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Lenovo Says It’s Still In The 8-in. Windows Tablet Game

July 22, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Lenovo on Friday said it would continue selling sub-10-in. Windows tablets in the U.S., backing away from statements it made the day before, when it said it was pulling the ThinkPad 8 from the North American market and had discontinued offering a model of the Miix 2.

“We will continue to bring new Windows devices to market across different screen sizes, including a new 8-inch tablet and 10-inch tablet coming this holiday,” Lenovo said in a press release published on its website Friday.

“Our model mix changes as per customer demand, and although we are no longer selling ThinkPad 8 in the U.S., and we have sold out of Miix 8-inch, we are not getting out of the small-screen Windows tablet business as was reported by the media (emphasis in original),” the statement continued.

On Thursday, the IDG News Service — like Computerworld, owned and operated by IDG – reported the withdrawal of the ThinkPad 8 and the 8-in. Miix from the U.S. market. The ThinkPad 8 had debuted in January at prices starting at $449, and the similarly-sized Miix had launched in October 2013.

Lenovo told IDG News that it was diverting remaining stocks of the ThinkPad 8 to other countries, including Brazil, China, and Japan, where demand was stronger for smaller Windows 8.1-powered tablets.

The China-based company, which has made impressive gains in the global market — it was the world’s largest personal computer seller during the second quarter, ahead of Hewlett-Packard and Dell, according to IDC — did not say exactly when it would return with an 8-in. device. If it begins selling the unnamed device in October, typical of OEMs that seed the channel then for the holiday sales season, it will have been absent from the market for two or more months.

 

 

Apple Agrees To $450 Settlement In E-book Antitrust Case

July 18, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple Inc has agreed to pay $450 million to settle U.S. state and consumer claims the iPad manufacturer conspired with five major publishers to fix e-book prices, according to court records filed Wednesday.

The settlement, which would provide $400 million for consumers, is conditioned on the outcome of a pending appeal of a New York federal judge’s ruling last year that Apple was liable for violating antitrust laws.

A ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York reversing the judge could, under the settlement, either reduce the amount Apple pays to $70 million, with $50 million for consumers, or eliminate payments altogether.

“While we cannot predict the outcome of the appeal with certainty, we are confident in the case we made against Apple at trial,” Connecticut Attorney General George Jepsen said in a statement.

Apple in a statement denied that it had conspired to fix e-book prices and said it would continue pressing its case on appeal.

“We did nothing wrong and we believe a fair assessment of the facts will show it,” Kristin Huguet, an Apple spokeswoman, said.

The settlement, which requires approval of U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, had been announced in June. Terms were not disclosed at the time.

It came ahead of an Aug. 25 damages trial, in which attorneys general in 33 states and territories and lawyers for a class of consumers were expected to seek up to $840 million.

The deal follows earlier settlements with five publishers that provided $166 million for e-book purchasers.

Combined with the $400 million from Apple, the recovery is “among the exceedingly rare cases that provide consumers nationwide with double the amount of their estimated damages,” lawyers for the plaintiffs wrote in a motion.

The U.S. Department of Justice and the state attorneys general sued Apple and five publishers in April 2012, accusing them of working together illegally to increase e-book prices.

In July 2013, Cote found Apple liable for colluding with the publishers to impede e-book competitors such as Amazon.com Inc after a non-jury trial.

The publishers include Lagardere SCA’s Hachette Book Group Inc, News Corp’s HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Penguin Group (USA) Inc, CBS Corp’s Simon & Schuster Inc and Verlagsgruppe Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH’s Macmillan.

 

IBM To Partner With Apple To Sell iPads, iPhones For Business Users

July 17, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

International Business Machines Corp will join forces exclusively with Apple Inc to offer iPhones and iPads loaded with applications geared at enterprise clients this fall, the company announced.

The announcement, just days before IBM releases its second quarter earnings, comes as the company attempts to shift its focus to software and services as its hardware unit continues to slump, and follows a string of mobile software acquisitions. The company hopes software sales will contribute half of its total profit by 2015.

The company will release more than 100 apps targeting industry specific issues in retail, healthcare, banking, travel, transportation and telecommunications IBM said on Tuesday.

“We wanted to focus on creating an absolutely irresistible workflow and processes and a design of apps that can be used by every user in the organization,” Bridget van Kralingen, IBM’s senior vice president of global business services told Reuters from Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.

“We wanted to remove some of the existing barriers of mobile in enterprise,” she said adding that chief information officers worry about security, utilizing cloud and installing apps in mobile devices.

The partnership, which was six months in the making, will offer services geared at security, mobile device management and big data and analytics. The company also plans to develop cloud services optimized for Apple’s mobile operating system, iOS. The devices will operate through wireless carriers chosen by the client, she said.

BlackBerry Ltd shares were down 3 percent following the announcement. The Canadian smartphone maker has increasingly targeted its secure software at businesses as part of an effort to turn the company around after losing ground to Apple’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co.

Apple and Samsung have steadily expanded their share of the mobile enterprise market in recent years, mostly at Blackberry’s expense, while Microsoft Windows phones have made little headway.

Increasingly, Apple’s expansion has been driven by employees bringing in their own devices and requesting corporate support, the so-called bring-your-own-IT trend.

Hooking up with IBM may help address lingering concerns about smartphone software security and data privacy, in the form of a veteran partner that’s led in enterprise IT for decades.

“This deal is a very targeted attempt by Apple with the help from IBM to focus on the enterprise, corporate market which has really been the main business of Blackberry,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment officer at Solaris Group in Bedford Hills, New York.

 

 

ARM Launches Juno Hardware Development Program

July 7, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

ARM has announced two programs to assist Android’s ascent into the 64-bit architecture market.

The first of those is Linaro, a port of the Android Open Source Project to the 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture. ARM said the port was done on a development board codenamed “Juno”, which is the second initiative to help Android reach the 64-bit market.

The Juno hardware development platform includes a system on chip (SoC) powered by a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU and dual-core ARM Cortex-A57 CPU in an ARM big.little processing configuration.

Juno is said to be an “open, vendor neutral ARMv8 development platform” that will also feature an ARM Mali-T624 graphics processor.

Alongside the news of the 64-bit initiatives, ARM also announced that Actions Semiconductor of China signed a license agreement for the 64-bit ARM Cortex-A50 processor family.

“Actions provides SoC solutions for portable consumer electronics,” ARM said. “With this IP license, Actions will develop 64-bit SoC solutions targeting the tablet and over-the-counter (OTT) set top box markets.”

The announcements from ARM come at an appropriate time, as it was only last week that Google announced the latest version of its Android mobile operating system, Android L, which comes with support for 64-bit processors. ARM’s latest developments mean that Android developers are likely to take advantage of them in the push to take Android to the 64-bit market.

Despite speculation that it would launch as Android 5.0 Lollipop, Google outed its next software iteration on Wednesday last week as simply Android L, touting the oddly-named iteration as “the largest update to the operating system yet”.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Google And Microsoft Finally Planning Kill Switches For Their Smartphones

June 20, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Responding to mounting  pressure, Google and Microsoft will follow Apple in adding an anti-theft “kill switch” to their smartphone operating systems.

The commitment comes at a time when new data shows a dramatic drop in theft of Apple iPhones and iPads after the September 2013 introduction of iOS 7, which included a kill-switch function that allows stolen devices to be remotely locked and deleted so they become useless.

In New York, iPhone theft was down 19 percent in the first five months of this year, which is almost double the 10 percent drop in overall robberies seen in the city. Over the same period, thefts of Samsung devices — which did not include a kill switch until one was introduced on Verizon-only models in April — rose by over 40 percent.

In San Francisco, robberies of iPhones were 38 percent lower in the six months after the iOS 7 introduction versus the six months before, while in London thefts over the same period were down by 24 percent. In both cities, robberies of Samsung devices increased.

“These statistics validate what we always knew to be true, that a technological solution has the potential to end the victimization of wireless consumers everywhere,” San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon told IDG News Service.

Gascon and New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman have been leading a push to get smartphone vendors and telecom carriers to include kill switches in their products as a way to curb phone theft.

The joint work had early success with Apple but other carriers and phone makers dragged their feet. However, resistance to the idea appears to be dropping as several bills that mandate kill switches make their way through state legislatures and the U.S. Congress.

The bills demand a function that would enable a phone owner to remotely delete and disable a phone if stolen. The function could be disabled by consumers before a theft takes place if desired, but crucially new handsets would be supplied with it switched on by default.

 

Will AMD’s Mantle See Success On Linux?

June 20, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD is planning to bring its new Mantle API to Linux in the near future. Although Linux is not a big gaming platform at the moment, SteamOS could change all that starting next year.

AMD’s Richard Huddy says the decision was prompted by requests from developers who would like to see Mantle on Linux. However, he stopped short of specifying a launch date. Huddy confirmed that AMD plans to dedicate resources to bringing Mantle to Linux, but other than that we don’t have much to go on.

Mantle on SteamOS makes a lot of sense

Mantle is designed to cut CPU overhead and offer potentially significant performance improvements on certain hardware configurations. This basically means gamers can save a few pennies on their CPU and use them towards a better GCN-based graphics card.

However, aside from enthusiasts who build their own gaming rigs, the world of PC gaming is also getting a lot of attention from vendors specialising in out-of-the box gaming PCs and laptops. Many of them have already announced plans to jump the SteamOS bandwagon with Steam Machines of their own.

Should Mantle become available on Linux and SteamOS, it would give AMD a slight competitive edge, namely in the value department. In theory vendors should be able to select a relatively affordable APU and discrete GPU combo for their Steam boxes.

AMD already tends to provide good value in the CPU department. The prospect of using mainstream APUs backed by cheap discrete Radeons (or even Dual Graphics systems) sounds interesting.

It will take a while but the potential is there

Huddy told PC World that Mantle has some clear advantages over DirectX. Microsoft’s new DirectX 12 API has already been announced, but the first games to support it won’t arrive until late 2015.

“It (Mantle) could provide some advantages on Steam boxes,” said Huddy. “We are getting requests to deliver this high-performance layer.”

While DirectX 12 will be very relevant in the PC space, the same obviously cannot be said of Linux and SteamOS. Therefore Mantle on Linux makes a lot of sense. However, it all depends on AMD’s timetable.

Last month Valve announced Steam Machines would be pushed back to 2015. They were originally supposed to launch this summer and the first announcements were made months ago. The first designs were based on Intel and Nvidia silicon, but support for AMD hardware was added just a bit later.

When Valve announced the delay we argued that it could have a silver lining for AMD. It simply gives AMD more time to improve its drivers or add Mantle support, something Nvidia and Intel do not have to worry about.

It still remains to be seen whether Steam Machines can make a big dent on the gaming market. PC gaming is going through a renaissance, but the latest consoles are doing well, too (apart from the Wii U). The concept is very attractive on more than one level, but it is very difficult to make any predictions yet, since we are still about 15 months away from launch.

Courtesy-Fud

Oracle and Intel Team Up For Elastic Computing

June 16, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Oracle has added systems to its enterprise-class x86 server line featuring elastic computing capabilities that dynamically adapt their configurations in response to workloads.

The Oracle Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server X4-8 are four-socket and eight-socket systems designed for data centre workloads such as virtualisation, Oracle databases and scale-up enterprise applications.

However, the two servers are fitted with a unique variant of Intel’s Xeon E7 v2 processor family that combines the capabilities of three different Xeon processors into one.

Oracle said it worked with Intel to create this chip, the Xeon E7-8895 v2, which can dynamically switch its core count, clock frequency and power consumption without the need for a system level reboot.

This chip is the heart of the elastic computing capability of the Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server X4-8, enabling them to adapt to the requirements of different workloads based on its runtime configuration.

It might be configured for transaction processing at a high clock speed for one hour, then switched to higher core counts for the next hour for higher throughput computing, according to Oracle.

“Through close collaboration with Intel, we are the first to announce servers based on the new Xeon E7-8895 v2 processors and the first with unique capabilities that allow customers to dynamically address different workloads in real time,” said Ali Alasti, senior vice president for hardware development at Oracle.

Enhancements have also been made to the system firmware and to Oracle’s Solaris, and Oracle Linux operating systems to support the elastic computing features.

Oracle also said the new systems have a modular design that allows the processors to be upgraded to future Xeon chips, while all the disks are hot-swappable, plus there is hot-pluggable I/O support for industry-standard low-profile PCI Express cards via a dual PCIe card carrier.

The servers also feature a “glueless” architecture that removes the need for a node controller. As node controllers typically change from one processor generation to the next because of modifications to inter-processor communication and coherency protocols, the elimination enables Oracle to offer a future-proof chassis that will support future processor releases from Intel, the firm said.

The Sun Server X4-8 is touted by Oracle as ideal for running its Oracle Database, which has just been updated with an in-memory processing option. It supports 120 processor cores with up to 6TB of memory in its 5U rack-mount chassis, plus up to 9.6TB of hard drive or 3.2TB of solid state drive (SSD) storage.

Meanwhile, the Sun Server X4-4 is said to be well suited for applications requiring large memory footprint virtual machines and running real-time analytics software.

It can be configured with two or four of the Xeon E7-8895 v2 processors, with up to 3TB of memory and 4.8TB of PCIe flash plus 2.4TB of SSDs or 7.2TB of hard drives.

 

Courtesy-TheInq

Did Apple Lose A Trademark Battle In Mexico?

June 11, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

A battle over the name iPhone has resulted in Apple’s Mexican business partners being forbidden from advertising the iPhone.

Earlier this year, the tame Apple press claimed that Apple had won a trademark lawsuit against Mexican telecommunications company iFone over the use of the phonetically-identical “iPhone” brand. The iFone trademark was originally filed in 2003, and in 2009 the company filed a suit against Apple to stop it confusing its telecommunications busienss.

The press claimed that Apple won that war on the basis that iFone flogged telecommunications services, Apple sells smartphones. But the problem with the ruling was that Jobs’ Mob’s carrier chums offer telecommunications services, the IMPI (Mexico’s equivalent to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office) ruled that carriers selling the iPhone could no longer use the name in their advertising materials.

To make matters worse Telcel, Movistar, and Iusacell are now being charged fines for infringing on iFone’s trademark and have been ordered to remove the word “iPhone” from all marketing materials within the next 15 days. Needless to say the Presstitutes in the Tame Apple Press are saying this is terrible because Apple was found blameless in its actions and pure as the driven snow.

However what is clear from the result was that original reports claiming that Apple had won the ruling were incorrect and spun in Apple’s favour. iFone had successfully defended its trademark against Apple and the company’s cargo cult could not use the name to interfere with iFone’s business.

This is one of the problems when journalists sell out to companies and interpret news stories in favour of their corporate sponsors. The facts of the case were lost and now people are wondering why Apple can’t really advertise in Mexico.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Why Were GPU Shipments Down In Q1?

May 27, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

According to Jon Peddie Research (JPR), shipments of discrete graphics cards were down in the first quarter of the year. This is in line with seasonal trends, as the market cools down after the holiday season.

The sequential drop was 6.7 percent, which was still better than the overall desktop PC market, which slumped 9 percent. However, on a year-to-year basis add-in-board (AIB) shipments were down 0.8 percent. PC sales were down 1.1 percent.
Nvidia still controls two thirds of the market

Total AIB shipments in Q1 were just 14 million units. AMD and Nvidia both saw their shipments decrease 6.6 percent, so their market share did not change much.

Nvidia controls an estimated 65 percent of the market, up from 64.2 percent last year. AMD’s market share in Q1 was 35 percent, down from 35.6 percent a year ago.

The overall volume remains weak and in the long run things could get even worse, as on-die integrated graphics have already taken a big toll on sales of entry level discrete cards. As integrated GPUs become even faster, they are likely to cannibalize the low end market even further.

JPR points out that the AIB market peaked in 1999, with 114 million units shipped. Last year saw only 65 million units and the stagnant trend is likely to continue this year.

It’s not all bad news for AIBs
Although the slump in discrete GPU shipments is hurting AMD and NV hardware partners, JPR offers a rather encouraging outlook.

It points out that graphics cards are one of the most powerful, essential and exciting components in the PC market today. PC gaming is hardly dead, in fact it is going through what can only be described as a small renaissance. PCs will offer 4K/UHD gaming years ahead of consoles and the Steam Machine concept is looking good, too.

The compute market is another driver, as JPR points out:

“The technology is entering into major new markets like supercomputers, remote workstations, and simulators almost on a daily basis. It would be little exaggeration to say that the AIB resembles the 800-pound gorilla in the room.”
The AIB market is quite a bit less colourful and eventful than it was back in the day, but at least AIBs still have a lot on their hands and they are trying to tap new markets.

Courtesy-Fud

IBM And Fujitsu Go Back To The Future With Tape

May 23, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

IBM and Fujitsu have announced the second major advance in tape storage of the year.

Following on from Sony’s recent announcement of tape that is capable of storing 148GB per square inch, the two companies have revealed that they have managed to reach 154GB.

Although that figure isn’t a huge jump, IBM and Fujitu’s announcement comes with an impressive forecast. The alliance believes it can double the density of its tape every other year for the next decade.

Although innovations involving magnetic tape seem like something from a post-modern vision of 2014 viewed from 1965, the speed at which technology is moving in this field is accelerating at a rate more in line with demand.

Data centres are having to come up with more ingenious methods of cold storing petabytes of data being generated from social media, cloud storage and archiving.

Facebook has dabbled in the concept of the Blu-ray array as a temporary solution to the problem, while the SSD manufacturers continue to make strides in increasing the capacity of their products, but neither are likely to be as cost effective as magnetic tape. It isn’t suitable for quick access, and its longevity and durability is yet to be tested, but it could prove to be a solution for a growing problem.

The 154GB/in tape is only a prototype, but if the hype is to be believed, we can expect to see 4TB per square inch by 2024. This month, Sandisk released the first 4TB SSD in a standard 2.5in casing. The rest of the math follows from that.

Courtesy-TheInq

Firefox Falling Behind As Mobile Browsing Explodes

May 20, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Mozilla’s Firefox is running the risk of becoming irrelevant as more Internet browsing originates on smartphones and tablets, statistics from a Web measurement vendor show.

During April, about one in every six people who went online surfed the Web using a mobile browser, according to Net Applications. Mobile browsing’s climb of more than 5 percentage points in the last 12 months represented a growth rate of 48%.

Most of the rest of those who went online in April did so armed with a desktop browser installed on a personal computer.

The shift toward mobile has hurt Mozilla most of all: Firefox’s total user share — the combination of both desktop and mobile — was 14.1% for April, its lowest level since Computerworld began tracking the metric. That was only slightly ahead of Apple’s Safari and significantly behind Google’s Chrome and Android browsers.

Mozilla’s dilemma continues to be its inability to attract a mobile audience. Although the company has long offered Firefox on Android, its share was so small that Net Applications did not even note it last month. And Mozilla’s Firefox OS, a browser-based mobile operating system that has garnered limited support, didn’t show up in the analytics company’s numbers, either.

Mozilla’s case hasn’t been helped by a steady drain on its desktop user share, which in April slipped to 17% of all desktop browsers, down from 20% a year earlier.

Hot on Mozilla’s heels in April was Apple, whose combined desktop and mobile browser user share reached 13.1%. Almost two-thirds of that was credited to Safari on iOS, the mobile operating system that powers iPhones and iPads. While Safari on iOS continued to shed share last month — it’s long been under attack from the glut of Android-powered devices used around the world — the increase in mobile browsing’s popularity was enough to actually boost its combined user share from September 2013, the last time Computerworld visited the topic.

But Google has become the clear winner in the mobile browsing sweepstakes. Its old-stock Android browser has held steady while Chrome has grown by leaps and bounds as new devices come online armed with the browser, which is available for download from Google Play. In the last 12 months, Chrome’s user share of mobile has soared 447%.

 

 

 

China’s Xiaomi Plans To Challenge Apple, Debuts MiPad Tablet

May 16, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Chinese budget smartphone maker Xiaomi debuted its first tablet, expanding its product lineup to directly challenge established rivals Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc.

The MiPad, which comes in six colors, will have a 7.9 inch screen, the same size as an iPad Mini.

Like other tablets, it comes equipped with wireless internet, front and back cameras and a built-in memory capacity of 16 gigabytes or 64 gigabytes. But it is priced cheaper than comparable iPad Mini and Samsung Galaxy Tab models at 1,499 yuan ($240) for the smaller version.

The company did not say anything about a 4G version.

“We wanted the hardware to come close to, or even surpass Apple’s iPad,” Xiaomi’s founder Lei Jun said at the launch event in Beijing. Xiaomi’s flagship smartphones, which are among the fastest selling in China, resemble Apple’s iPhone.

Lei said an initial version of the tablet would be available for testing by the public in mid-June, but he declined to specify a launch date or sales targets. It was also not clear if the MiPad would be sold outside China.

The worldwide tablet market, which saw shipments of 195.4 million devices in 2013, is forecast to grow nearly 40 percent this year, according to consultants Gartner, Inc, with China especially seeing significant growth.

Privately held Xiaomi became the world’s sixth-largest smartphone vendor in the first quarter of 2014, according to data firm Canalys, after repeatedly doubling its sales. It’s cheap yet sleek phones are popular in China, the world’s largest market for smartphones.

The company expects to sell 40 million phones this year, compared to 18.7 million last year and 7.2 million the year before.

 

 

Office For iPad Apps Hits 27M Downloads

May 14, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Microsoft has said that customers had downloaded about 27 million copies of the Office for iPad apps in six weeks, a number one analyst called “promising” even as she noted that it lacked important contextual details.

“I think it’s too early to know how much traction they’re actually getting,” said Melissa Webster, an analyst with IDC, in an interview. “The more interesting question is how much revenue [Microsoft] has generated from people who were motivated to sign up for Office 365.”

Microsoft launched the apps on March 27 after years of speculation that waxed, waned and waxed again.

Julia White, a general manager in the Office group, cited the 27-million download figure during the keynote at TechEd 2014, a Microsoft conference that kicked off Monday in Houston.

“Looks like we have about 27 million downloads of these apps. Not bad,” said White. As she demonstrated how IT departments can manage iPads with Intune, the screen showed that more than 12 million of those downloads were tagged to U.S. users.

Because there are four discrete apps in the Office for iPad line — Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote — White’s comment implied that the 27 million tally was of all apps, not the number of “sets” or the total number of customers who have one or more of the quartet on their iPads.

According to AppAnnie, Word was downloaded the most — it typically was the highest of the four on the mobile app analytics vendor’s most-downloaded list — with Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote following, in that order.

Because of Microsoft’s in-isolation download count, anything else, such as the number of Office for iPad users, was pure guesswork. If each customer downloaded an average of two of the four apps, for instance, Microsoft’s figure would represent 13.5 million users. But bump up the average to three, and the user base slips to 9 million.

Apple has sold a total of 211.6 million iPads since the tablet’s 2010 introduction. But because Office for iPad requires iOS 7 — and that OS won’t run on the original iPad — a better number would be 182.8 million, which represents all devices sold from April 2011, the first full month after the debut of the iPad 2, through March 2014.

Using arbitrary apps-per-user averages of 3 and 2 would mean Office for iPad is on between 5% and 7% of all iPads. As an outlier, if each user downloaded just one of the apps, the percentage would jump to almost 15%.

 

 

 

BlackBerry Pins Hope On Emerging Markets, Low-cost Handset

May 14, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd rolled out a low-cost touchscreen device in Jakarta, the Z3, as the embattled smartphone maker hopes be capture sales in emerging markets like Indonesia where its once-fervent following has waned.

The handset, unveiled at a glitzy launch event in the Indonesian capital on Tuesday, is the first in a line of devices being made with FIH Mobile Ltd, a unit of the giant Taiwanese Foxconn Technology Group best known for assembling gadgets like iPhones and iPads for Apple Inc.

The success of the handset retailing for less than $200 could well decide the outcome of both BlackBerry’s tie-up with the contract manufacturing giant and its own future in smartphones. The Z3 Jakarta Edition will hit store shelves on May 15.

“If this device allows them to grow again, even if it’s just small, steady growth, that’s a success in itself. That says there is still room for BlackBerry in Indonesia,” said Ryan Lai, market analyst at consultancy IDC.

The Z3 is the first phone to be launched by BlackBerry since new Chief Executive John Chen took the helm late last year. After Indonesia it will be gradually introduced in six other countries including the Philippines, India, Vietnam and Malaysia.

Waterloo, Ontario-based BlackBerry hopes that the device and others to follow will help it claw back some of the collapse in its market share, ceded to Apple’s iPhone and Samsung Electronics Co’s line of Galaxy devices powered by Google Inc’s Android operating system.

“If the market doesn’t receive this product well, then we definitely have some negative issues to deal with,” Chen said at the launch at Jakarta’s Ritz-Carlton hotel. BlackBerry said it doesn’t have an official sales target for the device, but Chen said he expects to sell millions of Z3 handsets around the world, without disclosing further details.

 

Will nVidia Enter ARM’s Micro-Server Market?

May 14, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A part of Nvidia’s Financial Q1 2015 conference call Q&A session included some questions about micro servers, whether or not the 64-bit Tegra K1 can make it into the GRID market.

Nvidia’s CEO Jen-Hsun Huang was a straight shooter saying that Nvidia is “seeing a lot of interest in putting something like Tegra in micro servers,” but he added a caveat: “one step at a time, one step at a time.”

Jen-Hsun addressed the importance of the software component, or software stack for this market. He points out that the software stack Nvidia is building for GRID will eventually used on top of Tegra.

Denver could have what it takes

The Denver 64-bit architecture used in the Tegra K1 64-bit might have a shot in the micro server market as it will offer a lot of compute power and the CPU core should end up faster than the Cortex A57. Back at GTC 2014 we saw a demo at the GE booth where a single Jetson board hooked up to a camera over 10Gbit network port managed to trace a multiple targets at once.

The significance of such capabilities is that they can could easily find applications in the security market, drones, self-driving cars and all this can be done with close to 10W of power. Of course, this can be done with existing chips, but the CUDA powered Tegra K1 needs significantly less power to pull it off, which results in a much smaller footprint than say a 100W system that would handle the same task.

Eventually Nvidia could make a move in the traditional server market. The way things are going some 64-bit Cortex A57 servers might hit the market in early 2015 and Denver 64-bit might be the only custom based 64-bit ARM core ready at that time. Qualcomm’s 64-bit Krait is expected in the first half of 2015 and it might give Nvidia, AMD and other players a run for their money.

The server market is more than just chips and John Byrne, Chief Sales Officer at AMD, covered a few interesting points in a brief discussion with Fudzilla last month.

Does an ARM server push make sense for Nvidia?

In order to be successful in server market you need software, hardware, a great field application engineer network, customers that want to work with you and this is exactly why Calxeda failed. Nvidia has an advantage over Intel as it can do ARM based micro server, but then again, everyone else can. AMD is taking the ARM server market quite seriously and it has a lot more experience in the field than Nvidia.

Should Nvidia choose to proceed with an ARM server push, it will ultimately be a matter of research and development money that company can afford to put behind this risky strategy. Nvidia is making some progress with Tesla and Grid into the server market, but it will take some great products to convince Dell, HP and the rest of the market go your way.

In theory, Nvidia could leverage its compute software stack, but that’s only relevant in a handful of niches. AMD is targeting a much wider micro server market, while Nvidia could go after niche systems that would benefit from its compute tech. However, whether or not this niche is worth the investment remains to be seen. Both Nvidia and AMD can offer unique compute capabilities that could differentiate their ARM parts from the rest of the field (CUDA, Open CL), rendering their ARM server parts more competitive in a number of market segments.

Courtesy-Fud