering at its headquarters near Seattle.

It did not allow any photographs or video of the experience, but put some images on its website.

 

 

Is Dailymotion Going After Twitch?

January 16, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Dailymotion has hopped onto the game streaming juggernaut and launched a game streaming service.

Dailymotion Games will put the firm into a market that so far includes Twitch, a streamer that has cemented its place as a gaming add-on and a coveted option on the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 consoles.

The Dailymotion information does not dwell on Twitch, which has been a feature of many a gushing press release from console makers such as Sony, but it does say that the live streaming gaming platform has some decent credentials.

For example, the promotional information says that the platform is backed with “industry leading video and live streaming technology”.

The firm also reminds us that it has some history here, and has been e-gaming for some time.

“Since 2011, with the first Dailymotion Cup on Starcraft, Dailymotion has accompanied e-sport growth on the internet,” said Martin Rogard, Dailymotion’s chief operating officer.

“Dailymotion Games is entirely dedicated to e-sports fans and streamers who come together every evening to form an amazingly talented and gregarious community.

“Over the coming months, we will significantly increase our investment in the e-sports domain to ensure worldwide recognition of all our talented content producers.”

Dailymotion said that live streamers will be able to monetise their content, which Microsoft recently confirmed is fine for its users, and that streamers could run their own “controlled video advertisement” and any number of social tools including search and real-time communications. Android and iOS apps are available.

The service is currently in beta. Dailymotion said that it serves some 180 million game videos a month.

 
Courtesy-TheInq