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Samsung To Sell Monitor That Can Wirelessly Charge Smartphones

July 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Samsung Electronics wants to unclutter your home with a monitor that can wirelessly charge smartphones and other mobile devices.

The SE370 monitor will come in 23.6-inch and 27-inch formats and is the industry’s first to have an integrated wireless charging station, the South Korean manufacturer said Monday.

But your phone will have to support the Qi wireless charging standard, which was developed by the Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) and is supported by makers such as Samsung, Sony, LG, HTC and Huawei.

The charging area is on the stand for the monitor, and an LED lights up when it’s in use. The monitor has a 1920 x 1080 resolution and is optimized for video games, with richer black hues when it’s in game mode. The screen will not distort graphics with stutter and lag and has a response time of 4 milliseconds, Samsung said.

Compatible with Mac OS X and Windows 10, the SE370 also has an eye-saver mode that reduces blue light, which is believed to cause eye strain and sleep problems.

Samsung did not provide information about pricing or availability for the SE370 monitor and did not immediately respond to a request for more information.

The company’s Galaxy S6 and GS6 edge flagship smartphones support the Qi and rival Power Matters Alliance (PMA) standards for wireless charging. Earlier this year, Samsung released its own branded charging pad to juice them up.

The latest Qi specification, announced last month, will allow manufacturers to provide much faster wireless power charging options than earlier versions.

The platform has also caught on with makers such as Ikea, which launched a collection of furniture in April with built-in Qi-enabled wireless chargers.

Qi had been competing with PMA and the Alliance for Wireless Power (A4WP). Following a decision earlier this year, however, the two organizations announced their merger in June, with a new name yet to be decided.

 

 

Does Steam Have A Security Issue?

July 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

A security problem with the Steam gaming on-demand system means that players and their personal details are at risk.

It is possible that one day we will report on which companies made it through the night without being hacked or without exposing their users.

For now, though, the opposite is the norm and today we are reporting about a problem with gaming system Steam that, you guessed it, has dangled the personal details of punters within the reach of ne’er-do-wells.

The news is not coming out of Steam, or parent Valve, directly, but it is running rampant across social networks and the gaming community. The problem, according to reports and videos, was a bad one and made the overtaking of user accounts rather a simple job.

No badass end-of-level boss to beat here, just a stage in the authentication process. A video posted online demonstrates the efforts required, while some reports – with access to Steam’s PR hot air machine – say that the problem is fixed.

A statement released to gaming almanac Kotaku finds the firm in apologetic clean-up mode.

Steam told the paper that some users would have their passwords reset, those being the ones who might have seen their log-in changed under suspicious circumstances, and that in general users should already be protected from the risks at hand.

“To protect users, we are resetting passwords on accounts with suspicious password changes during that period or may have otherwise been affected,” the firm said.

“Relevant users will receive an email with a new password. Once that email is received, it is recommended that users log-in to their account via the Steam client and set a new password.

“Please note that, while an account password was potentially modified during this period, the password itself was not revealed. Also, if Steam Guard was enabled, the account was protected from unauthorized log-ins even if the password was modified.”

The firm added its apologies to the community.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Massive iPhone Counterfeiting Operation Shut Down In China

July 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Police in Beijing have raided a factory that made more than 41,000 fake iPhones worth as much as 120 million yuan ($19 million), including some that reached the United States, and have arrested nine suspects in the counterfeiting operation.

Apple is one of the most popular brands in China, where authorities have stepped up efforts in recent years to dispel the country’s reputation for turning out counterfeit goods.

Officials have taken stiffer action to enforce intellectual property (IP) rights, pushed firms to apply for trademarks and patents and cracked down on fakes.

Police arrested nine people, including a married couple who led the operation, after a raid in May on the factory, run under the guise of a gadget maintenance shop on the northern outskirts of the Chinese capital.

The details were revealed in a social media posting on Sunday by the public security bureau in Beijing.

The group, headed by a 43-year old man, surnamed Yu, and his 40-year old wife, surnamed Xie, both from the southern hardware manufacturing city of Shenzhen, allegedly set up the Beijing factory with six assembly lines in January, the bureau said.

They hired “hundreds” of workers to repackage second-hand smartphone components as iPhones for export, it added.

Police seized 1,400 handsets and large quantities of accessories during the May 14 raid. In the United States, the newest Apple Inc handsets can fetch $649, or more, depending on the model.

Beijing police said their investigation followed a tip-off from U.S. authorities who seized some of the fake devices.

The destination of the counterfeit phones, and how many made it there, remains unknown.

Public security representatives declined to comment on Monday, telling Reuters they had no additional information.

Apple also declined to comment, saying the investigation was ongoing.

 

 

Best Buy To Begin Selling Apple Watch In August

July 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The Apple Watch will go on sale at stores of Best Buy Co Inc, the largest U.S.consumer electronics chain, starting Aug. 7.

The Apple Watch and Apple Watch Sport models will be sold at more than 300 Best Buy stores in time for the holiday shopping season, a spokeswoman for Apple Inc  said.

“Customers love Apple Watch, and we are thrilled to begin offering it at Best Buy,” she said in an email.

Best Buy is the first retailer to sell the watch outside of the Apple retail store.

“The Apple Watch is an important addition to an emerging product category, and we know our customers want it,” Jason Bonfig, senior category officer, said on the Best Buy website.

The company said the product will also be available on its online store BestBuy.com.

The Wall Street Journal first reported that the Apple watch was coming to Best Buy.

Apple Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri told Reuters earlier this month that sales of the Apple Watch had beat the company’s expectations. He said in the nine weeks since its launch in late April, the device had sold better than either iPhones or iPads over a similar period after their launch.

 

 

Cloud Services Behind Amazon’s Rising Revenue

July 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc’s shares surged more than 20 percent last Friday, adding more than $46 billion to the company’s market value, after strong growth in the e-commerce giant’s cloud business drove a surprise quarterly profit.

The company’s market capitalization soared to more than $270 billion, overtaking that of Wal-Mart Stores, the world’s biggest retailer.

Revenue from Amazon’s cloud operations – Amazon Web Services (AWS) – nearly doubled in the second quarter, indicating that the business was poised to drive sustainable earnings for the online retailer, Wall Street analysts said.

Operating margins at the unit jumped to 21.4 pct from 7.7 percent.

“Product sales are Amazon’s bread, but AWS is its butter,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said in a note, raising his price target on the stock by 21 percent to $700.

“They delivered a pretty large profit, we expected a loss … they exercised discipline and did not invest in new consumer electronic product launches.”

Investors have raised concerns that the company’s aggressive spending may not pay off. But strong growth in AWS and positive commentary on the Amazon Prime service allayed some worries.

Amazon Prime members, who pay $99 a year for speedier delivery and exclusive access to certain movies, music and Kindle books, tend to spend more than regular users of Amazon’s services.

“The scale of their distribution network is starting to generate better incremental margins,” Barclays analyst Paul Vogel said.

“That, coupled with the continued strong growth in both revenue and margins at AWS, moves us from cautious to optimistic on the next year of growth for Amazon.”

Amazon, which last reported a profit in the fourth quarter of 2014, considers AWS its main engine of growth, along with Amazon Prime and Marketplace, where the company acts as a middleman for third-party vendors.

 

 

 

HP Goes After Security In Smartwatches

July 24, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

HP has released a study suggesting that anyone who uses a smartwatch is offering their wrist to vagabonds, criminals and privacy probers.

Blam! HP ain’t messing. “You got a smartwatch?” it says. “Then damn, son, you are in trouble!”*

A report apparently straight outta HP finds that the smartwatch lets us all down by not doing encryption right, not considering privacy and using second rate authentication.

In the current threat market, this would be a pretty much a full house of problems and pretty bad form on the part of providers like Apple.

Security firm Bitdefender has wrapped itself around the study, and describes the threat as “extreme” in its reporting of the HP smartwatch horror story.

The INQUIRER has not been able to find the report, but it has found mention of it. We shall turn to what we can while our inquiries hang in PR purgatory.

ESET has its own report on the study and offers advice on securing wearable technology, including smartwatches, on its website.

The security firm quotes from the report, saying that HP security personnel are fretting about increased adoption and the rising tide of threats.

“Smartwatches have only started to become a part of our lives, but they deliver a new level of functionality and we will increasingly use them for sensitive tasks,” Jyoti Prakash, country director for India and south Asia at HP Enterprise Security Products, is quoted as saying.

“As this activity accelerates, the watch platform will become vastly more attractive to those who would abuse that access, and it’s critical that we take precautions when transmitting personal sensitive data or bringing smartwatches into the workplace.”

The best practice if a zombie has bitten your arm and infected you with a virus, for example, would be to chop it off. Your arm, that is.

Here, we suggest that perhaps you consider what you share, where you share it and what you share it on as your best response.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Samsung Targets 10nm FinFET

July 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung has put 10nm FinFET in its roadmap to stop its customers migrating to TSMC.
There were some rumours that Samsung may alter its schedule in order to prevent clients that might consider switching to 10nm chips from TSMC as that outfit is expected to skip the 14nm process and go straight to 10nm

Kelvin Low from Samsung Foundry confirmed in a video posted on YouTube that Samsung has formally added 10nm FinFET into the process roadmap, for chip designers working in mobile, consumer or networking market segment the new chips will provide significant performance and power consumption improvements.

Samsung LSI division has already shown off its first 10nm wafers which was a symbolic message to major clients that Samsung is more than capable of getting its 10nm production lines up and running without much hassle. Low expected 10nm products to appear at the end of 2016

Courtesy-Fud

Is ARM Being Hurt By Apple?

July 23, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Investors in ARM are deeply worried about its close relationship to the fruity cargo cult Apple.

ARM released its results which looked great, but investors were looking at its close ties to Jobs’ Mob which posted results which were disappointing.

Shares dropped 3.1 per cent on the back of Apple’s results. Apple uses ARM’s processor designs in its range of iThings.

It seems odd as ARMs Revenues rose 22 per cent to $17.5m for its second quarter, while pre-tax profits increased 32 per cent to $90.9m, compared with the same period last year.

The chip designer signed 54 processor licences for the three months, a “record” number.

Simon Segars, ARM chief exec, said a diverse range of companies chose to license ARM’s latest processors in the second quarter and physical IP for future product developments.

“ARM has been investing in advanced technology products for mobile devices, automotive applications and enterprise infrastructure, and in Q2 ARM signed licences for many of these new products. This licensing activity will help to grow the royalty revenue opportunity for years to come,” he said.

Courtesy-Fud

TSMC Finally Goes 16nm FinFET

July 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

TSMC president and co-CEO Mark Liu has announced his outfit has begun volume shipment of chips based on its 16-nm FinFET manufacturing process.

He added that the ramping of the 16-nm process will be even more aggressive than that of its 20-nm process and he wants to gain foundry market share over the remainder of 2015 and well into 2016 on the back of the technology.

The foundry expects 16-nm processor shipments to begin contributing to revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015, since the process will ramp up during much of the third quarter.

TSMC moved quickly from 20-nm to 16-nm manufacturing claiming that 16 nanometer shared a similar metal backend process with 20 nanometer. In other words its 16 FinFET benefited from what it learnt doing 20-nanometer.

Liu also talked about the foundry’s 10-nm and 7-nm processes, saying that the recent product-like validation vehicle milestone was encouraging and that its plans are on-track.

TSMC plans to make 7-nm validation samples in the second quarter of 2017, just fifteen months after 10-nm validation.

Courtesy-Fud

AMD Adds Cheaper APU For Windows 10

July 21, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD has added a more affordable chip to its A-Series line-up of desktop accelerated processing units (APUs), which the firm said enables more efficient processing in Windows 10 devices.

The A8-7670K APU is touted to combine the energy efficient processing power of a CPU with the graphics power of the firm’s Radeon GPU in one package.

This is much like the A10-7870K which AMD added to the Kaveri A-Series line of processors at Computex in May, bringing better performance for the online gaming, or ‘e-sports’, industry.

Like the new model, the A10-7870K was announced as a single processor delivering up to 48 percent higher frame rates in the most popular online games, as well as three times greater efficiency in DirectX 12 than “competing solutions”.

Powered by 10 compute cores, four CPUs running at up to 3.9GHz and six GPUs running at 757MHz, the new offering provides an even cheaper choice while still powering Windows 10 tasks such as video streaming and playing online games such as Counter Strike: Global Offensive, and providing smoother user experiences.

The single processor design means that AMD can keep the price down compared with competing solutions that comprise a CPU and GPU.

“The A8-7670K APU provides the processing and graphics capability that budget conscious mainstream users need today,” said AMD.

“The new addition of the AMD A8-7670K APU allows us to deliver more options for discerning mainstream PC buyers, [with the] latest driver and feature support allowing incredible new entry points for impressive gaming technologies such as FreeSync and Virtual Super Resolution.”

As with most AMD APUs, the main features of the new chip include Heterogeneous System Architecture, which allows the CPU and GPU to work together in supported applications by quickly and automatically dividing and directing the right tasks to the appropriate cores.

It’s this feature that is said to help accelerate Windows 10, such as boosting performance in the new Microsoft Edge web browser with full graphics acceleration for HTML5 and WebGL.

It will also help protect sensitive data with hardware accelerated encryption and decryption when using Microsoft Bitlocker, AMD said.

The A8-7670K APU is available from today at selected e-tailers and participating system vendors for a suggested price of $117.99, about 75 quid.

Courtesy-TheInq

AMD Misses Again

July 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Fabless chipmaker AMD has come up with a mixed set of results for the second quarter. The company managed to make as much cash as the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected, but missed revenue expectations.

In fact its revenues were below the psychologically important billion figure at $942 million.

We knew it was going to be bad. Last week we were warned that the results would be flat. The actual figure was $942m, an 8.5 per cent sequential decline and a 34.6 per cent drop from the same period a year ago.

As you might expect, there are some measures of this not being AMD’s fault. The company is almost entirely dependent on PC sales. Not only have these fallen but don’t look like they are going to pick up for a while.

AMD’s Computing and Graphics division reported revenue of $379m, which was down 54.2 per cent, year-on-year. Its operating loss was $147m, compared to a $6m operating loss for last year’s quarter.

Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO, in a statement said that strong sequential revenue growth in AMD’s enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom segment and channel business was not enough to offset near-term problems in its PC processor business.  This was  due to lower than expected consumer demand that impacted sales to OEMs, she said.

“We continue to execute our long-term strategy while we navigate the current market environment. Our focus is on developing leadership computing and graphics products capable of driving profitable share growth across our target markets,” she added.

In the semi-custom segment, AMD makes chips for video game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles. That segment did reasonably well, up 13 percent from the previous quarter but down 8 percent from a year ago.

But AMD’s core business of processors and graphics chips fell 29 percent from the previous quarter and 54 percent from a year ago. AMD said it had decreased sales to manufacturers of laptop computers.

Figures like this strap a large target on AMD’s back with a sign saying “take me over” but AMD is not predicting total doom yet.

For the third quarter, AMD expects revenue to increase 6 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, sequentially, which is a fairly conservative outlook given the fact that Windows 10 is expected to push a few sales its way.

AMD supplies chips to the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles and these seem to be going rather well.

Courtesy-Fud

Facebook’s Oculus Acquires Gesture Recognition Firm Pebble

July 17, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Facebook’s Oculus unit announcd that it has agreed to acquire Israeli gesture recognition technology developer Pebbles Interfaces for an undisclosed amount.

The announcement was made in a blog posted by Oculus.

Israel’s Calcalist financial news website said the deal was worth tens of millions of dollars.

While other companies pioneering the virtual reality field focus on full-body movement, Pebbles’ technology detects and tracks hand movement. It is aimed primarily at gamers but also has applications for TV, computers, or smartphone operation while driving.

Recently Pebbles integrated its technology with Oculus glasses, which translate finger gestures into virtual movement through a camera mounted on the glass frame, Calcalist said.

Investors in Pebbles include Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi, Israeli venture capital fund Giza and U.S. storage firm SanDisk, Calcalist said.

 

 

Intel’s 2nd Quarter Profits Up

July 17, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The maker of chips and bits, Intel is doing better than the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected.

Intel issued its quarterly results today and saw growth in its data centers and Internet-of-Things businesses offset weak demand for personal computers that use the company’s chips.

Intel said that it was expanding its line-up of higher-margin chips used in data centers to counter slowing demand from the PC industry. Its cunning plan to buy Altera for $16.7 billion in April was all about trying to do this.

Revenue from the data centres grew 9.7 percent to $3.85 billion in the second quarter from a year earlier, helped by cloud services companies and demand for data analytics.

Chief Financial Officer Stacy Smith was predicting robust growth rates of the data center group, Internet of Things group and NAND businesses.

Revenue from the PC business, which is still Intel’s largest, fell 13.5 percent to $7.54 billion in the quarter ended June 27.

However there was more doom about the PC market which Smith said was going to be weaker than previously expected.

Research firm Gartner thinks global PC shipments will fall 4.5 percent to 300 million units in 2015, and life is going to be pretty pants until 2016.

Intel forecast current-quarter revenue of $14.3 billion, plus or minus $500 million. Wall Street predicted a revenue of $14.08 billion.

The company’s net income fell to $2.71 billion from $2.80 billion a year earlier.

Net revenue fell 4.6 percent to $13.19 billion, but edged past the average analyst estimate of $13.04 billion. Intel’s stock fell about 18 percent this year.

Courtesy-Fud

Will ASML Become King?

July 17, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Dutch firm ASML Holdings, the world’s second largest maker of semiconductor production equipment has managed to flog more than $6.44 billion worth of gear.

The news is important because it sells chip making equipment to fabs so if it is doing well so are they.

ASML’s forecasts are closely watched by investors for clues to how key clients Samsung, Intel and TSMC are building the next generation of chips for computers, smartphones, auto and industrial products.

The Dutch outfit reported second-quarter net profits fell 7.2 percent to 369.7 million euros on a 0.6 percent increase in sales to 1.65 billion euros. That was broadly in line with the consensus analyst estimates of 361 million euros, which ranged broadly from 344 million euros to 413 million euros.

It forecast third-quarter sales of between 1.5 billion and 1.6 billion euros, in line with or slightly above what the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected.

Chief Executive Peter Wennink said was jolly pleased with the news.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will Wearable Devices Ever Take Off?

July 16, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

While Intel and Apple are touting the Internet of Things as the next big thing, it is starting to look like the numbers will be too small to attract the necessary economies of scale.

Normally what happens when there is “new thing” in the tech market enough people buy a product to stimulate the supply chain. This encourages suppliers to mass produce and push costs lower. This maintains the momentum as a waves of others buy because the price drops on components.

But word on the street is that while vendors have launched wearable products, orders for wearable devices may not be sufficient to drive growth for related component suppliers.

The vendors have many different devices and each of them needs only a small amount of components support.

Component makers look at what they need to supply such devices and realize that they are not going to make their money back anytime soon and are giving it a miss.

The same applies to the upstream suppliers need to specifically establish a team as big as a smartphone team to help clients develop new wearable devices.
Already there is a lot of competition in the wearable devices market particularly as 90 per cent of wearable devices shipments are two types of products – smartwatches and bracelets.

Punters have shown that they are not interested in these and demand is really weak.

The Apple Watch was touted to be the leader of the wearable industry, mostly by Apple and its chums, only achieved sales less than three million units prior to mid-June, much weaker than originally expected.

The problem appears to be that while everyone is saying “wearables” no one has really come up with a good product yet, or one that attracts anyone’s attention. If Apple could not market up a storm, then chances are there will never be one.

This could put Intel in a bind. Much of its efforts have been going to providing products to support a boost in mobile wearables. If this never happens then it could be in trouble.

Courtesy-Fud