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.
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.
Internet search giant Google has finally added Australian slang and language recognition to its applications, addressing complaints that its software had difficulty in understanding thick local accents and complex place names.
Long accustomed to having their distinctive slang misunderstood, Australians can now substitute “footy” for football, “arvo” for afternoon and find directions to Mullumbimby or Goondiwindi, a spokesman told Reuters.
The extended vocabulary came after Google, which is now part of holding company Alphabet Inc, added an Australian accented voice to its Google Maps and search applications last week.
“People are starting to talk to their phones much more regularly now. Mobile voice searchers have doubled in the last year,” Google Australia spokesman Shane Treeves said.
“Particularly all those tricky Aussie place names, they just sound much better in an Aussie voice that can get them right.”
Google and its chief competitor, Apple Inc, have saturated the United States and Western Europe with their devices, leaving foreign language markets as some of the prime places to grow.
In December, Apple released a version of its virtual personal assistant, Siri, for Arabic speakers in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia. Google’s Android phones’ search function already offered some support in Arabic.
Google’s Android operating system was used by roughly 54 percent of mobile devices sold in Australia in December, placing it ahead of Apple iOS at 38 percent, according to data published by research firm Kantar Worldpanel.
The addition of Australian language features to Google’s software could carry with it a sense of vindication for local users, who have long groused about its inability to understand them.
Samsung is rolling out a rental phone service which will replace a phone that is been used for a year with the latest model.
The system is similar to the rental model which was introduced by Apple in September of last year. Samsung will bring the service out in March in South Korea but it is also in talks with Bright Star, which is a business that specializes in distribution of mobile in the US so it is pretty likely to be tried over the pond too. We have not heard about it talking to any EU distributor but it is also fairly likely.
Under the deal you replace your old phone with a new phone every year if you make a two year contract and pa a year worth of instalments. The company then makes a bit of dosh flogging the used phones.
The first phone to be rented will be the Galaxy S7 that happens to be being released in March. It will also have a higher resale value as a used model.
Officially Samsung is saying nothing as the Galaxy S7 is not even in the shops yet.
Mobile telecommunication businesses such as SK Telecom, LG Uplus and others are also preparing to release similar services. This is not the first time they have had a crack at programs likes this there were operations like Zero Club, Free Club and others in the past which operated in a similar way. It should make the introduction of the rental phone service using Apple’s model a doddle.
If it takes off it could be a change in distribution model for phones. As mobile markets are saturated and as subsidies for mobiles disappear, rental phones are seen as an alternatives that will create new demand. Much of the success however depends on the resale value of the older phones.
This month, market research firm IHS predicted that Apple would introduce some form of wireless charging on the iPhone 7 expected to arrive in September; that move seems more likely given that Apple introduced an inductive, proprietary charging solution in 2015 on the Apple Watch.
Adding fuel to the wireless charging fire, Bloomberg has reported that Apple is working with partners in the U.S. and Asia to develop new wireless charging technology that could be deployed on its mobile devices in 2017.
“We still expect [wireless charging with the iPhone 7], but this latest rumor suggests a longer term look at much greater spatial freedom — claiming to take away the charging pad altogether,” David Green, a research manager at IHS Technology, said.
Two years ago, the Windows Phone 8-based Lumia 920 smartphone introduced wireless charging. Then Samsung launched dual-mode wireless charging on its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge phones. Now, the focus is on Apple to see whether it will also add wireless charging to the iPhone, Green said.
Wireless charging is proving to be very popular with those who have used it, and the market tripled in size last year compared to 2014, with more than 160 million wireless charging receivers shipped across all markets.
The three major wireless charging industry groups have adopted a form of resonant wireless charging, which allows a more “loosely coupled” approach where handsets can be several centimeters away from a charger or placed at any angle on a charging pad.
For example, AirFuel Alliance’s Rezence-specification, which allows charging from across several centimeters, includes the ability to use a charging bowl or charging through a desktop.
There’s also uncoupled charging technology, where powering up devices through Wi-Fi, for example, sends low levels of power (typically less than 1 watt) across a room.
Ossia, Energous and uBeam all demonstrated uncoupled charging technology at CES earlier this month.
Slapdash developers have been advised not to use the open source JSPatch method of updating their wares because it is as vulnerable as a soft boiled egg, for various reasons.
It’s FireEye that is giving JSPatch the stink eye and providing the warning that it has rendered over 1,000 applications open to copy and paste theft of photos and other information. And it doesn’t end there.
FireEye’s report said that Remote Hot Patching may sound like a good idea at the time, but it really isn’t. It is so widely used that is has opened up a 1,220-wide iOS application hole in Apple users’ security. A better option, according to the security firm, is to stick with the Apple method, which should provide adequate and timely protection.
“Within the realm of Apple-provided technologies, the way to remediate this situation is to rebuild the application with updated code to fix the bug and submit the newly built app to the App Store for approval,” said FireEye.
“While the review process for updated apps often takes less time than the initial submission review, the process can still be time-consuming and unpredictable, and can cause loss of business if app fixes are not delivered in a timely and controlled manner.
Let’s not all make this JSPatch’s problem, because presumably it’s developers who are lacking.
FireEye spoke up for the open source security gear while looking down its nose at hackers. “JSPatch is a boon to iOS developers. In the right hands, it can be used to quickly and effectively deploy patches and code updates. But in a non-utopian world like ours, we need to assume that bad actors will leverage this technology for unintended purposes,” the firm said.
MediaTek appears to be ready to give three more entry level processors LTE Cat 6 so they can mangage a 300 Mbit download and 50 Mbit upload. We already knew that the high-end deca-core X20 and mainstream eight core P10 were getting LTE Cat 6.
According to the Gizchina website, the company the three new SoCs carry the catchy titles of MT6739, MT6750 and MT6750T. .
The MT6739 will probably replace the MT6735. Both have quad A53 cores but it will mean that the MT6739 will get a Cat 6 upgrade from Cat 4. The MT6739 supports speeds of up to 1.5GHz, 512 KB L2 cache, 1280×720 at 60fps resolution, and video decode to 1080p 30fps with H.264 and 13 megapixel camera. This means it is an entry level SoC for phones that might fit into the $100 price range.
The MT6750 and MT6750T look like twins, only the T version supports full HD 1920×1080 displays. The MT6750 has eight cores, four A53 clocked at 1.5Ghz and four A53 clocked at 1.0GHz and is manufactured on TSMC’s new 28nm High Performance Mobile Computing manufacturing mode. This is the same manufacturing process MediaTek is using for the Helio P10 SoC. The new process allows lower leakage and better overall transistor performance at lower voltage.
The MT6750 SoC supports single channel LPDDR3 666MHz and eMCP up to 4GB. The SoC supports eMMC 5.1, 16 megapixel camera, 1080p 30 fps with both H.264 and H.265 decoding. It comes with an upgraded ARM Mali T860 MP2 GPU with 350 MHz and display support of 1280×720 HD720 ready with 60 FPS. This means the biggest upgrade is the Cat 6 upgrade and it makes sense – most of European and American networks now are demanding a Cat 6 or higher modem that supports carrier aggregation.
This new SOc looks like a slowed down version of Helios P10 and should be popular for entry level Android phones.
Revenue for the fourth quarter was 53.3 trillion won (US$45.5 billion), up just 1 percent from a year earlier, Samsung announced Thursday in Seoul. Net profit plummeted 40 percent to 3.2 trillion won.
A day earlier, Samsung’s biggest rival, Apple, said it too was seeing weaker than expected demand for handsets. The Cupertino company reported iPhone sales that were almost flat and forecast its first quarterly revenue drop since 2003.
Samsung isn’t expecting much better. It sees a difficult environment in 2016 characterized by slowing IT demand.
“It would be a challenge to maintain 2016 operating profit levels,” said Kim Sang Hyo, Samsung’s vice president of investor relations, in a conference call with analysts.
A weak macro economy around the world will hurt business in the first half, but things should get better in the second half, the company said.
Sales in Samsung’s key mobile division fell 10 percent in the quarter to 24 trillion won. That was the result of an earlier pile up of unsold phones at retailers, and the fact that Samsung sold fewer high-end phones and more that were lower priced.
Samsung doesn’t divulge the number of smartphones it sells, preferring to announce total sales of all phone types. That figure was 97 million last quarter, with smartphones accounting for around 85 percent.
For 2016, it expects the mobile business will see single-digit growth due to tepid demand for new smartphones and tablet PCs.
Samsung’s semiconductor and display panel operations — it’s second-biggest business area — was the only good performer last quarter. Sales rose 11 percent year-on-year to 19.7 trillion won thanks to healthy demand for flash memory chips and continued demand for mobile and server DRAM.
AMD’s top gaming guy Nicolas Thibieroz is starting to open up GPU technology to make sure the technology evolves.
He said that its GPUOpen is the beginning of a new philosophy at AMD and would continue the initiative started with Mantle. Now is time to do even more for developers. Apparently the creation of the Radeon Technology Group led by Raja Koduri was key in turning GPUOpen.
Thibieroz said that innovative results were only possible via the exchange of knowledge that happens within the game development community. While whole conferences are dedicated to this information sharing, it is often in more modest settings that inspiration takes form. Dinner conversations, plan files, developer forums or chats are common catalysts to graphics greatness.
However there are hurdles getting in the way of productivity and innovation. Developers can’t use their R&D investment on both consoles and PC because of the disparity between the two platforms.
Console games use low-level GPU features that may not be exposed on PC at the same level of functionality. This cases less efficient code paths to be implemented on PC instead.
Proprietary libraries or tools chains with “black box” APIs prevent developers from accessing the code for maintenance, porting or optimisations purposes.
“Game development on PC needs to scale to multiple quality levels, including vastly different screen resolutions. Triple monitor setups, 4K support or dual renders for VR rendering require vast amounts of GPU processing power yet brute force rendering only gets you so far. There is still a vast amount of graphics performance still untapped, and it’s time to explore smarter ways to intelligently render those increasing numbers of pixels. “Opening up” the GPU is how we solve this,” Thibieroz wrote.
GPUOpen is composed of two areas: Games & CGI for game graphics and content creation, and Professional Compute for high-performance GPU computing in professional applications.
GPUOpen will provide code and documentation allowing PC developers to exert more control on the GPU.
Current and upcoming GCN architectures, such as Polaris, include many features not exposed today in PC graphics APIs, and GPUOpen aims to empower developers with ways to use some of those features.
In addition to generating quality or performance advantages such access will also enable easier porting from current-generation consoles to the PC platform.
GPUOpen will also make a commitment to open source software.
“The game and graphics development community is an active hub of enthusiastic individuals who believe in the value of sharing knowledge. Full and flexible access to the source of tools, libraries and effects is a key pillar of the GPUOpen philosophy. Only through open source access are developers able to modify, optimize, fix, port and learn from software,” he said.
This will encouraging innovation and the development of amazing graphics techniques and optimisations in PC games.
AMD will start a collaborative engagement with the developer community. GPUOpen software will be hosted on public source code repositories such as GitHub as a way to enable sharing and collaboration. Engineers from different functions will also regularly write blog posts about various GPU-related topics, game technologies or industry news.
The New Edition rose gold version incorporates gold plating atop stainless steel, not solid gold, according to Samsung.
That distinction would explain a price of 480€ (about $520 US), as seen as available for pre-order on the DutchCool Blue retail website.
Samsung hasn’t listed official pricing or availability by countries other than to say China was the first country where the device was released.
A solid gold Apple Watch, by contrast, could cost a buyer as much as $17,000, although Apple sells many variations at much lower prices.
While Samsung described its newest watches as “merging fashion with technology,” there is a debate in the industry over how much high fashion and rich materials will matter in achieving mass market acceptance of smartwatches.
Market research firm IDC said that 21 million smartwatches shipped in 2015, well below projections of many analysts. That number included the Apple Watch, launched in April, which some had predicted would sell 40 million units in its first year.
“People don’t really see the value in smartwatches,” said IDC analyst Jitesh Ubrani in a January interview. He added that women aren’t heavily interested in fashion smartwatches, despite attempts by Apple and now Samsung to attract women buyers.
Samsung provides about 1,400 apps for use with the Tizen OS on its Gear 2 smartwatches. The devices will also have the ability to connect to Android smartphones and, later in 2016, to iOS devices.
The future for smartwatches used in business settings is unclear, analysts have said, although there is greater interest in providing enterprise apps for a range of wearables that include smart glasses and devices worn on other parts of the body.
Recently, Qualcomm has published a new corporate presentation detailing its path from 3GPP’s “Release 13” (March 2016) and beyond for LTE networks– also more conveniently known as 4.5G LTE “Advanced Pro” – with a development timeframe between 2016 and 2020.
This will be an “intermediate” standard before the wireless industry continues with “Release 15” in 2020 and beyond, also known as 5G technology. The company intends to make LTE Advanced Pro an opportunity to use up more spectrum before 5G networks launch next decade and wants it to support further backwards-compatibility with existing LTE deployments, extremely low latencies, and unlicensed spectrum access, among many other new features.
In its new 4.5G presentation, Qualcomm has highlighted ten major bullet points that it expects to be present in its next-generation LTE “Advanced Pro” specification. The first point describes delivering fiber-like speeds by using Carrier Aggregation (introduced with “LTE Advanced” networks in 2013) to aggregate both licensed and unlicensed spectrum across more carriers, and to use simultaneous connections to different cell types for higher spectral efficiency (for example: using smaller, single-user pCells combined with large, traditional cell towers).
Qualcomm’s second bullet point is to basically make native use of Carrier Aggregation with LTE Advanced Pro by supporting up to 32 carriers at once across a much fatter bandwidth pipe. This will primarily be achieving using a new development called “Licensed Assisted Access.”
In short, Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) is the 3GPP’s effort to standardize LTE use inside of 5GHz WiFi spectrum. It was introduced in 2015 and allows mobile users to simultaneously use both licensed and unlicensed spectrum bands at the same time. This makes sense from an economic scarcity standpoint, as a fairly large number of channels are available for use in unlicensed bands (more than 500MHz in many regions). This should ultimately allow carriers with “low interference” in unlicensed spectrums to aggregate with licensed band carriers to make the most efficient use of all locally-available spectrum.
Qualcomm says that network traffic can be distributed across both licensed and unlicensed carriers when unlicensed bands are being lightly used. The result is that Licensed Assisted Access (LAA) users win by getting higher throughput and lower latency. In 3GPP Release 14 and beyond, Qualcomm eventually anticipates improving upon LAA with “Enhanced License Assisted Access” (eLAA). This second-generation design will include features such as uplink / downlink aggregation, dual unlicensed-and-licensed connectivity across small cells and large traditional cells, and a further signal complexity reduction for more efficient channel coding and higher data rates.
The company’s third bullet point for LTE Advanced Pro is to achieve “significantly lower latency” – up to ten times lower to be precise – yet still be able to operate on the same bands as current LTE towers. They expect to achieve this primarily through a new Frequency Division Duplexing (FDD) / Time Division Duplexing (TDD) design with significantly lower round-trip times (RTTs) and time transmission intervals (TTIs). We are looking at around 70 microseconds to transmit 14 OFDM data symbols versus the current LTE / LTE-A timeframe of 1 millisecond for the same amount of data. The company also expects to achieve significantly lower latency in TDP/UDP throughput limitations (from current LTE-A peak rates), significantly lower latency in VoIP applications, and significantly lower latency for next-gen automotive LTE connection needs.
The fourth bullet point, and very important, is to increase traffic flexibility by converting uplink resources for offloading downlink traffic. In much more technical terms, Qualcomm will utilize a new “Flexible Duplex” design that has self-contained TDD subframes and a dynamic uplink / downlink pattern adaptive to real-time network traffic instead of a stagnant data stream. We can expect to see this implemented around 3GPP Release 14.
Qualcomm’s fifth bullet point for 4.5G LTE Advanced Pro is to enable many more antennas at the base station level to significantly increase capacity and coverage. In 3GPP Release 13 this will be called “Full Dimension MIMO.” This technology uses elevation beamforming by using a 2D antenna signal array in order to exploit 3D beamforming. Later down the road in 3GPP Releases 14 and beyond, we can expect support for what the company calls higher-order “Massive MIMO.” This will consist of more than 16 antennas in an array and should enable devices to connect to even higher spectrum bands.
The sixth bullet point deals with increasing efficiency for Internet of Things applications, also known as “LTE IoT.” One element of this strategy includes enhanced power-save modes (extended DRX sleep cycles) for small devices. More importantly, this also means beyond 10 years of battery life for certain use cases. The company wants to use more narrowband operating modes (see: 1.4MHz and 180KHz) in order to reduce device costs, and wants to deploy “deeper cellular coverage” with up to 20dB signal attention. Previously, regular LTE and LTE-Advanced would top out around ~50dB for most carriers. Going up to 20dB will certainly make a noticeable difference for many indoor, multi-floor users in corporate environments and for those around heavy foliage, mountain ranges and hillsides in both urban and suburban environments.
The seventh bullet point deals with integrating LTE into the connected cars of the future. Qualcomm calls this “Vehicle-to-Everything” Communications, or V2X for short. The goal is to connect cars at higher-than-gigabit LTE Advanced Pro speeds to one another, and to also connect them with nearby pedestrians and IoT-connected objects in the world around them. Privacy and political issues aside, this will supposedly make our collective driving experiences “safer and more autonomous.” Specifics include “always-on sensing,” vehicle machine learning, vehicle computer vision, “bring your own driver” and vehicle-to-infrastructure communication, all from within the car. The company calls the result of V2X automotive integration “on-device intelligence.”
To further things along with ubiquitous gigabit LTE, Qualcomm also eventually wants you to completely ditch your cable / satellite / fiber optic (FTTN and FTTP) television subscriptions and leverage the speeds of its LTE Advanced Pro technology for a “converged digital TV network.” This means television broadcasts over LTE to multiple devices, simultaneously – basically, an always-on LTE Advanced Pro TV broadcast stream to 4K home televisions, tablets and smartphones for the whole family, all at once and at any time of day.
In the ninth bullet point, Qualcomm is boasting LTE-Advanced Pro’s capability for proximity sensing – without the use of GPS – autonomously. This includes using upgraded cell towers for knowing when friends are nearby and for discovering retail services and events, all without triggering WiFi or GPS modules on your device.
The tenth bullet point is an extension of the last one and uses LTE technologies at large for advanced public safety services (including 9-1-1 emergencies) – all without triggering WiFi or GPS modules for proximity data. This new “LTE Emergency Safety System” deployment will deliver both terrestrial emergency information as well as automotive road hazard information. Qualcomm expects this to emulate current Professional / Land Mobile Radio (PMR / LMR) push-to-talk systems on walkie-talkies.
For now, LTE Category 12 600Mbps (upgrade to current 3GPP Release 12) comes in 2016
While the gigabit-and-higher speeds of 3GPP Release 13 and beyond are still a couple years off, Qualcomm wants to kick things off with an update to 3GPP Release 12 (launched Q2 2014) with 600Mbps downlinks and 150Mbps uplinks achieved through the carrier aggregation technique.
During CES 2016, Qualcomm showed off its new “X12 LTE” modem add-on for the Samsung-made Snapdragon 820 Automotive SoC family, or “Snapdragon 820A” Series. The unit features LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) carrier aggregation (3x in the downlink and 2x in the uplink), comes with a new dual LTE FDD/TDD “Global Mode” capability, and supports dual SIM cards.
The X12 LTE modem features UE Category 12 on the downlink with speeds up to 600Mbps (75MBps) achieved through a transition from 64QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) in the older UE Category 9 specification (see: Snapdragon 810 modem) to a much higher 256 QAM. It is also possible to enable up to 4 x 4 MIMO on the downlink carrier which results in better bandwidth and improved coverage. New modem uses UE Category 13 on the uplink side for speeds up to 150Mbps (18.75MBps) with 64 QAM. The unit also has LTE-U support (LTE in unlicensed spectrum) to allow it to operate on 2.4GHz and 5GHz unlicensed channels for additional spectrum. Additionally, it can bond both LTE and WiFi links together to boost download speeds with LTE + WiFi Link Aggregation (LWA).
Wikipedia.org – History of 3GPP LTE User Equipment Category releases
Qualcomm has recorded a webinar with FierceWireless all about its roadmap from 4.5G LTE Advanced Pro technology (2016 – 2020) to next-next generation LTE 5G technology (2020 and beyond), which can be found here.
The company will also be present at Mobile World Congress 2016 between February 22nd and 25th in Barcelona, Spain to demonstrate new features of LTE Advanced Pro – including “Enhanced Licensed Assisted Access” (eLAA) and MuLTEfire (“multi-fire”) – at its exhibition booth. Our staff is sure to be present at the event and we look forward to sharing more hands-on demos very soon.
Samsung has begun mass producing what it calls the industry’s first 4GB DRAM package based on the second-generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM) 2 interface.
Samsung’s new HBM solution will be used in high-performance computing (HPC), advanced graphics, network systems and enterprise servers, and is said to offer DRAM performance that is “seven times faster than the current DRAM performance limit”.
This will apparently allow faster responsiveness for high-end computing tasks including parallel computing, graphics rendering and machine learning.
“By mass producing next-generation HBM2 DRAM, we can contribute much more to the rapid adoption of next-generation HPC systems by global IT companies,” said Samsung Electronics’ SVP of memory marketing, Sewon Chun.
“Also, in using our 3D memory technology here, we can more proactively cope with the multifaceted needs of global IT, while at the same time strengthening the foundation for future growth of the DRAM market.”
The 4GB HBM2 DRAM, which uses Samsung’s 20nm process technology and advanced HBM chip design, is specifically aimed at next-generation HPC systems and graphics cards.
“The 4GB HBM2 package is created by stacking a buffer die at the bottom and four 8Gb core dies on top. These are then vertically interconnected by TSV holes and microbumps,” explained Samsung.
“A single 8Gb HBM2 die contains over 5,000 TSV holes, which is more than 36 times that of an 8Gb TSV DDR4 die, offering a dramatic improvement in data transmission performance compared to typical wire-bonding based packages.”
Samsung’s new DRAM package features 256GBps of bandwidth, which is double that of an HBM1 DRAM package. This is equivalent to a more than seven-fold increase over the 36GBps bandwidth of a 4Gb GDDR5 DRAM chip, which has the fastest data speed per pin (9Gbps) among currently manufactured DRAM chips.
The firm’s 4GB HBM2 also enables enhanced power efficiency by doubling the bandwidth per watt over a 4Gb GDDR5-based solution, and embeds error-correcting code functionality to offer high reliability.
Samsung plans to produce an 8GB HBM2 DRAM package this year, and by integrating this into graphics cards the firm believes designers will be able to save more than 95 percent of space compared with using GDDR5 DRAM. This, Samsung said, will “offer more optimal solutions for compact devices that require high-level graphics computing capabilities”.
Samsung will increase production volume of its HBM2 DRAM over the course of the year to meet anticipated growth in market demand for network systems and servers. The firm will also expand its line-up of HBM2 DRAM solutions in a bid to “stay ahead in the high-performance computing market”.
A big focus of the AT&T discounts is special deals on Samsung’s Galaxy smartphones and Gear S2 smartwatches. Analysts interpreted that focus on Samsung devices as a way to clear out inventory prior to expected upgrade announcements coming in late February at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
AT&T is also facing pressure to add more subscribers, as analysts — including Evercore ISI this week– have predicted AT&T’s fourth-quarter postpaid subscriber loss will be more than 300,000. That comes amid reports that T-Mobile added 4.5 million net subscribers for the fourth quarter and Verizon Wireless added 525,000.
All the major carriers, including AT&T, hit the December holidays with special device deals, but AT&T apparently didn’t feel enough impact on its inventory from those offers, analysts said.
AT&T and Samsung are motivated to get rid of all the old inventory before new models arrive, said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy. “Retailers won’t run such an aggressive promotion unless they have a lot of stock.”
An AT&T spokeswoman provided a different explanation: “Due to popular demand, AT&T is bringing back some of its holiday promos.”
Those promos — available to both consumers and business customers at AT&T retail stores — include a free Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch for a limited time to any customer buying a Samsung Galaxy smartphone, or a free Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 for buying a Galaxy smartphone on an AT&T Next wireless plan. AT&T is also offering an iPad mini 2 for $99 when a customer buys a new iPhone on the Next plan.
For business customers, the 2-for-1 smartphone deal is new. It allows business customers to buy a new smartphone and then get another smartphone, valued at up to $650, for free.