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Intel’s Cherry Trail Processor Coming In 2015

November 26, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Bay Trail was quite a big deal when it started shipping in late 2013.

It was a tablet chip that enabled great design wins such as the affordable Asus T100TA and even in late 2014 Asus used the platform to create the EeeBook X205, a $199 netbook.

Both of these designs are based on Intel’s Bay-Trail M processor, a year old 22nm quad-core processor based on the Silvermont design. Some machines that are coming with LTE, both netbooks and tablets and there will be new chip coming in 2015. It is called LTE Advanced XMM7360 chip and supports LTE Cat 10,3 CA up to 450 Mbits download and upload.

Intel will also offer Morrefield quad cores for machines with lower TDP ratings, especially tablets, and at some point in 2015 it will introduce its 14nm Airmont core based Cherry Trail processor. Cherry Trail based on 14nm Airmont core was originally expected in late 2014, but it got pushed towards middle of 2015.

Intel is clearly encountering more obstacles moving from the 22nm to the 14nm manufacturing process, but considering that most ARM competitors still have to start commercially shipping its 20nm SoCs in significant volumes, Intel still has a manufacturing node advantage. If only Intel had as many design wins to go along with its cutting edge fabs, as the company has been struggling to ship 40milion tablets in 2014, as promised.

Braxton will replace Cherry Trail in 2016. Braxton is a tock architecture, another 14nm design based on the quad-core Goldmont core. When it comes to the Performance Media Internet Device (MID) market Intel has another chip planned in 2016. It calls it SoFIA MID and the chip comes in intels 14nm manufacturing process.

Value and Entry markets for Media Internet Device (MID) and phones includes four new SoFIA parts, but with all these new and exciting chips Intel has to compete against some advanced chips coming on line in 2015, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 20nm, Nvidia Erista and more affordable Mediatek solutions such as the MT6795 A53-based octa-core and its successor.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel Shows New Processor Roadmap

November 25, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has revealed an update to its CPU roadmap and some things have changed in 2015 and beyond. Let’s start with the Broadwell 14nm architecture. The first processors based on this technology are starting to show up in razor thin laptops and ultra-fast tablets. Intel should add ultra-expensive, as the first SKUs cost an arm and leg.

However, the Core M is excellent performer considering its 4.5W TDP envelope and this is the first time that Intel has made such as energy efficient Core processor. There will be some machines based on Core M vPro for business users and they should be available right now, depending on the market.

It almost feels like Intel launched Broadwell 14nm products just to please investors, as we don’t see too many people spending $999 or more on an ultra-thin notebook. It is reminiscent of the Ultrabook push, at least for now. Intel claims that there are 70 hybrids and two-in-one designs on the market right now. We will have to look into this number as it looks quite optimistic to us. We have to trust what Intel’s SVP Kirk Skaugen, the leader of the chipmaker’s PC group, is telling investors.

Intel has mentioned the 5th generation Core architecture and future notebooks and 2-in-1 PCs slated to launch next spring. This is a rather wide definition as spring starts in late March and ends in late June, so an educated guess would be mid- to late-Q2 2015, with rollouts at Computex 2015. Intel continues the tradition of launching Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors for customers and two processors for business users, namely Core i5 vPro and Core i7 vPro products. We suspect that Intel will call them Core I 5000 generation.

It looks like Braswell, the next generation Atom core, has been delayed. Intel now tells its investors that there will be a Braswell-based core coming branded as Pentium and Celeron in the second half of 2015. On some roadmaps leaked earlier this year Braswell was originally supposed to come in Q4 2014, then it got pushed to Q1 2015 and now probably even further. This means Bay Trail will have to last much longer than intended.

The new Skylake 14nm is going to end up as the sixth generation Core, so we would not be surprised to see them branded as the Core i7 6000 series. We are not sure how will Intel plans to have two generations coexisting in the same market at the same time, but the good news for desktop lovers is that Skylake will come to desktops and bring DDR4 to mainstream users.

AMD will face a lot of competition in 2015, but with the right pricing we believe that there is enough space for AMD-based notebooks and two-in-ones as well as desktops.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Announces Office 365 Video, Streaming Service For The Enterprise

November 21, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft unveiled Office 365 Video, a YouTube-like streaming service where enterprises and large organizations can post in-house video content for communication and training.

“Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content,” said Mark Kashman, a senior product manager with the Office 365 team, in a blog posting.

Kashman touted Video as a tool for internal communications, citing the examples of new-employee orientation, management messaging and worker training. Employees will also be able to contribute to a “Community” section, though most companies will probably frown on cat antic clips.

The service rolls out over the next few days to companies that have registered for Office 365′s First Release early distribution program, then through early 2015 to others.

Video will be available only to subscribers of Office 365′s plans for enterprises — E1 through E4 — and universities (A2 through A4). It will not be offered to consumer subscribers or firms with small business-oriented plans like Business Essentials, Business and Business Premium.

Kashman also said Office 365 plans for government agencies will get Video at some point, but he did not proffer a timeline.

The other requirement is SharePoint Online, an off-premises component of the enterprise and academic plans, but missing from the increasingly popular Office 365 ProPlus, the rent-not-buy plan used by organizations that have decided to retain their back-end services, like SharePoint and Exchange, on premises.

Although Office 365 Video has elements of consumer streaming services like Google’s YouTube, it’s strictly an in-house affair: It will be available only to employees, and then only those whom IT administrators have assigned access rights.

 

 

Microsoft Rolls Out Skype For Web

November 17, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft announced that it is launching a beta of Skype for the Web, allowing browser-based video chats that don’t require a separate app.

“We’ve made Skype available on computers, mobile phones, TVs and even games consoles,” wrote Jonathan Watson, Skype product marketing manager for Microsoft, in a blog post. “Expanding to different platforms has helped us grow to over 2 billion daily minutes (that’s over 33 million hours) of voice and video calls…. Now, not only can Skype be used on just about any screen you lay your hands on, but you can also enjoy Skype on a browser.”

Skype for Web, which is expected to roll out in the coming weeks, will be available via Internet Explorer, Chrome on Windows, Firefox or Safari.

“If you already use Skype, go to Skype.com and sign in to see all your contacts and latest conversation history,” wrote Watson. “We’re making Skype for Web available to small number of existing and new users to begin with, and gradually rolling out worldwide in the coming months — look out for an invite when you sign in to your Skype account on Skype.com.”

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said this is a good move for Microsoft because it opens Skype up to more users in more places.

“The requirement to have a client means one might not always be able to use Skype,” he said. “For example, if I’m on a shared computer, say in an airport, I can’t use Skype…. Maybe I can’t get on the airport Wi-Fi, but there’s a public Internet terminal or I might want to use a friend’s computer. But with Skype Web, now I can. So now Skype can be pervasive across all devices, not just ones that I happen to own.”

 

 

 

Twitter Exploring Creation Of Additional Mobile Apps To Drive Growth

November 14, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc is exploring the creation of additional mobile applications beyond its core messaging service and ways of making it easier for newbies to use its service, as it competes with Facebook Inc and other social media for smartphone users.

Chief Executive Dick Costolo said Twitter also planned to speed up the pace of changes to its product and to add more functions to its private messaging service.

“I strongly believe private messaging virality is important to our long term growth,” Costolo said, a reference to when online content goes viral or is popularly shared. He noted that some of the new private messaging features would be introduced in the current quarter.

Executives said the company needed to do a better job helping new users understand how to use the service. An upcoming “instant timeline” will quickly provide new users with content without requiring them to search Twitter for individual users to follow.

Twitter, whose main service allows users to broadcast 140-character messages, appeared to be taking a page from rival Facebook, which in recent years has taken the approach of creating individual apps centered on news, for instance, and also recently beefed up its private messaging.

Twitter has been searching for ways to arrest dwindling user engagement and drive growth. It currently counts 284 million users, compared with Facebook’s 1.3 billion.

In October, Twitter reported that timeline views per user, a key measure of engagement, slid 7 percent globally in the third quarter.

 

 

 

Yahoo Adds Another Purchase, Acquires BrightRoll

November 13, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo has agreed to purchase the video advertising platform BrightRoll for $640 million, in a move that could help to offset declines in its traditional display ad business.

The deal was announced on Tuesday and is one of Yahoo’s largest acquisitions since it bought Tumblr last year for just over $1 billion.

Yahoo already runs video ads on properties like Yahoo Screen, but BrightRoll’s system gives marketers a way to buy ads in real time across thousands of websites and mobile apps.

“Online video advertising is increasingly fragmented across thousands, if not millions, of sites and mobile apps,” the companies said. Advertisers want ways to buy video ads at scale and across many sites in fewer, simpler transactions.

The deal is expected to close by March and will make Yahoo’s video advertising platform the largest in the U.S., they said.

Yahoo has struggled to grow its ad business and compete better against Google and Facebook. It may have made some progress lately, reporting in its earnings call last month that its native ads are doing well on mobile.

It’s been struggling in the area of traditional display ads on the desktop, however. But it contended Tuesday that video ads are the new display advertising.

“Video is display 2.0,” CEO Marissa Mayer said in a post on Tumblr.

“Its what brand advertisers love. Its a format that elegantly and easily transitions from broadcast television to PC to mobile and even to wearables,” she said. “This is why video is a key part of our strategy.”

It can also replace the branded banner ad, according to Mayer.

Digital video advertising is increasing at “an eye-popping rate,” eMarketer said recently, although spending on TV ads still outpaces it.

BrightRoll’s revenues are expected to exceed $100 million this year, Yahoo said. The company expects to retain its team of roughly 400 employees.

 

 

 

AT&T Decides Against Hi-speed In-flight Internet Service

November 12, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

AT&T Inc has dropped its plans to roll out high-speed Internet service on commercial flights in order to focus on international expansion and video offerings, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Last Friday, the carrier announced a $1.7 billion acquisition of Mexican operator Iusacell, AT&T’s second major acquisition this year following a $48.5 billion bid for satellite operator DirecTV.

“After a thorough review of our investment portfolio, the company decided to no longer pursue entry into the in-flight connectivity industry.  We are focusing our capital on transformative investments, such as international and video,” said Fletcher Cook, a spokesman for AT&T.

In April, AT&T and Honeywell International Inc had announced a partnership to launch a high-speed 4G LTE-based in-flight connectivity service for airlines and passengers in commercial, business and general aviation in the U.S.

The product would have competed with in-flight internet services provider Gogo Inc., whose shares soared 10 percent on the news.

 

 

Voice Over LTE Expected For AT&T, Verizon Wireless In 2015

November 5, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon Communications and AT&T Inc plan on being able to transmit wireless voice calls between the two carriers over high-speed data networks by 2015, both companies announced.

The technology is expected to improve the quality of calls and allow for video calling and voicemail.

The calls would be transmitted using a technology known as Voice over LTE, which repackages voice calls as data and transmits them over carriers’ high-speed data networks.

Carriers currently transmit most voice calls on older 2G networks, while data is sent through high-speed 4G networks.

“Interoperability among all VoLTE providers takes connectivity to the next level with HD quality voice and additional features that customers want,” Tony Melone, chief technology officer at Verizon, said in a statement.

AT&T and T-Mobile began rolling out Voice over LTE in select cities earlier this year. Verizon announced a nationwide launch in September, but customers cannot yet call subscribers on other networks using the technology.

The technology could also allow customers to purchase devices that are not bound to a particular carrier and can easily be transferred to a different network.

“Customers expect to be able to connect anywhere, anytime – and as LTE technology continues to evolve, it’s imperative that we provide a seamless experience between carriers,” Krish Prabhu, president, AT&T Labs and AT&T chief technology officer, said in a statement.

For wireless carriers, Voice over LTE will help them to use their network resources more efficiently by allowing them to dump old voice network infrastructure and free up wireless spectrum currently used for voice calls.

 

 

Is ATT & Verizon Selling Your Information?

November 5, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Verizon appears to be collecting personal data on its clients and selling it to advertisers. Wired and Forbes have claimed that the two largest mobile phone carriers in the United States, Verizon and AT&T, are adding the tracking number to their subscribers’ Internet activity, even when users opt out

Howver the data can be used by any site to build a dossier about a person’s behaviour on mobile devices including which apps they use, what sites they visit and for how long. MoPub, acquired by Twitter in 2013, bills itself as the “world’s largest mobile ad exchange.” It uses Verizon’s tag to track and target mobile users for ads, according to instructions for software developers posted on its website. AT&T insists its actions are part of a test. Verizon says it does not sell information about the demographics of people who have opted out.

However it appears Verizon is service, called Precision Market Insights, has become popular among ad tracking companies that specialise in building profiles’ of user behaviour and creating customised ads for those users. Companies that buy the Verizon service can ask Verizon for additional information about the people whose unique identifiers they observe. An executive from an ad tracking company Run told an industry trade publication that his outfit was excited about how carrier level ID, lets him track with certainty when a user, who is connected to a given carrier, moves from an app to a mobile Web landing page.

In addition, in a promotional video for Verizon’s service, ad executive Chris Smith at Turn, touted “the accuracy of the data,” that the company receives from Verizon. Advertisers who don’t pay Verizon for additional information still receive the identifier only Verizon changes the identifier to make sure that an outsider can’t build a profile. Vodafone, a British telecom, admitted it inserts a similar identifier into some mobile traffic but it was not by default and the outfit did not routinely share information with the websites our customers visit.

ProPublica found a handful of Vodafone identifiers in its logs of website visitors and more than two thirds of AT&T and Verizon visitors to ProPublica’s website contained mobile identifiers.

There seems to be no way to opt out either. Google has proposed a new Internet protocol called SPDY that would prevent these types of header injections. Of course, the US telecom companies are lobbying against it and this probably explains why.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Blackberry Messenger Trying to Emulate SnapChat?

November 4, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Blackberry has added a Snapchat-style self-destructing message feature to BlackBerry Messenger (BBM), which it boldly claims makes it “unlike any other chat app out there today”.

Despite having pulled the feature straight out of Snapchat, BlackBerry is claiming that BBM’s new Timed Messages feature, allowing people to choose when messages expire, makes the service like no other.

BlackBerry said in a blog post: “With today’s BBM update we’re incredibly excited to introduce a number of new features that will deliver the best BBM experience yet.

“At the centre of this release are new privacy features that allow customers to take control over the messages and content that they share, so they can communicate with more discretion and freedom than ever before.

“We have been testing these features with customers over the last few weeks and the feedback has been incredible.

“They’re telling us that Timed Messages and Message Retraction add a whole new dynamic to BBM unlike any other chat app out there today.”

Message Retraction allows BlackBerry users to yank messages that they feel they might later regret.

The updated app also brings a new Sticker Picker making it quicker to add stickers to messages, along with an HD Image Transfer feature, and Discover Music, which allows users to see what their BBM contacts are listening to.

BlackBerry failed to mention what operating systems the update will arrive on, but we have asked the firm to elaborate.

However, BlackBerry suggested that the update will come to iOS, Android and Windows Phone users, as well as BlackBerry.

“It may take 24 hours or more for the update to appear in your app store depending on your mobile platform and region,” the firm said.

Courtesy-TheInq

Nintendos’s New Healthcare Division To Develop Sleep Tracking Device

October 31, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Video game maker Nintendo Co Ltd will develop a device to monitor a user’s fatigue and map their sleep, Chief Executive Satoru Iwata said on Thursday, the first offering from the company’s newly created healthcare division.

The device will be co-created with U.S. firm ResMed Inc, which currently makes products to treat sleep disorders, and will be available in the financial year ending March 2016.

“By using our know-how in gaming… to analyse sleep and fatigue, we can create something fun,” Iwata said.

Nintendo, better known for its Mario video game franchise and Wii and Wii U consoles, has said it expects its healthcare division to turn a profit in 2015/2016. The company already offers fitness games on its Wii console, played with a motion sensor controller.

According to an image Iwata shared at a media conference, the device will be about the size of a hand and can be placed on a user’s bedside table. It will use microwave transmission sensors to track sleep, with the data collected used to help users cultivate healthy sleeping habits.

Iwata refused to discuss the company’s sales expectations for the new device beyond saying that it may be offered via a subscription service rather than a one-off purchase.

“We only start something new if we think we will be able to create a big market, but as I’m not able to discuss pricing plans and other details today I don’t think there’s much point in giving a figure for our projected scale,” he said.

The device was launched a day after Nintendo reported an unexpected quarterly profit, after hit games gave a boost to sales of its Wii U console.

 

 

Will Mobile Games Dominate?

October 27, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

As the market for games has grown and diversified, it’s become increasingly important to take any headline figures you might read with a grain of salt. Every time an analyst or a research firm announces that the games business has reached such and such a size, or that monthly revenues compare thusly with previous figures, or that a certain product or company has over- or under-performed projections, their august pronouncement isn’t so much an answer as a source of more questions. What exactly are you defining as the “games business”? Which sectors have you included? How did you measure digital revenues? What about IAP? Are your figures global, regional, merely covering the increasingly unrepresentative US market or “global” for a narrow definition of “global” which means “markets we could find data for with a quick Google search, and to hell with the rest of them”? And as for projections, whose projections, arrived at through which logic and with which agenda?

In short: with a very, very few notable exceptions, most of the sector analysis and research conducted on this industry is awful. It’s under-informed, narrow and rarely exposes its methodology well enough to understand and account for its flaws. It’s also the best thing we’ve got, unfortunately, which is why sites (including this one) continue to publish this research as it becomes available, although all of it should probably carry a large flashing warning to remind readers that an infant let loose with coloured crayons and some graph paper would probably have a similar margin of error to their data.

Yet this is only when we’re talking about data about what’s going on right now. Start to project forward, into crystal-ball-gazing questions like “where will the market be in five years”, and you’re into the realms where the real nonsense starts. Models and figures are pulled out of analyst’s backsides with wild abandon. Rationales and factual grounds are nowhere to be found, but incredibly slick charts and graphs abound; it’s a little like astrology, except that rather than blathering about Saturn being in Capricorn and whatnot, analysts seek to bamboozle everyone with charts and then deeply, fervently hope that when the time period they’re predicting actually arrives nobody will remember how wrong they were.

Even so, when all of the world’s analysts start to point in the same direction – the good, the bad and the bluffing – it’s worth taking note. That’s the context in which the headline figures from research firm Newzoo’s latest report are interesting; headline figures which, in a nutshell, suggest that 2015 will be the tipping point at which revenues from mobile game software surpass revenues from console game software.

“What’s happened to consoles as mobiles have taken over? Not much, as it happens”

Newzoo, like most research firms focusing on this industry, doesn’t provide sufficient detail to back up or verify its sweeping and grandiose claims, because apparently a really pretty graph with a swish background ought to suffice. They would argue, no doubt, that all the juicy detail which would explain their peculiarly high figures is what they charge clients lots of money for, an argument which is entirely true and still leaves them in the position of peddling figures while failing to show their workings. Nevertheless, Newzoo is not alone in its prediction. It’s not even a particularly novel prediction, actually; research firms have been pointing at this tipping point for several years, although when exactly the graph lines would intersect has been a subject of some debate. With mobile growth still strong and the next-gen consoles performing excellently but remaining largely constrained within the core market (rather than seeing another Wii-style breakout success story), the lines are converging a little more evenly and the soothsayers are in accord; next year is the year.

So what happens then? Do burning stones rain from an angry sky to smash all our PlayStation 4s? Will a horde of rampant mobile gamers, driven to murderous insanity by Candy Crush Saga, rip the 3DS’ from our hands and beat us to death with them? Shall E3 be swallowed by a lake of fire, and every presentation at GDC be replaced by an ominous looping video of Zynga founder Mark Pincus laughing savagely at the audience?

Perhaps rather than stockpiling tinned foods, filling the bath with potable water and tearfully locking away your beloved RPGs and FPS games in a lead-lined safe, it might be instructive to take a look at a market where this transition has already happened. There is, you see, a place where revenues from mobile games overtook revenues from console games several years ago – as early as 2011, according to some figures, although the safe money is on 2012/13 being the tipping point. Now, in this market, mobile games are the unquestioned market leader in revenue.

The market in question is Japan, where a well-developed market for mobile gaming on existing “feature phone” devices was supercharged by the arrival of the smartphone. Now mobile game revenues have soared well clear of console games. Unlike in the 1990s, Japan’s mobile phones aren’t vastly advanced compared to those overseas – they queue up here for iPhones just like everywhere else, with Apple’s devices being by far the dominant player in the smartphone market, so it’s not that games they’re playing are technologically advanced compared to those in the west. Rather, it’s that the market itself was further down the path than the west, with a wider swathe of consumers familiar and comfortable with mobile gaming, F2P models and in-game transactions.

What’s happened to consoles as mobiles have taken over? Not much, as it happens. The softness of PS4′s sales in Japan since the stellar launch last spring has been well noted, but it’s not a meaningful indicator of an overall problem with the console market; anecdotally, I get the impression that PS4 is extremely desired but still lacks the killer apps which will actually drive Japanese gamers to go out and buy one. Indeed, the line-up of software that appeals to the local market is still weak; a few big titles will shift the needle significantly, just as Mario Kart 8 did for the Wii U (which is now back in a slump awaiting the arrival of Smash Bros; software sells hardware, as ever).

Handhelds, meanwhile, are what you’d expect to suffer most from the triumph of mobile, yet the 3DS is going gangbusters in Japan and the PS Vita is stronger in this market than anywhere else in the world. The rise of mobile to take the crown of most lucrative and expansive market hasn’t even impacted the ability of Japanese publishers to launch genuinely massive new franchises on handheld consoles; Yokai Watch may not have made it to the west yet, but if it’s half as pervasive over there once it launches, it’ll be the biggest new gaming franchise in years.

So the consoles are still pretty healthy, especially the handheld devices. They play to their strengths, for the most part; it’s notable that the biggest handheld games around at the moment, games like Smash Bros and Monster Hunter, really wouldn’t work on a mobile phone as they rely on accurate, pinpoint controls that couldn’t be replicated on a touchscreen to any degree of satisfaction. Other games that work well are those designed for long sessions of play; mobile devices still suffer badly from rapidly draining batteries when playing games, and while a dead battery in your 3DS is a little annoying, a dead battery in your mobile phone is a disaster, meaning few people are willing to put in significant play sessions in GPU-intensive mobile titles.

“If 2015 does see mobile overtaking console worldwide, it may be the best thing to happen to games in years; it won’t hurt console, at least not for a long while yet, and it’ll allow us to finally turn a corner towards mobile being seen as a platform for everyone”

What’s actually more interesting than what’s happened to console, though, is what’s happened to mobile itself. The mobile game market in Japan is nothing short of fascinating. Ever since its meteoric growth, it’s become a hugely expansive market that caters to an enormous range of tastes and demographics, as you’d expect – but the core demographic, the heart of the market for which every company seems to be competing… Well, that’s oddly familiar, as it happens.

Every time you see a commuter train festooned with ads for a new mobile title, or a lengthy TV commercial promoting the latest smartphone release, or even the huge screens at Shibuya’s scramble crossing taken over with a video of a mobile game, they always have something in common. Their visual language, their core mechanisms and their basic appeal is absolutely in tune with core gamers. Mobile’s new position on top of the heap has opened the door to games with higher production values and more depth, aimed at the market that has always played the most and paid the most; the core.

The results aren’t always appealing; mobile games launch fast and fail fast, and that’s fine. When things do work out, though, they create some pretty amazing hits. Puzzle & Dragons, as you probably know by now, was the biggest-grossing game on any platform in 2013 (probably; analyst figures, you know?), and it’s also incredibly deep, compelling and fun. Publisher GungHo advertises the game on trains and TV over here with videos showing advanced techniques for building chain combos in the game; just consider that for a moment, a game so successful that your advertising isn’t even “here’s why this game is great”, it’s “we know you already play, here’s a tip so you can play better”, displayed on evening TV across the nation. Puzzle & Dragons is far from being Japan’s only “mobile core” hit, though. RPGs have been rapidly rising in prominence on mobile platforms, and now appear to be even more popular than the collect ‘em up titles (mostly card battlers) which dominated up until this point; the latest big title is Mistwalker-developed RPG Terra Battle, a game which I’m resigned to installing on my phone this week because literally everyone around me doesn’t talk about anything else any more.

In short, the Japanese market may be peculiar by comparison with the rest of the world, but sometimes that’s simply because it’s still a couple of years ahead of the western market in a few regards. Not in every regard; Japan is a very retrograde nation in terms of certain tech advances (it’s worth noting that streaming video services like Netflix are an absolute disaster here, and let’s not even talk about online banking), but in gaming, the market if not the technology is a little in advance of most western countries. Japan crossed the line between console-as-number-one and mobile-as-number-one a couple of years ago, and the world did not end. Console and handheld are doing fine; mobile is doing better than fine, and most excitingly of all, the new titles coming to mobile are better than ever, driven by a strong desire to get the most lucrative market in gaming, the core gamers themselves, playing. If 2015 does see mobile overtaking console worldwide, it may be the best thing to happen to games in years; it won’t hurt console, at least not for a long while yet, and it’ll allow us to finally turn a corner towards mobile being seen as a platform for everyone – core, casual, and everyone in between.

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

Google Continues Artificial Intelligence Expansion, Partners With Oxford U.

October 24, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google Inc is growing its artificial intelligence area, hiring more than half a dozen leading academics and experts in the field and announcing a partnership with Oxford University to “accelerate” its efforts.

Google will make a “substantial contribution” to establish a research partnership with Oxford’s computer science and engineering departments, the company said on Thursday regarding its work to develop the intelligence of machines and software, often to emulate human-like intelligence.

Google did not provide any financial details about the partnership, saying only in a post on its blog that it will include a program of student internships and a series of joint lectures and workshops “to share knowledge and expertise.”

Google, which is based in Mountain View, California, is building up its artificial intelligence capabilities as it strives to maintain its dominance in the Internet search market and to develop new products such as robotics and self-driving cars. In January Google acquired artificial intelligence company Deep Mind for $400 million according to media reports.

The new hires will be joining Google’s Deep Mind team, including three artificial intelligence experts whose work has focused on improving computer visual recognition systems. Among that team is Oxford Professor Andrew Zisserman, a three-time winner of the Marr Prize for computer vision.

The four founders of Dark Blue Labs will also be joining Google where they will be will be leading efforts to help machines “better understand what users are saying to them.”

Google said that three of the professors will hold joint appointments at Oxford, continuing to work part time at the university.

 

Pandora’s Listeners Decline

October 24, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Pandora Media Inc, owners of the leading Internet radio service, reported a lower-than-expected increase in listeners in the third quarter, sending the company’s shares down 6 percent in extended trading on Thursday.

Pandora said it had 76.5 million active listeners as of Sept. 30, an increase of 5.2 percent from a year earlier.

Analysts, on average, had expected 76.7 million, according to market research firm StreetAccount.

Total listener hours rose to 4.99 billion from 3.99 billion, but again fell short of the average estimate of 5.02 billion.

Pandora’s profit and revenue both beat market expectations, however, as more people listened to streamed music on their mobile phones.

Mobile revenue increased 52 percent to $188 million, while local advertising revenue rose 118 percent to $41.8 million.

Despite its huge user base, Pandora faces stiff competition from Spotify, Apple Inc’s Beats online streaming service, Google Inc, and Amazon.com Inc in the fast-growing music streaming business.

 

 

Twitter To Allow Users To Stream Music

October 21, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc  will allow users to play podcasts, music and other audio clips direct from their timelines, or message feeds, by using a  new feature designed in partnership with Berlin-based audio-streaming service SoundCloud.

The online messaging service introduced what it dubbed “Audio Card,” through which users can listen to a variety of content whilst browsing their timelines.

For starters, Twitter has promised audio from SoundCloud’s partners, which include such diverse sources as NASA, the Washington Post, CNN, David Guetta, Coldplay and Warner Music.

But it’s trying to snag more content partners in future, Twitter said in a recent blog posting.

Twitter didn’t say how Audio Card might evolve, except to stress that it offers musicians a chance to post exclusive clips.

“Many more musical artists and creators will be able to share exclusive, in-the-moment audio to millions of listeners on Twitter,” the company added.

Twitter’s new feature comes after rivals from Apple Inc to Google Inc have jumped into the business of music-streaming, considered the fastest-growing segment of a music market dominated by iTunes.

Twitter had reportedly been in discussions to acquire audio-sharing website SoundCloud, which has been called the Youtube of music, as far back as June.