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Mobile World Congress Coming To USA In 2017

June 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Mobile World Congress, considered by many experts as the most important tech trade show in the world, is coming to the U.S. Trade groups GSMA and CTIA are joining forces to bring a smaller version of the event to the U.S. in 2017.

GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas will debut Sept. 12 to 14, 2017, in San Francisco and will replace U.S. trade group CTIA’s Super Mobility conference. Super Mobility will continue this year in Las Vegas from Sept. 7 to 9.

The new conference will be the “first truly global wireless event” in the Americas, CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said in a statement.

The new trade show, however, will apparently be more focused, spotlighting the leading innovations from the North American mobile industry, John Hofman, CEO of GSMA, said in a statement.

The trade groups expect about 30,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors at the 2017 trade show, similar to the numbers from CTIA’s Super Mobility conference.

GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year drew more than 100,000 attendees and 2,200 exhibitors. The 2017 Barcelona event will take place from Feb. 27 to March 2.

The new Mobile World Congress Americas will feature C-level speakers, exhibits featuring the latest mobile technologies, and a regulatory and public policy program.

 

 

BlackBerry Says Device Business Is Top Priority

June 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd’s top priority this year is to make its devices business turn a profit, its chief executive said, even as it weighs the future of its hardware operation.

“The device business must be profitable, because we don’t want to run a business that drags onto the bottom line,” Chief Executive John Chen told investors at the company’s annual meeting. “We’ve got to get there this year.”

Chen has previously said a decision would be made by September on the future of the unit, which has suffered a sustained drop in sales in recent quarters.

But at the meeting, attended by around 100 people, he said he sees better opportunity in providing services that enable increasingly commoditized hardware to do more.

“I don’t personally believe handsets will be the future of any company,” he said.

BlackBerry, once the smartphone market leader before being displaced by Apple Inc and competitors run on Alphabet Inc’s Android platform, has worked to reposition itself as a software and service provider focused on device management for large organizations.

In its presentation to investors, the company said it expects the broader market for types of software it is producing to expand to $17.6 billion by 2019, from $525 million in 2012 and below $4 billion in 2015, powered by growth in medical, legal, financial and automotive industries.

But some of those in attendance were skeptical about BlackBerry’s ability to deliver on its strategic pivot.

“The first word that comes to mind is lackluster,” said one shareholder at the meeting who declined to give his name. “Time is running out.”

Chen reiterated that BlackBerry wants to grow its software revenue by 30 percent in this fiscal year, which he estimated would be double overall market growth, and to notch positive free cash flow.

BlackBerry is due to report first quarter results on Thursday.

Chen took up the CEO role in 2013 with a reputation as a turnaround artist. But the company’s stock has only risen modestly since then, with many investors waiting for signs the now-smaller company will be able to carve out new opportunities.

“I appreciate the strategy,” said Ken Tota, an investor in BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. He said he was optimistic a renewed focus on security could help reinvigorate BlackBerry over the next five years.

“It’s a niche, but it’s a worldwide niche,” he said.

 

 

Will Intel Skylake-X 10 Debut In Q2 2017?

June 24, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

There have been few details released on the new 10 core Skylake-X which will replace the Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition which has just been released.

Intel has just released its Broadwell-E generation of ten, eight and six cores with Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition being the fastest end the most expensive.  But we have managed to get a few details about its replacement – the Skylake-X.

You can expect two SKUs, 140W X versions with 10 cores and the one will less cores called the K version. The new Extreme edition CPUs will have the new R4 socket. This new socket is also called LGA2066 some 55 higher than with the existing socket number.

There will be a Kaby Lake-X 4 core processor with 95+ W TDP using the same LGA 2066 R4 socket . Both Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X support the new chipset that is known as Kaby Lake-X.

This is 200 series chipset will be the successor of the Skylake 100. The new chipset will come with up to 24 PCIe 3.0 PCI express lanes. In fact this is the only major difference in the chipset. It does support Octane storage techhonlogy, something that 100 series chipset cannot. The Kaby Lake 200 series chipset supports 6 SATA 3.0 ports, up to 10 USB 3.0 ports, DMI 3.0, up to three 4Xports for PCIe 3.0 drives.

If the Zen desktop core gives Intel some serious competition, we bet that Intel won’t charge $1700 for its highest end overclockable desktop CPU. Zen is still at least few months away, we expect it at late 2016 at best.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Facebook Gearing Up For Live Streaming

June 23, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc has inked deals worth more than $50 million with media giants and celebrities to create videos for its live-streaming service, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Facebook has signed nearly 140 deals, including with CNN, the New York Times, Vox Media, Tastemade, Mashable and the Huffington Post, the Journal reported on Tuesday, citing a document.

Comedian Kevin Hart, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, wellness guru Deepak Chopra and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson are among the celebrities that Facebook has partnered with.

“We have an early beta program for a relatively small number partners that includes a broad range of content types from regions around the world,” Justin Osofsky, the vice president of global operations and media partnerships at Facebook, said in an email.

“We wanted to invite a broad set of partners so we could get feedback from a variety of different organization about what works and what doesn’t.”

The document shows that Facebook’s deal with online publisher BuzzFeed has the highest value at $3.05 million, the Journal said, followed by the New York Times at $3.03 million and CNN at $2.5 million.

 

Intel Debuts New Xeon Family Member

June 23, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel released yet another Xeon processor family designed specifically for 4 socket servers used in next-gen data centers and cloud deployments.

Intel said that servers with the Intel Xeon E5-4600 v4 family can now have up to 22 cores and 44 threads for enough processing power for most scale-out and large workloads.

Intel’s new range is claimed to be 2.6x better than previous generations Along with the performance boost and the higher core and thread count, the new E5-4600 v4 family can provide up to 55MB of last-level cache, support up to 6TB of DDR4 2400 memory, and 40 lanes of PCIe 3.0.

The new processors have AES encryption and fast public key (RSA) encryption along with a strong random number generation that enables hardened, pervasive data protection without impact to application response times. The family is supplied with Intel’s Intelligent Power technology to improve power across both the CPU and memory. The latest version of processors family supports per-core P states (PCPS) to optimize the power usage of each processor core.

The new family has what Chipzilla calls advanced multi-core, multi-threaded processing –  up to 22 cores (previously up to 18) and 44 threads (previously up to 36) per socket for running more and heavier workloads and higher density of VMs per server.

There is a larger cache: Up to 55MB (Previously up to 45MB) of last level cache for fast access to frequently used data. There is a faster memory with up to 48 DIMMS per four-socket server for memory-intensive applications and faster maximum memory speeds with DDR4 memory. Chipzilla claims that this gives higher performance for demanding workloads.

It has Optimized Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (Intel AVX 2.0) enables applications to run at maximum “turbo” frequencies wherever possibl and IIntel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 acceleration takes advantage of power and thermal headroom.

Flexible, high-performance hardware-enhanced virtualization: Improve overall reliability and responsiveness through new Intel Virtualization Technology features, including New Posted Interrupts, Page Modi cation Logging, and VM Enter/Exit latency reduction

It also has multiple rank sparing DDR4 recovery for command and address parity errors and the latest Intel Data Protection Technology.

Intel tells us that the new Intel Xeon E5-4600 v4 processor family is available now.

Courtesy-Fud

 

QLogic Gets Acquired

June 23, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

ARM Chip outfit Cavium has written a cheque for QLogic, a semiconductor firm which specialises in server and storage networking.

In what it calls a drive further into the data centre market. Cavium has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire all outstanding QLogic common stock in a deal worth approximately $1.36 billion.

The acquisition adds Qlogic’s Fibre Channel and Ethernet controllers and boards to Cavium’s line up of communications, security and general-purpose processors making Cavium a full-line supplier to data centres.

It also means that Cavium can take on storage and networking with Broadcom, Intel and Mellanox.  The deal also gives Cavium a mature software stack in storage and networking and operational savings expected to amount to $45 million a year by the end of 2017.

Both companies sell to server makers and large data centers with a customer overlap of more than 60 per cent. Qlogic’s customer base is highly concentrated with nearly 60 per cent of its business for the last several years to HP, Dell and IBM.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Twitter Acquires Machine Learning Company Magic Pony

June 22, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter has been quite vocal regarding its interest in machine learning in recent years, and earlier this week the company put its money where its mouth is once again by purchasing London startup Magic Pony Technology, which has focused on visual processing.

“Magic Pony’s technology — based on research by the team to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery — will be used to enhance our strength in live [streaming] and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter,” Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in a blog post announcing the news.

The startup’s team includes 11 Ph.Ds with expertise across computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing and computational neuroscience, Dorsey said. They’ll join Twitter’s Cortex group, made up of engineers, data scientists and machine-learning researchers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition follows several related purchases by the social media giant, including Madbits in 2014 and Whetlab last year.

 

 

 

Emojis Coming To The Big Screen

June 22, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Emojis have become an important and essential communication tool for most people using any messaging application, so naturally, now there’s a movie coming.

Sony Pictures Animation has announced that it will produce an animated movie about “the secret world of our phones and the beloved characters that have become daily necessities in global interpersonal communication.”

“Emojimovie: Express Yourself” is due in August 2017. It will be written by Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis and directed by Leondis. He previously wrote and directed “Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch” and “Igor.”

Deadline had earlier reported that Sony beat out two other movie studios bidding for the movie, paying “near seven figures” for the title.

So what emojis might make the cut and appear in the movie? The smiley seems the likely star and is the most-used emoji in every country except France, according to a SwiftKey study published in 2015. In France, the heart emoji is the favorite.

Emojis first appeared on cell phones in 1999 when NTT DoCoMo launched its i-Mode wireless Internet service in Japan. Since then, they have spread worldwide and are available on all modern smartphones, messaging systems and computers.

Emojis’ Japanese roots explain some of the stranger characters, which might mean little to people in the West but related to some important cultural festivals, food or other aspects of Japanese life.

 

 

 

Samsung Pivoting Towards 5G Mobile Technology

June 22, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Trailing its competitors after past mistakes on wireless technology standards, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd aims to become a global top-three player in 5G mobile networks by moving quickly in markets like the United States, an executive said.

The world’s top smartphone maker ranks well behind peers such as Nokia Corp, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd  and Ericsson in the networks business, after backing CDMA and WiMax wireless technologies that never caught on globally.

The South Korean giant now sees an opportunity to catch up by moving fast and early on 5G, the wireless technology that telecom equipment makers are rushing to develop as the next-generation standard.

“We plan to move quickly and want to be at least among the top three with 5G,” Kim Young-ky, Samsung’s network business chief, told Reuters in an interview.

“It’s important to get in early.”

5G wireless networks could offer data speeds tens of times faster than 4G technology, enabling futuristic products such as self-driving cars and smart-gadgets that tech firms expect to become ubiquitous in the homes of tomorrow.

Major network firms are targeting the United States as it moves rapidly ahead with plans to open spectrum for 5G wireless applications. Some U.S. officials expect to see the first large-scale commercial deployments by 2020.

Samsung is targetting more than 10 trillion won ($8.6 billion) in annual sales of 5G equipment by 2022, a spokeswoman said.

This would be a big step up for a networks business that generated less than 3 trillion won in revenue last year, compared with 100.5 trillion won in mobile device sales.

Crucial to its plans is a partnership with New York-based Verizon Communications Inc to commercialize the technology. Other firms working with Verizon on 5G include Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Intel Corp.

Verizon conducts field tests this year and aims to begin deploying 5G trials on home broadband services in 2017 in the United States, likely the first 5G application commercially available before a broader mobile network standard is agreed.

Samsung – which was a distant fifth player in the global 4G infrastructure market in January-March, according to researcher His – declined to comment on what clients it expected to receive 5G equipment orders from.

 

 

 

 

IBM Funds Researchers Who Create KiloCore Processor

June 22, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed 1000-core processor which will eventually be put onto the commercial market.

The team, from t developed the energy-efficient 621 million transistor “KiloCore” chip so that it could manage 1.78 trillion instructions per second and since the project has IBM’s backing it could end up in the shops soon.

Team leader Bevan Baas, professor of electrical and computer engineering said that it could be the world’s first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university.

While other multiple-processor chips have been created, none exceed about 300 processors. Most of those were created for research purposes and few are sold commercially. IBM, using its 32 nm CMOS technology, fabricated the KiloCore chip and could make a production run if required.

Because each processor is independently clocked, it can shut itself down to further save energy when not needed, said graduate student Brent Bohnenstiehl, who developed the principal architecture. Cores operate at an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 GHz, and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data.

The 1,000 processors can execute 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating only 0.7 Watts which mean it can be powered by a single AA battery. The KiloCore chip executes instructions more than 100 times more efficiently than a modern laptop processor.

The processor is already adapted for wireless coding/decoding, video processing, encryption, and others involving large amounts of parallel data such as scientific data applications and datacentre work.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is IBM’s Watson Driving Cars?

June 22, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

IBM has put its Watson artificial intelligence (AI) tech into a 3D printed car, merging two tech trends to create a self-driving pseudo milk float.

The electric vehicle, dubbed Olli, can hold up to 12 people rather than a load of bottled cow juice, and can be seen on the streets of Washington DC, and soon Miami-Dade County and Las Vegas.

OK, so we know that driverless cars are pretty much a thing now, particularly as we spotted one near Google’s Mountain View HQ. But the smart thing about Olli is its use of Watson Internet of Things (IoT) for Automotive, a version of the cognitive computing tech that allows people to talk to the vehicle.

Passengers can ask Olli the evergreen ‘Are we there yet?’ and it will answer, hopefully in a mildly exasperated voice. It’s basically a bit like Knight Rider‘s KITT only less stylish and without The Hoff.

However, Olli is not just a chatty car as the Watson IoT tech helps it to learn as it ferries people around and gathers data from over 30 sensors around the chassis.

The Olli was designed and built by Local Motors. Co-founder John B Rogers Jr, who has one of the most American names we have ever written, said: “Olli with Watson acts as our entry into the world of self-driving vehicles, something we’ve been quietly working on with our co-creative community for the past year.

“We are now ready to accelerate the adoption of this technology and apply it to nearly every vehicle in our current portfolio and those in the very near future. I’m thrilled to see what our open community will do with the latest in advanced vehicle technology.”

Several tech and car companies now working on driverless cars, and the roads could become an automotive robot battleground as Google’s self-driving cars compete with Mercedes’ autonomous automobiles.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Dell Close To Deal To Sell Software Business

June 21, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Buyout firm Francisco Partners and the private equity arm of activist hedge fund Elliott Management Corp are in advanced negotiations to purchase Dell Inc’s software division for more than $2 billion, three people familiar with the matter said.

Divesting the software assets will help Dell refocus its technology portfolio and bolster its balance sheet after it agreed in October to buy data storage company EMC Corp for $67 billion. EMC owns a controlling stake in VMware Inc, a cloud-based virtualization software company.

Dell is seeking to sell almost all of its software assets, including Quest Software, which helps with information technology management, as well as SonicWall, an e-mail encryption and data security provider, the people said.

Boomi, a smaller asset focusing on cloud-based software integration, will be retained by Dell, one of the people added.

An agreement between Dell and the consortium of Francisco Partners and Elliott could be reached as early as this week, the people said, cautioning that the negotiations could still end unsuccessfully.

The sources asked not to be identified because the negotiations are confidential. Dell declined to comment, while Francisco Partners and Elliott did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

A sale of Dell’s software division would free it from some of its least profitable assets and cap the program of divestitures that the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker embarked on following its deal with EMC. EMC shareholders are due to vote on the deal with Dell on July 19.

While Elliott has sought to buy companies in the past as part of its shareholder activist campaigns, the Dell software deal would represent its first major private equity investment since it hired Isaac Kim, previously a principal at private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, last year to help expand its capacity in leveraged buyouts.

Francisco Partners focuses on private equity investments in the technology sector. It has raised about $10 billion in capital and invested in more than 150 technology companies since it was launched more than 15 years ago.

 

 

 

FAA Set To Announce Commercial Drone Rules

June 21, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration this week is expected to unveil rules for the commercial use of drones, but the new regulations will limit their flights to daytime and to within the line of sight of operators.

The specifics of the rules, which will allow drones weighing about 50 pounds, could come at some point today, The Wall Street Journal reported, quoting industry officials. But they are unlikely to please some proposed commercial operations of drones, which would like the aircraft to be allowed to operate at night and outside the operator’s line of sight.

The FAA in February 2015 proposed draft rules, which would allow commercial drones, also known as unmanned aircraft systems, to operate, though under restrictions such as a maximum weight of 55 pounds (25 kilograms), flight altitude of a maximum of 500 feet (152 meters) above ground level, and rules that limit flights to daylight and to the visual line of sight of the operators.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in January that the much-delayed rules would be finalized by late spring. “By late spring, we plan to finalize Part 107, our small UAS rule, which will allow for routine commercial drone operations,” Huerta said at an event in May, reiterating the proposed timeline.

But Amazon.com told the FAA last year that the rules as proposed would not allow its Prime Air package delivery service to take off. Pointing out that its drones require minimal human intervention, Amazon recommended that the rules “specifically permit the operation of multiple small UAS by a single UAS operator when demonstrated that this can be done safely.”

The FAA said in May it was setting up a long-term advisory committee, led by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, to guide it on the integration of unmanned aircraft systems in the national airspace. The FAA has already been permitting as exemptions some experimental uses of drones.

New safety rules in the Federal Aviation Administration Reauthorization Act of 2016, passed by the U.S. Senate in April, propose a pilot program to develop and test technologies to intercept or shut down drones when they are near airports. To avoid conflict between the variety of laws enacted by the states and federal regulations on drones, the bill has proposed that the FAA rules on drones get preemption over local and state laws. But some legislators  are expected to oppose the rule that will prevent the states from making laws on drones as the bill goes to the U.S. House of Representatives.

 

 

Toyota To Build Artificial Intelligence-based Driving Systems

June 21, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Toyota Motor Corp is focusing developing in the next five years driver assistance systems that integrate artificial intelligence (AI) to improve vehicle safety, the head of its advanced research division said.

Gill Pratt, CEO of recently set up Toyota Research Institute (TRI), the Japanese automaker’s research and development company that focuses on AI, said it aims to improve car safety by enabling vehicles to anticipate and avoid potential accident situations.

Toyota has said the institute will spend $1 billion over the next five years, as competition to develop self-driving cars intensifies.

Earlier this month, home rival Honda Motor Co said it was setting up a new research body which would focus on artificial intelligence, joining other global automakers which are investing in robotics research, including Ford and Volkswagen AG.

“Some of the things that are in car safety, which is a near-term priority, I’m very confident that we will have some advances come out during the next five years,” Pratt told reporters late last week in comments embargoed for Monday.

The concept of allowing vehicles to think, act and take some control from drivers to perform evasive maneuvers forms a key platform of Toyota’s efforts to produce a car which can drive automatically on highways by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

While currently driver assistance systems largely use image sensors to avoid obstacles including vehicles and pedestrians within the car’s lane, Pratt said TRI was looking at AI solutions to enable “the car to be evasive beyond the one lane”.

“The intelligence of the car would figure out a plan for evasive action … Essentially (it would) be like a guardian angel, pushing on the accelerators, pushing on the steering wheel, pushing on the brake in parallel with you.”

As Japanese automakers race against technology companies to develop automated vehicles, they are also grappling with a rapidly graying society, which puts future demand for private vehicle ownership at risk.

Pratt said he saw the possibility that Toyota may one day become a maker of robots to help the elderly.

Asked of the potential for Toyota to produce robots for use in the home, he said: “That’s part of what we’re exploring at TRI.”

Pratt declined to comment on a media report earlier this month that Toyota is in talks with Google’s parent company Alphabet to acquire Boston Dynamics and Schafts, both of which are robotics divisions of the technology company.

 

AMD Finally Confirms Polaris Specs

June 21, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

In an official slides that have leaked, AMD has confirmed most of the specifications for both the Polaris 10 and the Polaris 11 GPUs which will power the upcoming Radeon RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 graphics cards.

According to the slides published by Computerbase.de, both GPUs are based on AMD’s 4th generation Graphics Core Next (GCN 4.0) GPU architecture, offer 2.8 perf/watt improvement compared to the previous generation, have 4K encode and decode capabilities as well as bring DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 and HDR support.

Powering three different graphics cards, these two GPUs will cover different market segments, so the Polaris 10, codename Ellesmere, will be powering both the Radeon RX 480, meant for affordable VR and 1440p gaming as well as the recently unveiled RX 470, meant to cover the 1080p gaming segment. The Polaris 10 packs 36 Compute Units (CUs) so it should end up with 2304 Stream Processors. Both the RX 480 and RX 470 should be coming with 4GB or 8GB of GDDR5 memory, paired up with a 256-bit memory interface. The Ellesmere GPU offers over 5 TFLOPs of compute performance and should peak at 150W.

The Radeon RX 470 should be based on Ellesmere Pro GPU and will probably end up with both lower clocks as well as less Stream Processors and according to our sources close to the company, should launch with a US $179 price tag, while the RX 480 should launch on 29th of June with a US $199 price tag for a reference 4GB version. Most AIB partners will come up with a custom 8GB graphics cards which should probably launch at US $279+.

The Polaris 11 GPU, codename Baffin, will have 16 CUs and should end up with 1024 Stream Processors. The recently unveiled Radeon RX 460 based on this GPU should come with 4GB of GDDR5 memory paired up with a 128-bit memory interface. The Radeon RX 460 targets casual and MOBA gamers and should provide decent competition to the Geforce GTX 950 as both have a TDP of below 75W and do not need additional PCIe power connectors.

According to earlier leaked benchmarks, AMD’s Polaris architecture packs quite a punch considering both its price and TDP so AMD just might have a chance to get a much needed rebound in the market share.

Courtesy-Fud