With the Wear platform, Qualcomm wants to drive the development of sleek wearables like smartwatches, smartbands and smartglasses that offer long battery life. With Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and LTE, Qualcomm is enabling more ways for wearables to connect and transfer data over the Internet, other than using the smartphone as an interface.
At the core of the new wearable platform, available now, is the Wear 2100 chip to which an LTE module can be attached. It is the first in a new family of chips the company will release for wearables.
LG Electronics said it would launch smartwatches and other wearables with the Wear 2100 chip by year end. LG last year announced the LG Watch Urbane 2nd Edition LTE, but scrapped the product due to hardware issues. That product could be launched with the Wear 2100 this year.
There are already wearables with cellular connectivity, but most have 2G/3G connectivity. LTE modems tend to be power hungry, and using the 2G/3G network is a more power-efficient way to transfer data using a cellular connection.
But Qualcomm over time has reduced the size of its LTE modems while making them more power efficient. The chip maker is now confident it can pack an LTE modem into a wearable like a smartwatch without hurting battery life.
Around 65 smartwatches with Android Wear already use Qualcomm chips. The Qualcomm Wear platform will also include software tools and reference designs for customers to develop devices.
The Wear 2100 chip is a smaller version of the Snapdragon 400 chip, which is currently used in smartphones. It is also more power-efficient, which could allow for longer battery life.
The chip has a sensor hub and algorithms so it can process data on the device before it is sent to the cloud. The on-board intelligence could help limit the amount of data sent over a cellular network, which could preserve battery life in a wearable.
Qualcomm is following the path of Intel and MIPS, which are offering developer boards for wearables. Intel’s Edison and Curie modules have been used in smartwatches, fabrics, helmets and other wearables, while MIPS offers the small Creator boards for enthusiasts to make wearables at homes.
Chip-designer ARM appears to have shrugged off a slump in smartphone sales that damaged everyone, even Apple and is reporting profits up 17 per cent on last year.
The UK outfit said net profit for the three months to December 31 rose to $132.7 million. Pretax profit adjusted for exceptional items rose 17 per cent year-on-year to $201.16 million, slightly higher than what analysts predicted.
Revenue, also adjusted, in dollar terms rose 14 per cent to $407.9 million, higher than a forecast of $402.5 million.
Chief Executive Simon Segars said that:
“2015 was a strong year for the shipment of chips containing advanced ARM technology, and momentum continued through the fourth quarter.”
For 2016, it expects dollar revenue to be broadly in line with market expectations. The company designs chip technology found in more than 95% of all smartphones, including Apple. It earns licensing fees from chip manufacturers such as Qualcomm and Nvidia and royalties on every chip shipped.
Google is researching into a more virtual realtiy technology which will probably just end up in the beta stage before the search engine gives up on the whole project.
Google is apparently developing a new virtual-reality headset for smartphones, and adding extra support for the technology to Android in a cunning plan to give Oculus a run for its money. We are not holding our breath, we keep getting announcements like this from Google and they always turn to be vapourware like Google Glass..
Anyway this one is to be a successor to Cardboard, the cheap-and-cheerful mobile VR viewer that Google launched in 2014 and you can sort of buy and sold more than than 5 million units.
This one will feature better sensors, lenses and a more solid plastic casing, according to people familiar with its plans. The smartphone-based device will be similar to the Gear VR, a collaboration between Samsung and Oculus that went on sale to consumers late last year.
Google is expected to release its rival headset, alongside new Android VR technology, this year. Like Cardboard and Gear VR, the new headset will use an existing smartphone, slotted into the device, for its display and most of its processing power. But it will still be VR for dummies. Google Cardboard relies solely on sensors already built into modern smartphones to detect the position of a user’s head while real VR kits are a bit better and suffer less from latency issues.
The updated Google headset will be compatible with a much broader range of Android devices than Gear VR, which only works with a handful of recent Samsung Galaxy smartphone models, as the Alphabet unit tries to bring the technology to a wider audience.
The thought is that by improving resolution and latency, the combination of better Android software and the new headset will allow viewers to spend longer in VR and enable developers to create more sophisticated apps.
This confirms what we noticed at CES where there were few people even showing 3D as a feature and one of them was LG.
Speaking to ET News in Korea, an LG representative stated that only its premium sets this year will be 3D capable, slashing the number of supporting TVs by half.
“Although 40 per cent of all TVs last year had 3D functions, only 20 per cent this year will. There are still consumers who enjoy 3D movies and others, so we are going to apply it mainly on premium products.”
Apparently Samsung is going the same way according to a supplier of 3D glasses who was told not to bother making compatible specs this year.
3D in the home has been in decline for the last two to three years, with first the BBC stopping producing its 3D material and Sky started killing off its dedicated channels last June. Sky still offers some 3D movies and content on demand.
It does not mean that 3D video is a dead format. It is still going strong in cinemas and we will probably see films made in that format for years. It is just that it never really worked in the home. Some of that might have been due to content, other reasons is that it tended to be erratic technology whcih was a little too much like hard work to set up. Quality also suffered in comparison some of the HD and UH pictures which were suddenly more realistic.
The Mozilla Foundation has confirmed details of its shift in strategy for Firefox OS which will see it abandon future phone development in favour of using the software as (yet another) IoT platform.
In an announcement to the developer community by John Bernard, director of collaboration for Connected Devices at Mozilla, and George Roter, head of core contributors, it was confirmed that Firefox OS for smartphones will be canned at version 2.6.
“The circumstances of multiple established operating systems and app ecosystems meant that we were playing catch-up, and the conditions were not there for Mozilla to win on commercial smartphones,” they said in a statement.
Meh. Could have told you that one two years ago.
In addition, the Firefox OS Marketplace will no longer accept submissions for Android, desktop and tablet apps. Apps for Firefox OS itself will remain accepted until sometime in 2017.
At the moment, the new emphasis on connected devices is in the internal testing phase with three products ‘past the first gate’ and more in the pipeline. It is expected that this process will be opened to outsiders before the end of the second quarter.
The foxfooding (think dogfooding, or insider programme) will continue, turning its focus to connected products, and by the end of March, Mozilla intends to identify how the existing Sony Z3 Compact devices used for testing so far will figure going forwards.
The statement continued “Obviously, these decisions are substantial. The main reason they are being made is to ensure we are focusing our energies and resources on bringing the power of the web to IoT. And let’s remember why we’re doing this: we’re entering this exciting, fragmented space to ensure users have choice through interoperable, open solutions, and for us to act as their advocates for data privacy and security.”
This seems to suggest that Mozilla wants to help the fragmentation issue by fragmenting it further. This is the ongoing problem with connected devices – everyone wants to be the one to end the fragmentation with their solution.
One of the solutions through the internal tests early doors is the Firefox Smart TV platform, an already fragmented market that should still be licking its wounds from the Matchstick debacle.
Roter adds, “Our push into the Connected Devices space will absolutely necessitate strong community support for our initiatives to be successful – and that means hacking on and testing new product innovations coming through the pipeline.”
Google is set to announce that it is working with Qualcomm to design servers based on ARM processors, in a move which could give the British chip designer some street cred in the data centre market.
Google is apparently going public with its backing for Qualcomm’s chips at an investor meeting next week. It is saying that if the chips meet certain performance goals, Google will commit to using them.
It is too early to say if this is going to be the sort of support to ARM and snub to Intel that Qualcomm hopes for. Google tries lots of different technology out there to reduce its huge server costs. At this point it is uncertain if the current effort has ticked all Google’s boxes either.
Two years ago, Google supported for IBM’s Power processor and it even built its own Power server board. Nothing has been said about it since. Google last year made vague statements that it’s keeping its options open.
Google will test Qualcomm’s server chips, just as it tested IBM’s, because it wants to shave costs off of running its expensive infrastructure. It will be important if Google decides to put a new architecture in production.
More importantly it forces Intel reduce its prices and to develop new, more power-efficient parts.
Urs Holzle, who’s in charge of Google’s data centres, once published a paper on the topic titled “Brawny cores still beat wimpy cores, most of the time.” However things have moved on a bit since 2010 when he wrote that.
It would be a surprise if Qualcomm could bag Google as a customer this early on in the game. Derek Aberle, Qualcomm’s president, told investors last week that shipments would begin “probably within the next year or so.” But he suggested significant sales are still “out a few years.”
AMD has unveiled a handful of new processors as part of its 2016 desktop refresh, including the first chip based on the Excavator core to target desktop PCs. The firm will also release new motherboards with high-speed USB 3.1 ports and connectors to support M.2 Sata SSDs.
AMD’s new desktop processors are available now, and aimed chiefly at the enthusiast and gamer markets. They comprise three chips fitting into the firm’s FM2+ processor socket infrastructure for mainstream systems.
Two of these chips are based on the Godavari architecture and are APUs featuring Steamroller CPU cores and Graphics Core Next GPU cores. The A10-7860K has four CPU cores and eight GPU cores with a clock speed of 3.6GHz, while the A6-7470K has dual CPU cores and four GPU cores at a clock speed of 3.7GHz. Both have a maximum Turbo speed of 4GHz.
The A10-7860K is not AMD’s top-end chip, coming in below the A10-7870K and the A10-7890K, but it does replace three existing chips in the A10 line-up, the A10-7850K, A10-7700K and A10-7800.
“The interesting thing about the A10-7860K is that it delivers the same high 4GHz Turbo speed, but it is a 65W part, so it delivers comparable performance to the A10-7850K, but we’re dropping 30W,” said AMD client product manager Don Woligroski.
The third chip is badged under AMD’s Athlon brand, as it has CPU cores only and does not qualify as an APU. The Athlon X4 845 features four of the new Excavator cores used in the mobile Carrizo platform, clocked at 3.5GHz with a Turbo speed of up to 3.8GHz.
Neither is the Athlon X4 845 at the top of the Athlon stack, but is “more of an efficient, really great low-cost part”, according to Woligroski.
AMD will also deliver new motherboards to complement the latest processors sometime during the first quarter of 2016. These bring support for USB 3.1 Gen2 ports with the new Type-C connector, offering 10Gbps data rates, plus connectors for M.2 SATA SSD modules. M.2 modules are more usually seen in laptop and mobile systems because of their compact size.
Future AMD desktop chips will converge on a common socket infrastructure known as AM4, according to Woligroski. The first processors to use this are likely to be the upcoming Summit Ridge desktop chip and Bristol Ridge APU.
AMD also announced a new heatsink and fan combination for cooling the chips. The AMD Wraith Cooler (below) is claimed to deliver 34 percent more airflow while generating less than a 10th of the noise of its predecessor at 39dbA.
According to Technology Review University of North Carolina in Charlotte say the new transistor controls the electrons to flow through it so that when the lights are on it and turns itself off when it gets dark.
This means that devices can be made smaller than field effect transistors because they don’t require doping in the same way and can be squeezed into smaller spaces. Meanwhile the speeds are faster.
Apparently the idea is not rocket science and is based on the idea that materials have been known to be photoconductive.
What the team has done is create a device which uses a ribbon of cadmium and selenium a couple of atoms thick. This can conduct more than a million times more current when on than off. This is about the same as regular transistors.
Of course it is years away from being a product yet. They still have not worked out how to send light to each transistor and if that will cost more power.
Cisco Systems Inc announced that it will acquire Technologies Inc, a startup that connects devices like cars and medical devices to the Internet, for $1.4 billion in cash and equity awards, its largest acquisition since 2013.
Legacy technology companies like Cisco have been trying to find paths for growth while new technology developments, such as the rise of cloud computing, threaten their core businesses. The emerging field dubbed Internet of Things, offers Cisco, known for networking equipment, a chance to offer cutting-edge technology to its current customers.
In addition to connecting devices to the Internet, Jasper makes a software platform that helps monitor these devices once they are online.
Rob Salvagno, Cisco’s vice president of corporate development, said in an interview that the Internet of Things has been a priority for Cisco for the past few years.
“We’ve been keeping an eye on this market and what we noticed was that Jasper represented a unique asset. We believe they are the largest Internet of Things service platform of scale today,” he said.
Connecting myriad objects to the Internet is in its infancy today, said Gaurav Garg, a Jasper board member and a partner at Wing Venture Capital who compared the potential of the technology to the early days of the electrical grid.
“Who thought we’d be plugging computers and all sorts of things into it?” he asked, assigning similar possibilities to the Internet of Things.
Cisco, which has acquired dozens of smaller companies over the years, is shifting its business toward high-end switches and routers and investing in new products such as data analytics software and cloud-based tools for data centers.
Jasper is the largest deal for Cisco since it acquired security company Sourcefire for $2.7 billion in 2013.
Jasper had been planning an initial public offering and had banks to help it prepare. Its investors, such as Singapore’s Temasek, Sequoia Capital and Benchmark Capital, will now get a chance to cash out without having to brave the rocky equity markets, which have seen no technology IPOs this year.
Jasper’s chief executive, Jahangir Mohammed, will stay on with Cisco and run a new Internet of Things Software Business unit once the deal closes in the third quarter.
MediaTek’s a Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David Ku has confirmed that the company plans to ship the X30 in 2016.
The X30 has been ephemeral product for quite some time although it had been expected that the X30 would follow the X20 eventually. Ku expects that phones based on Helio P10 and X20 should start to arrive in this quarter.
The majority of the design wins for the performance and mainstream phones for the first half of 2016 will be for last year’s flagship the Helio X10, the upcoming Helio P10 and soon to become new flagship Helio X20.
Ku mentioned during the company’s fourth financial quarter of 2015 that Mediatek will launch a Helio X30 and that this will happen in the second part of the year. This was the time of the year when Mediatek launched the X20.
The X30 will be released in 2016 but the phones will only show up in 2017.
The normal design cycle of the phone usually lasts 12 to 18 months. The Helio P20, the company’s first 16nm SoC is expected in the second half of 2016. With some luck, we might see some device shipping with this new SoC before the end of the year.
MediaTek didn’t give any additional information about the Helio X30, other than to acknowledge its existence. Let’s first see how the Helip X20 and P10 will do this year.
AMD has revealed what it claims are the world’s first hardware virtualized GPU products — AMD FirePro S-Series GPUs with Multiuser GPU (MxGPU) technology.
The big idea is to have a product for remote workstation, cloud gaming, cloud computing, and Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI).
In the virtualization ecosystem, key components like the CPU, network controller and storage devices are being virtualized in hardware to deliver optimal user experiences. So far the GPU has been off the list.
AMD MxGPU technology, for the first time, brings the modern virtualization industry standard to the GPU hardware.
AMD MxGPU technology is based on SR-IOV (Single Root I/O Virtualization), a PCI Express standard and brings hardware GPU scheduling logic to the user.
The outfit claims that it preserves the data integrity of Virtualized Machines (VM) and their application data through hardware-enforced memory isolation logic preventing one VM from being able to access another VM’s data.
It also exposes all graphics functionality of the GPU to applications allowing for full virtualization support for not only graphics APIs like DirectX and OpenGL but also GPU compute APIs like OpenCL .
The new AMD FirePro S7150 and AMD FirePro S7150 x2 server graphics cards will combine with OEM offerings to create high-performance virtual workstations and address IT needs of simple installation and operation, critical data security and outstanding performance-per-dollar.
Typical VDI use cases include Computer-Aided Design (CAD), Media and Entertainment, and office applications powered by the industry’s first hardware-based virtualized GPU.
Sean Burke, corporate vice president and general manager, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD said that the AMD hardware virtualization GPU product line is another example of its commitment to offering customers exceptional cutting edge graphics in conjunction with fundamental API software support.
“We created the innovative AMD FirePro S-series GPUs to deliver a precise, secure, high performance and enriched graphics user experience — all provided without per user licensing fees required to use AMD’s virtualized solution.”
Jon Peddie, president, Jon Peddie Research. “The move to virtualization of high-performance graphics capabilities typically associated with standalone workstations only makes sense, and will likely gain significant traction in the coming years.”
Pat Lee, senior director, Remote Experience for Desktop and Application Products, VMware said that AMD FirePro S7150 and AMD FirePro S7150 x2 GPUs complement VMware Horizon by giving more users a richer, more compelling user experience. Systems equipped with AMD FirePro cards can provide VMware Horizon users with enhanced video and graphics performance, benefiting especially those installations that focus on CAD and other 3D intensive applications.”
IT budgets can support for up to 16 simultaneous users with a single AMD FirePro S7150 GPU card which features 8 GB of GDDR5 memory, while up to twice as many simultaneous users (32 in total) can be supported by a single AMD FirePro S7150 x2 card which includes a total of 16 GB of GDDR5 memory (8GB per GPU). Both models feature 256-bit memory bandwidth.
Based on AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) architecture to optimize utilization and maximize performance, the AMD FirePro S7150 and S7150 x2 server GPUs feature:
• AMD Multiuser GPU (MxGPU) technology to enable consistent, predictable and secure performance from virtualized workstations with the world’s first hardware-based virtualized GPU products to enable users with workstation-class experiences matched with full ISV certifications.
• GDDR5 GPU Memory to help accelerate applications and process computationally complex workflows with ease.
• Error Correcting Code (ECC) Memory to ensure the accuracy of computations by correcting any single or double bit error as a result of naturally occurring background radiation.
• OpenCL 2.0 support to help professionals tap into the parallel computing power of modern GPUs and multicore CPUs to accelerate compute-intensive tasks in leading CAD/CAM/CAE and Media & Entertainment applications that support OpenCL allowing developers to take advantage of new GPU features.
• AMD PowerTune is an intelligent power management system that monitors both GPU activity and power draw. AMD PowerTune optimizes the GPU to deliver low power draw when GPU workloads do not demand full activity and delivers the optimal clock speed to ensure the highest possible performance within the GPU’s power budget for high intensity workloads.
AMD FirePro S7150 and S7150 x2 server GPUs are expected to be available from server technology providers in the first half of 2016.
The AMD FirePro S-Series GPUs with MxGPU technology are being exhibited in a Dell server system at SolidWorks World 2016 in Dallas, Texas at the moment.
The dark satanic rumour mill has been flat out manufacturing hell on earth yarns that Nvidia is about to release a new Pascal GPU soon.
The logic is that Nvidia has the time to counter AMD’s Polaris by pushing out a Pascal GPU sooner than anyone expected.
Kotaku claims that NVIDIA looks set to beat AMD’s Polaris architecture when the new GPU appears. In fact it hinted that AMD brought down the price of the Radeon R9 Nano to $499 to counter this move in the high end of the market.
The latest rumor is that Nvidia will be churning out Pascal architecture in all its GPUs from April. When the new GPUs arrive they will be marketed as “TITAN-grade” which goes to show that they will be replacing the current offerings that are marketed under the “TITAN” brand. As for the main GP100 chip will come with 32GB of VRAM.
These rumors about the GPUs with the Pascal architecture are currently based on shipping manifests that have spotted on the Zauba database in India which deals with products that are imported or exported from the country.
It is thought that Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang will unveil the Pascal GPU in April during the GPU Technology Conference. In fact it is likely that Huang will announce it during his April 4 keynote which is the conference’s first day.
In a sweeping change of course directed at a tightly controlled television industry, cable and satellite operators in the United States will now be obligated to let their customers freely choose which set-top boxes they can use, according to a proposal announced by the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday.
The move is expected to have wide-ranging implications for large technology companies looking to get their brand names into every consumer’s living room. For example, under the new rules, Google, Amazon and Apple would now be allowed to create entertainment room devices that blend Internet and cable programming in a way the television industry has until now resisted. Next-generation media players, including the Chromecast, Fire TV and Apple TV, would now be granted permission to line the backs of their devices with coaxial inputs and internal “smart access card” equivalents integrated right into device firmware with a simple subscription activation process.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut investigated the cable set-top box market last summer and found that the cable industry generates roughly $19.1 billion in annual revenue from cable box rentals alone.
Meanwhile, the cost of cable set-top boxes has risen 185 percent since 1995, while the cost of PCs, televisions and smartphones has dropped by 90 percent. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler admits that these economies of scale don’t need to remain so unbalanced any longer.
The FCC says its focus will be primarily on improving day-to-day television experience. In the past, the burdensome requirements of long-term contracts tethered to clunky, unsightly cable and satellite boxes has been a major source of customer complaints.
Wheeler has also said that access to specific video content shouldn’t be frustrating to the average consumer in an age where we are constantly surrounded by a breadth of information to sift through. “Improved search functions [can] lead consumers to a variety of video content that is buried behind guides or available on video services you can’t access with your set-top box today,” Wheeler says.
The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal on Thursday, February 18th. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s full statement on the commission’s new proposal can be found here.
The application, called Smart Notice, is a kind of multifunctional widget, managing contacts, notifications, and weather and traffic alerts.
Once the code was on the phone, any information stored on its SD card, such as private images and chat logs, could be stolen.
“The root cause for the security problem is the fact that Smart Notice does not validate the data presented to the users,” BugSec and Cynet wrote in a blog post on Thursday.
The researchers found a variety of ways to trigger their malicious code and carry out actions, such as opening a phishing site that tries to steal a person’s Gmail credentials or prompt a person to download a remote access trojan.
“With a little tweak, we were able to load external scripts from a remote host and ‘refresh’ our code every few seconds, giving us the ability to have active command and control over the LG phone and send new payloads,” the companies wrote.
It was also possible to conduct a denial-of-service attack that could only be stopped by doing a hard reset of the phone, they wrote.
The social network continues to see surging interest in video. During one day last quarter, its users watched a combined 100 million hours of video. Roughly 500 million users watch at least some video each day.
That’s a lot of video and a lot of viewers, and Facebook wants to capitalize on it.
“We are exploring a dedicated place on Facebook for when they just want to watch videos,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday during a conference call to discuss Facebook’s quarterly financial results.
But he was tight-lipped on how the video might actually be presented.
Asked if a stand-alone video app is in the cards, he mentioned the success of Messenger and a Facebook app for managing Pages. “I do think there are additional opportunities for this and we’ll continue looking at them,” he said.
Facebook wants to encourage more video viewing because it keeps users on the site longer, helping it to sell more ads.
“Marketers also really love video and it’s a compelling way to reach consumers,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said during the call.
Zuckerberg has been watching the growth of video for osme time. At a town hall meeting in November 2014, he predicted, ”In five years, most of [Facebook] will be video.”
And it’s likely that most of that video will be consumed over mobile networks.
Among Facebook’s heaviest users — the billion people who access it on a daily basis — 90 percent use a mobile device, either solely or in addition to their PC.
It’s financial results for the fourth quarter were strong. Revenue was $5.8 billion, up 52 percent from the same period in 2014, while net profit more than doubled to $1.6 billion.