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Is Apple Having Problem With The Forthcoming iPhone 8?

April 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

According to Cowen and Company analyst Timothy Arcuri Apple company is struggling with low production yields on the revolutionary edge-to-edge display rumoured for the Apple iPhone 8.

He thinks that this will mean that the outfit will have to dump the embedded the Touch ID fingerprint scanner technology, which until now has been housed within the physical button, beneath the glass display.

Arcuri believes Apple is looking at dropping the ambitious new technology for another less-exciting design for the iPhone 8.

Samsung is believed to have faced similar issues with the Galaxy S8, leaving it no choice but to relocate the fingerprint scanner to the back of the phone.

Arcuri believes Apple could follow suit and maroon the Touch ID scanner on the rear of the iPhone. He also thinks it is possible that Jobs’ Mob could drop its fingerprint sensor altogether, and rely solely on the face recognition technology believed to debut on the next iPhone.

However, this would be stupid as the technology is half-baked and not reliable enough to be the sole biometric security option included with the handset.

Apple could push-back the launch of the iPhone 8 until it can remedy the production problems and there are rumours that the next-generation iPhone will miss the company’s traditional September launch window.

Although there are all sorts of rumours put about by the Tame Apple Press, it is clear that the iPhone’s design has not been worked out yet and the next handset has yet to enter full-scale production.

Courtesy-Fud

NAND Prices Appear To Be Sckyrocketing

April 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

NAND flash prices have been inflating excessively lately and Phison Electronics chairman Khein Seng Pua warned that prices are set to go up again in the third quarter as end-market demand surges.
He told Digitimes that while prices might decrease a little in the second quarter, Chipmakers’ ongoing transition from 2D to 3D NAND memory has led to tight supply and inflated the chip prices.

System OEMs are reluctant to deliver their products as the more they sell the more they lose due to soaring NAND flash costs, Pua warned.

Meanwhile, chipmakers’ supply to channel distributors has been falling short of demand prompting the distributors to promote lower-capacity storage devices.

“Channel distributors particularly those in China have turned to promote 96GB SSDs instead of 128GB ones due to insufficient chip supply,” Pua said.

Distributors have even experienced tight supply of 8GB and 4GB eMMC devices.

Pua believes NAND flash prices will soon see correction following excessive gains but Apple’s new iPhone will take a lot of NAND flash from the market and push prices up again.

Chipmakers’ transition to 3D NAND memory will become smooth in general between May and June, which will help ease the supply shortages, Pua indicated.
The industry’s output of 64-layer 3D NAND will account for more than half of the total output in the fourth quarter of 2017 Pua said.

Courtesy-Fud

Can AMD Go Wireless In The Virtual reality Space?

April 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

You might seen we’ve writing about millimeter waves several times. and we usually attributed this term to 5G. AMD has just acquired Nitero, a millimeter wave company that wants to use this technology to cut the cord on your VR and AR headset. 

AMD has figured out that cables are a very limiting factor in a Virtual Reality or Augmented Reality. This is not a big secret as even if you only had a few minutes to play with one, you quickly realize that making things wireless is more comfortable.

The acquisition provides AMD with a broader portfolio of IP capable of enabling VR headset and solution providers with key technology required to create more immersive computing experiences.

Mark Papermaster, AMD chief technology officer and senior vice president said:

“Unwieldly headset cables remain a significant barrier to drive widespread adoption of VR. Our newly acquired wireless VR technology is focused on solving this challenge, and is another example of AMD making long-term technology investments to develop high-performance computing and graphics technologies that can create more immersive computing experiences.”

Nitero has designed a phased-array beamforming millimeter wave chip to address the challenges facing wireless VR and AR. This is the same frequency that Intel and Qualcomm will use for Wi-Gig. This enables very fast speeds within a room, but due to its high frequency the signal won’t really penetrate any walls.

This is not that important for the VR and AR markets as we don’t see a case where you need to leave an office or a room with the VR / AR headset on.

The 60GHz technology has the potential to enable multi-gigabit transmit performance with low latency in room-scale VR environments. It will rely heavily on the beamforming characteristics to solve the requirement for line-of-sight associated with traditional high-frequency mm-wave systems. The main goal is potentially eliminating wired VR headsets and letting users to become more easily immersed in virtual and augmented worlds.

Nitero co-founder and CEO Pat Kelly said:

“Our world class engineering team has been focused on solving the difficult problem of building wireless VR technologies that can be integrated into next-generation headsets. We are excited to play a role in furthering AMD’s long-term technology vision.”

Pat joined AMD as corporate vice president, Wireless IP highlighting the importance of the whole acquisition and the whole technology potential. Fudzilla calls this a step in the right direction. 

Courtesy-Fud

AMD Goes Custom Power With Ryzen

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has released a new custom “balanced” power plan for those using Ryzen CPU on Windows 10 OS.

Until today, AMD Ryzen CPU users were limited to using the “high performance” plan in Windows 10 OS, at least if they want to get most performance out of their Ryzen CPU. Now, AMD has released a new tweaked “balanced” power plan that should provide a compromise between performance and power efficiency which “automatically balances performance with energy consumption on capable hardware”.

According to the explanation posted by AMD’s Robert Hallock, the new power plan reduces the times and thresholds for P-state transition in order to improve clockspeed ramping as well as disables core parking for “more wakeful cores”.

These tweaks are apparently enough for the new plan to provide similar performance to the Microsoft’s “high performance” power plan setting, at least according to AMD’s own slides. As far as power is concerned, the new balanced power plan does not change how the processor handles low-power idle states, so basically, you’ll get additional performance without compromising the power efficiency.

The new balanced plan is quite simple to install and you can find both the download link as well as check out further explanation over at AMD’s community blog. AMD will also include the final power plan with next AMD chipset drivers for Ryzen CPUs.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Macs Virus Free

April 19, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The myth that Macs are somehow more secure than other operating systems appears to be a myth according to a Threat Report by McAfee Labs.

Attacks on Macs have risen by 744 percent in 2016 and there are more than 460,000 malware samples on Mac machines found. Although this is not a particularly high number you have to acknowledge that this is one security company and on a single machine.

It appears that after years of leaving Macs alone, virus writers are suddenly taking an interest in knocking them over and the security by obscurity measures, along with faith-based defences are not working.

The Tame Apple Press has rushed to say that “despite the dramatic increase in macOS malware attacks, Mac owners need not be too alarmed”.

One newspaper even said that the attacks were just irritating and not like the “true malware attacks” that Windows users have to suffer.

Most of the attacks were just adware which automatically generates and displays advertising material, including banners or pop-ups, whenever a user is online, the Tame Apple Press  tried to reassure Apple fanboys.

Last summer, Mac owners were warned about a new malware dubbed Backdoor.MAC.Elanor – a nasty piece of code that infects the OS X operating system and gives hackers complete access to the files on the computer.

Courtesy-Fud

Is AMD’s Ryzen 3 Coming In The 2H Of 2017

April 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

After launching the Ryzen 7 CPU lineup, AMD will launch its mainstream Ryzen 5 lineup in just under a week, but today we have additional information about an entry-level Ryzen 3 SKU, the Ryzen 3 1200.

Scheduled to launch sometime in the second half of this year, the Ryzen 3 lineup will compete well against Intel’s Core i3 dual-core lineup. It is still not clear if AMD will include dual-core SKUs in its Ryzen 3 lineup, but it is most likely that all will be quad-core SKUs with and without SMT-enabled. Earlier rumors also suggest that there will be a Ryzen 3 1200X SKU that should be similar but with support for XFR (eXtended Frequency Range) technology, which may give it a further overclocking boost.

According to details leaked by ASRock’s support page and originally spotted by Computerbase.de, the Ryzen 3 1200 SKU works at 3.1GHz frequency (most likely 3.4GHz Turbo) and has a 65W TDP.

Courtesy-Fud

Was Apple Really Selling Bricked Phones?

April 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Australian users have a bit of a DIY mentality – like New Zealanders they can’t see the point of paying a fortune for something that they can get a mate to fix cheaper.  Normally they would only take it in to Apple if the problem cannot be fixed with masking tape and number eight fencing wire.  Apple has a huge problem with this. It makes a fortune charging fees to have its spotty blue shirts repairing things that most uses could fix with a screwdriver and WD40.

According to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Apple thought it would be a rather super, cool, and revolutionary thing to brick iPhones which had not been repaired by its Genii. The way users would have to return the phone to be fixed.

Australia’s consumer watchdog has sued Apple claiming that the bricking happened in a software update which had cracked screens fixed by third parties and then refused to unlock them on the grounds that customers had had the devices serviced by non-Apple repairers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission told the court that consumer guarantee rights under the Australian Consumer Law exist independently of any manufacturer’s warranty and are not extinguished simply because a consumer has goods repaired by a third party.

Of course Apple is not saying anything. We have no doubt that its acolytes really believe that they are saving the customers’ souls from the dangers of cheap repairs. Everyone knows that all the phones don’t really belong to the users but are given in a sacred trust to the user for large amounts of cash on the assumption that they will never touch without the blessing of the church.

The regulator said that between September 2014 and February 2016, Apple customers who downloaded software updates then connected their devices to their computers received a message saying the device “could not be restored and the device had stopped functioning”.

Apple engaged in “misleading or deceptive conduct and made false or misleading representations to consumers” about its software updates and customers’ rights to have their products repaired by the company, the commission said.

As well as fines, the ACCC said it was seeking injunctions, declarations, compliance program orders, corrective notices, and costs.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung’s Bixby Digital Voice Assistant Being Delayed

April 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung’s highly promoted Bixby voice assistant will not be available for the Galaxy S8 smartphone on April 21, as previously announced.

The company released a statement that said Bixby will be available in the U.S. on the Galaxy S8 “later in the spring.” Samsung didn’t explain the delay.

The Bixby will join a pack of artificial intelligence assistants that includes Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and the Google Assistant that are changing the way people interact with their devices.

Some U.S.-based reviewers and analysts had noticed that the Bixby feature wasn’t fully demonstrated when the S8 was announced March 29.

Also, some news reports said Bixby encountered voice recognition problems in English compared to its performance with the Korean language.

The shipment delay applies only to the voice feature in Bixby, while Samsung said other key features of Bixby, like Vision, Home and Reminder will be available in the global launch of Galaxy S8 on April 21.

Samsung went out of its way to promote Bixby well in advance of the Galaxy S8 launch. It was announced in a blog on March 20, nine days before the phone’s launch, by Injong Rhee, executive vice president of software and services for Samsung Electronics.

Rhee pointed out a physical button on the side of the phone that would activate Bixby, differentiating it from Alexa or  Siri and others that are activated by a spoken trigger word. Bixby would offer a “deeper experience” than some others, including support for touch commands. Also, Bixby is designed to know the current state of an app to allow users to carry out work in progress without further explanation. Rhee said the Bixby interface is “much more natural and easier to use.”

Bixby was already two years behind those digital assistants as well as Google Assistant, analysts said. “Bixby is going to be playing catch up,” said Gartner analyst Werner Goertz in March.

One analyst forgave the Bixby delay. “I commend Samsung for trying to get it right rather than just launching and hoping for the best,” said Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates.

“It’s never a good idea to put out less than great software on a consumer device. So in this case, if Samsung can delay a few weeks and get a better product, it makes sense to do so. That said, voice recognition generally is not all that easy to do. It’s not just the recognition software itself, but the whole voice chain that has to be tailored. That includes everything from the microphone through the audio channel on the phone to the recognition algorithms and the user interface. If they tested and it wasn’t at their expected level of accuracy, then it’s better to get it right than to get it out fast.”

Blizzard Entertainment Wins Cheating Lawsuit

April 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Blizzard Entertainment has asked for $8.5 million in damages from Bossland, a German company that makes and sells cheats and hacks for its most popular games.

This is the latest and probably final step in a legal complaint Blizzard filed in July 2016, which accused Bossland of copyright infringement and millions of dollars in lost sales, among other charges. Cheat software like Bossland’s Honorbuddy and Demonbuddy, Blizzard argued, ruins the experience of its products for other players.

According to Torrent Freak, Bossland’s attempt to have the case dismissed due to a lack of jurisdiction failed, after which it became unresponsive. It also failed to respond to a 24-hour ultimatum to respond from the court, and so Blizzard has filed a motion for default judgement.

The $8.5 million payment was calculated based on Blizzard’s sales projections for the infringing products. Bossland had previously admitted to selling 118,939 products to people in the United States since July 2013, of which Blizzard believes a minimum of 36% related to its games.

“In this case, Blizzard is only seeking the minimum statutory damages of $200 per infringement, for a total of $8,563,600.00,” the motion document stated. “While Blizzard would surely be entitled to seek a larger amount, Blizzard seeks only minimum statutory damages.

“Notably, $200 approximates the cost of a one-year license for the Bossland Hacks. So, it is very likely that Bossland actually received far more than $8 million in connection with its sale of the Bossland Hacks.”

Update: The court has granted Blizzard’s motion for default judgement, ordering Bossland to pay $8.56 million in damages.

That number was calculated based on 42,818 sales of Bossland’s products in the US. The court ruled that the German company should not be allowed to sell Honornuddy, Demonbuddy, Stormbuddy, Hearthbuddy and Watchover Tyrant in the country from now on, as well as any future products that exploit Blizzard’s games. Bossland will also have to pay $174,872 in attorneys’ fees.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Are Big Changes In Store For DDR5 In 2018?

April 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Last week, the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association announced that it now has a full standard for the widely anticipated DDR5 memory that is expected to arrive in June 2018, based on new Hybrid DIMM technologies such as NVDIMM-P, which is intended to give servers the ability to store RAM data in between reboots.

DDR5 to use 3D chip stacking with TSVs

As with any new forecasted memory standard, the association says that DDR5 (Double Data Rate 5) memory will offer improved performance with greater power efficiency as compared to previous generation DRAM technologies. DDR5 will provide double the bandwidth and density of DDR4 along with improved channel efficiency, making it ideal for high performance combined with improved power management and cost savings.

DDR5 is expected to become the industry’s first DIMM approach that will include 3D chip stacking using through-silicon vias (TSVs), similar to what Toshiba has been doing with NAND flash since 2015. Since TSVs can be placed anywhere on the chip rather than just at the edge, it’s easy to implement a wide data bus with higher performance and low-power through shorter distances.

NVDIMM-P: Combining NVM or NAND flash with DRAM memory space

Mian Quddus, Chairman of the JEDEC Board of Directors, said that increasing server performance requirements are driving the need for more advanced technologies, and the standardization of next generation memory such as DDR5 and the new generation persistent modules NVDIMM-P will be essential to fulfilling those needs.

The organization has announced that it is also working on a standard for non-volatile hybrid memory called NVDIMM-P, or “Non-Volatile Dual Inline Memory, Persistent,” that basically would map DRAM and NAND to the same memory space. The proposed standard effectively provides both byte- and block-level drive access.

Courtesy-Fud

PC, Mobile Device Prices Expected To Rise This Year

April 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

If you plan to purchase a new PC or mobile device this year, you’ll likely spend more cash than in previous years. Prices are trending upwards, and expensive devices are in demand.

On average, the price of PCs and phones will go up by 2 percent this year, Gartner said in a research report released on Thursday. The calculations are based on U.S. dollars and average market sizes.

Breaking down those numbers, PC prices are expected to go up 1.4 percent this year, while mobile phone prices will go up 4.3 percent.

The price increases are largely due to the rising prices of components. Also, more users are upgrading to more expensive and feature-rich mobile handsets.

The days of users preferring to buy the cheapest products are gone, said Ranjit Atwal, research director at Gartner.

Buyers are less price sensitive and are instead buying devices “that suit their lifestyles,” Atwal said.

Gartner’s forecast is in line with a projection in February by Lenovo’s chief operating officer, Gianfranco Lanci, who said PC prices would go up this year due to a shortage of DRAM, SSDs, batteries and LCDs.

The cost of components like NAND flash have doubled since June, Gartner said.

The overall cost of purchasing components is going up. Moreover, millennials are willing to spend more on devices.

This year is expected to be big for smartphones. Samsung launched the Galaxy S8 smartphones, and Apple is expected to launch its 10th anniversary iPhone later this year. Premium-priced smartphones will go up by roughly 4 percent, Gartner said.

Android phones will suffer the most from the price increases. In emerging markets like China and India, Android phones are popular because of their affordability, but prices are also going up in those countries.

High-end Android smartphones offer more differentiation on features than generic low-end phones, giving a reason for buyers to spend a bit more to upgrade.

A good barometer for mobile phone pricing is the Chinese market. Global pricing of Chinese-branded smartphones will go up to RMB 2,000 (US$290) by the end of this year from RMB 1,700 (US$246) at the end of last year, analyst firm Trendforce said last month. That’s partly because NAND flash supply is tightening.

According to Gartner, smartphone shipments worldwide this year will total 1.9 billion units, up from 1.89 billion last year.

The PC market has slowed and is being driven by high-priced gaming PCs and 2-in-1s. Buyers of those PCs are willing to spend more money on their computers.

That trend is changing the types of computers shipped by PC makers, which are focused on selling higher-priced products that can deliver larger profit margins.

Low-end laptops and desktops will remain available, but PC makers like Dell and HP are slimming down those offerings. Low-cost laptops like Chromebooks typically have aging components, little storage, low-resolution webcams and limited memory.

Gartner estimates 426 million computing devices, including PCs and tablets, will ship this year, dropping from 439 million last year. PC shipments will total 265 million this year, dropping from 270 million last year. Shipment of tablet devices like the iPad will total 161 million, dropping from 169 million last year, the analyst group predicted.

Will AMD’s Vega Challenge nVidia In The Notebook Arena?

April 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

In a move which will get the Nvidia fanboys jolly cross, AMD has said that its new Vega line-up will actually compete with their favourite chip maker in the notebook market.

Nvidia is not used to competition and has been jacking up prices lately for somewhat disappointing chips, but AMD is saying that it thinks its new offerings can force Nvidia to pull its finger out.

At the AMD Tech Summit in Beijing this weekend, AMD vice president Scott Herkelman took the stage to discuss the upcoming Vega-powered graphics cards. He didn’t give anyone a release date but said that AMD’s plans were to put a bit of competition in the notebook GPU market.

AMD plans to decrease the overall footprint of the upcoming mobile GPUs by stacking VRAM dies and freeing up more internal space without sacrificing performance. Size is an important consideration for notebook manufacturers, but this announcement was light on details.

Sadly it was not clear if he was talking about rolling out Vega to discrete mobile or if it will be included in AMD’s “APUs” — a CPU/GPU combo that delivers a smaller overall footprint but a lot less graphical performance.

Herkelman said Vega-powered mobile chips will provide notebook manufacturers with the horsepower they’ll need for their products to drive virtual reality and “the latest and greatest AAA games.” This hints at discrete GPUs powered by the new Vega architecture.

AMD’s previous architecture, code-named “Fiji,” never made much impact in the notebook market, in part due to its power demands. However this could not have been the only reason. Nvidia did well bringing its 10-series GPUs to notebooks despite causing the city lights to dim when anyone plugged it in.

AMD’s Vega-powered GPUs will be available in 4GB and 8GB options, on account of the way the new chips will stack memory. Herkelman told Beijing throngs that Vega-powered chips were “just around the corner.”

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon To Refund Parents Over Kid’s In-app Purchases

April 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Parents with children who racked up bills, sometimes huge, through in-app purchases will receive some or all of that money back. Amazon could have to refund more than $70 million to affected consumers, according to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC and Amazon have agreed to end their legal battle over whether the U.S. company unlawfully charged its customers for the purchases.

A year ago, a court found that Amazon had.

The company’s app store can be downloaded to Android devices and it runs on certain Kindle tablets. However, parents had complained that Amazon’s system had made it all too easy for their children to buy virtual items in the apps, without their consent.

Both the FTC and Amazon had filed appeals related to the case, but on Tuesday, they dropped them. That opens the way for the refund process to begin shortly, according to the FTC.

More than $70 million in in-app charges made from 2011 to 2016 may be eligible for refunds, the U.S. regulator said.

Amazon didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, so it’s unclear how the company will reimburse its customers. Amazon had taken a 30 percent cut from the in-app purchases, according to the FTC.

In 2014, Apple and Google settled similar cases over in-app purchases with the FTC, which resulted in a combined $51 million in refunds to customers.

In Apple’s case, the company emailed and sent postcards to every customer who might have been affected. Apple eventually received 37,000 claims, and made refunds to them all.

Will Virtual Reality Headsets Pick Up This Year?

April 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Analyst at IDC have added up some numbers and divided them by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that global shipments of augmented and virtual reality headset devices are expected to reach 99.4 million units in 2021.

To put this number into perspective that would be a 10-fold increase from the 10.1 million units shipped in 2016.

The shipment value of AR headsets during the forecast period will grow from $209 million in 2016 to $48.7 billion in 2021. Meanwhile, VR headsets will expand from $2.1 billion in 2016 to $18.6 billion in 2021, IDC tells us.

Most AR headsets are expected to cost well over $1000 which means that the tech is far less accessible to consumers initially, though that’s probably for the best as the AR ecosystem and wide social acceptance are still a few years away, IDC added.

Courtesy-Fud

Google Calendar Makes Its Debut On the iPad

March 31, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Google’s Calendar app is finally making a long-awaited arrival on a new device: Apple’s iPad. You read that right: Until Wednesday, the tech titan hadn’t optimized its marquee calendar application to run on Apple’s tablets.

The app provides users with a view of their calendars that are shared with them through Google’s service. In addition, they get a handful of features Apple’s native calendar app doesn’t have, like the ability to more easily find time and space for a meeting with other people inside their organizations.

Making iPad users wait for a native Calendar app is hardly a surprise coming from Google, considering that it’s the company behind Android, and frequently ships new features first to apps for devices running its mobile operating system.

That’s not to say Google Calendar was completely unavailable for iPad users for the past several years. The iPhone app for Calendar could run on Apple’s tablets, but it wasn’t optimized for use on those devices.

The move is a part of Google’s continuing push to make its G Suite productivity services useful to as broad a set of people as possible. Google is working aggressively to get customers to switch to its productivity suite from their current systems, which in many cases, revolve around Microsoft Office. Microsoft offers its own calendar app for the iPad in the form of Outlook for iOS, which has supported Apple’s tablet since its launch in 2015.

Google has more iOS-specific features planned, including a Today widget that will let users see their upcoming events in an iPad’s Notification Center, according to a blog post by Calendar product manager Sharon Stovezky.

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