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Microsoft Unveils ‘Near Share’ Wireless File-sharing Feature

November 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft last week unveiled another Windows 10 preview, a regular occurrence in its Insider program, that featured a handful of additions to the under-construction OS. One of those, called “Near Share,” is a simple wireless service meant for impromptu file transfer between devices.

The easiest way to pigeonhole Near Share is to think of it as Microsoft’s belated doppelgänger of Apple’s “AirDrop,” the share service that debuted on Macs, iPhones and iPads six years ago.

Although AirDrop is one of the most under-used tools in macOS and iOS, there’s no reason Near Share has to follow suit on Windows 10. That’s why Computerworld dug up information on the feature now, rather than wait for its debut next year.

Near Share is Microsoft’s name for its ad hoc file transfer feature in Windows 10.

Like Apple’s AirDrop, which it resembles, Near Share is a file transfer service that works only between nearby devices. It’s designed for occasional inter-device transfer where simplicity and convenience are paramount. Rather than email a presentation from one device to another, for example, or upload to an online storage service or the network, Near Share lets one user zip the file directly from his or her PC to a colleague’s.

Not to beat the comparison horse, but again, it works much like AirDrop, the iOS and macOS file-sharing feature. Near Share relies on both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, or Bluetooth alone, to sniff out nearby devices, create an ad hoc peer-to-peer network, then transfer the file.

Like AirDrop, Windows 10’s Near Share uses Bluetooth to broadcast the presence of the sharing-enabled device, detect other ready devices, then negotiate the connection between the two. For all but the smallest files – which are transmitted via Bluetooth – Near Share moves the file over a point-to-point Wi-Fi link.

That Wi-Fi connection uses the Wi-Fi Direct peer-to-peer (P2P) industry standard.

Microsoft doesn’t say, but Bluetooth – the limiting factor here – can reach as far as 300 feet. Most Bluetooth, however, maxes out at an effective range that’s considerably less. Apple, for instance, recommends that AirDrop be used only when devices are within 30 feet of each other.

Microsoft debuted the file transmission in Build 17035 of its Windows 10 Insider program, released Nov. 8. Devices on both ends of the transfer must be running that or a later build of Insider. The feature must also be enabled on both devices by toggling the “Near Share” switch under the “Shared Experiences” section of Settings.

Bluetooth and Wi-Fi radios must also be present in both devices. A Wi-Fi connection to the Internet, or even a Wi-Fi network, is not necessary.

Apple, Qualcomm Relations Takes A Negative Turn

November 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Qualcomm Inc filed suit against Apple Inc, alleging that it violated a software license contract to benefit rival chipmaker Intel Corp for making broadband modems, the latest salvo in the longstanding dispute between Qualcomm and Apple.

Qualcomm said in a lawsuit filed in California state court in San Diego on Wednesday that Apple used its commercial leverage to demand unprecedented access to the chipmaker’s highly confidential software, including source code.

Apple declined to comment on the suit. The company started using Intel’s broadband modem chips in the iPhone 7.

In its complaint, Qualcomm alleged that Apple was required under its contract to ensure that Apple engineers working with Qualcomm did not communicate details about Qualcomm chips to Apple engineers working on competing chips from Intel.

Qualcomm alleged that in July, Apple emailed Qualcomm to request “highly confidential” information about how its chips work on an unidentified wireless carrier’s network. Apple copied an Intel engineer in the email for information, Qualcomm alleged.

In another instance, Qualcomm alleged that an Apple engineer working on a competing chip asked an Apple engineer working with Qualcomm to get technical information from Qualcomm.

Reuters reported earlier this week that Apple would drop Qualcomm’s chips altogether from its iPhones and iPads beginning next year.

Does Virtual Reality Have Unlimited Potential

November 3, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Virtual reality, exciting as it may be for enthusiasts, is a technology that has yet to truly take hold with the masses, let alone transform people’s daily lives in the way that smartphones have. First, 2016 was supposed to be the “Year of VR.” Then, in 2017, we’ve heard over and over about the trough of disillusionment from VR developers. But that’s okay, because these early VR developers believe that they can become the leaders of a VR space that one day will be mainstream.

Certainly, that’s what Oculus VP of Content Jason Rubin thinks and it’s why his company continues to invest hundreds of millions of dollars into the ecosystem. If you ask Rubin to respond to analysts’ assessment that VR’s so-called trough is becoming more of an abyss, he’ll tell you why comparisons to other technologies, like Kinect, simply aren’t valid.

“I tried to explain this in my keynote [at Oculus Connect] in a few sentences and I think I utterly failed to get the point across,” Rubin tells me. “When I said that VR gets compared to other technologies, each technology is different. I would suggest the easiest explanation I can give to a type of technology that VR gets compared to that is exactly wrong to compare would be 3D TV. 3D TV, when it came out, you could understand exactly how good 3D TV could get… It’s two cameras sitting next to one another. It’s still not real 3D yet. It’s stereoscopic, but you can’t move your head and see behind things. So I could say right then and there I am not spending a dollar extra on 3D. And, for that reason, none of the networks wanted to make 3D content…So you saw the entire potential of that device in the moment it was launched and you could easily dismiss it. 

“Let’s look at VR. I can tell you that there is a world in which VR acts a little bit more like a holodeck than it does today. That is way out of our timeline, but if you talk to Michael Abrash about what VR could be in his lifetime or the next lifetime, you start to get into some weird discussions, because VR could be, literally, anything. There is nothing that can come after VR because VR could simulate anything.

He continues, “VR’s potential is literally infinite because as we go from, as Mark [Zuckerberg] said, admittedly bulky goggles to smaller glasses to tricking your inner ear to getting into haptic and touch, you can imagine a world in which VR can do literally anything you can imagine. So, if we judge VR on today’s market, we are making a mistake. Even if the trough of disillusionment is deeper than many analysts might have wanted it to be, or they’re making that momentary discussion, this is silly… Can we imagine a world where there’s no screen door effect? Yes. Can we imagine a world where it’s not heavy? Yes. Can we imagine a world where there’s more content? Yes. So, unlike 3D TV, in exactly the opposite way, it has infinite potential. Not limited potential. Infinite potential. The question is, how long will it take to get there?”

Some have used the discontinuation of the Kinect from Microsoft not only as a reminder of the demise of traditional motion gaming ushered in by the Wii, but as a cautionary tale for technology that just doesn’t resonate on a large enough scale.

Rubin dismisses any Kinect comparisons as well: “Kinect was not as easy to understand as 3D TV. So I cannot look at Kinect and say, ‘Well, that’s [like] 3D TV.’ When I looked at Kinect first, I thought, ‘Huh, this could do some interesting stuff.’ But it was also not [something with] infinite potential because, ultimately, all it can do is track one or more bodies and put the information that those one or more bodies was transmitting onto a screen.

“So Kinect looked great, reached its potential quickly, and then the additional potential failed to deliver. And developers looked at Kinect – and I was there, I remember I was talking to Microsoft about building a Kinect game at one point very early on – and two years later it was pretty clear to everyone that this was not going to be the future. We had reached the potential. So, while Kinect started looking like VR, it very quickly reached its potential. I will tell you as we sit here today, whether this generation of VR, or a next generation of VR, one generation of VR will take over the world. That’s infinite potential. And that’s why I don’t like any of these analogies. They all fall flat for me.”

An analogy he does like, however, is one that Intel’s Kim Pallister shared with me recently. And that is the VR space is still searching for its Wii – a headset that sacrifices some performance for a much more attractive price and accessibility. When Oculus Go launches next year at $199 – $100 more than Gear VR, with which it’ll share a library – Rubin believes the standalone headset could be the answer to the Wii question.

“The perfect product market fit is the right hardware quality with the right price point and the right software to drive it,” he says. “I would suggest that VR is on the path to finding that perfect product.”

Go is far from perfect, but Rubin believes it will offer consumers a good balance between price and performance. “That $199 buys you a significant amount of capability,” he offers. “First of all, it’s fully contained. It doesn’t need a phone to plug into it. So, right off the bat, if you happen not to be a Samsung phone user… it doesn’t require you to switch to Android from iOS or switch to Samsung from another Android marketplace. In being all-in-one, it also allows you to take it on and off quickly. It won’t draw on your phone’s battery. Updates, carrier things, other stuff like that are taken care of much more cleanly because it’s not doing double duty as a phone and a VR device.

“The lenses are fantastic. They’re our latest technology. They’re amazing. If you try it, you will know I’m not exaggerating. The ergonomics are fantastic. When you take apart a phone and you take the pieces you need for a VR device out and distribute it around a headset appropriately, the weight isn’t slung all the way out at the end of your nose, so it feels better. [Gear VR] is still a great way of getting VR inexpensively. But if you’re a big VR enthusiast and you use it often or if you don’t have a Samsung device, Oculus Go gives you an opportunity to jump into the market. So our addressable market at low price point radically improves.”

The other major hardware announcement at Oculus Connect was the company’s Santa Cruz headset – an all-in-one HMD that offers six degrees of freedom and hand-tracking (as compared with 3DOF on Gear/Go) but Oculus isn’t revealing it as a consumer product just yet. Similar to the multiple dev kit iterations that Rift went through following its Kickstarter reveal, it appears that Santa Cruz is going to continue to be tweaked by the engineers on the team. One thing is clear, though: barring a technological miracle, there’s no way Santa Cruz will be able to replicate the exact high-end VR experience that Rift provides.

“To be completely honest, that [power equation] is still a part of our research,” Rubin notes. “That’s what we’re doing. We’re looking at the marketplace that it would come into. We’re looking at the capabilities that are needed to run inside-out tracking, because all of that has to be in the device. We’ll make that decision. Having said that, anyone with a mild amount of technical expertise, could pretty quickly determine that the power usage, the cooling, and the other demands of the PC min spec even that we’ve taken on Rift is not likely to show up in a portable device in the immediate future.”

There’s no doubt that committing to VR remains a risky proposition for many studios still. EVE Valkyrie dev CCP Games just exited VR altogether, and while this interview was conducted prior to that news, Rubin sees a light at the end of this chaotic VR tunnel. Studios may rise and fall around VR in the next few years, but those who manage to stick around may be amply rewarded.

“The chaos and excitement is creating a lot of failure that will eventually lead to success,” Rubin stresses. “So if a company or three or five or ten are struggling, that is the business. They understand that. They may complain, but that’s the world we live in. They’re betting on the long-term success of the hardware, and their ability to be the Naughty Dog, the Zynga, the Rovio, whatever, of VR. There are companies now that are succeeding if you look at the numbers, making million dollar, multi-million dollar titles.

“That did not exist a few years ago. They could not [invest that much]. A few hundred thousand dollars, maybe you could make your money back. Could you make a million dollar title? Probably not. But if you just read across the press, there are companies out there that are self-sustaining and they’re making titles that are a few million dollars… As we continue to make more and more [games with larger budgets], we bring more consumers into the marketplace. As we keep our price reasonable, we bring more people into the marketplace. That allows $2 million games to become $3 million games, etc, etc. As long as we stay ahead of that curve, and continue to expand the size and scope of the products we’re making, we will continue to make the ecosystem larger and larger, and that will bring more and more people in and that makes developers more likely to succeed on their own.”

For that reason, Oculus has been funding games by investing hundreds of millions of dollars into the ecosystem. But it’s clear that Oculus would rather see the ecosystem become self-sustaining. At that point, then we’ll truly see some AAA efforts on digital storefronts.

“If we pull this off – and I intend to – in the long run, we will be able to back away, and there will be companies like EA and Activision and Take-Two and everyone else that are putting $100 million into VR games and making their money back without any input from us,” Rubin adds. “That is the eventual success state. When we reach that point, to wrap this into some of the other questions you asked, some of those people will also want to do non-game things, and that will lead to opportunities to create the next Uber of VR or the Airbnb of VR or whatever strikes the people.”

There’s been a fair amount of controversy surrounding Oculus’ exclusives, but to Rubin it’s the competition that’s not doing VR any favors. “Again, if you’re not investing in the ecosystem, you are not driving VR’s success. You are coming along for the ride,” he states.

These days, Oculus closely scrutinizes every project before it commits to funding rather than looking to fund every small developer that comes knocking at its door.

“If a team comes to Oculus with a $1 million title or so, the question we ask ourselves is, ‘Do we need to finance this?’ That title can make its money back,” he says. “Especially, when we don’t fund it, they can put it out on multiple VR platforms, which we’re all for. It just increases the odds of making their money back. As Microsoft and others enter the marketplace, that is good for VR, because it is yet more pieces of hardware out there. Unfunded content that comes out for all of them has a better chance of making its money back.

“The shape of what we fund will change as that window of investment that can pay off gets larger and larger every year as the consumer base grows. And it may be that we continue to stay ahead of that to the point where we’re funding very expensive games and very expensive non-games. If we get to that point where we’re spending twice what we’re spending now on an average title, the only way we’ve gotten there is the average self-invested title is significantly larger too, because it can afford to make that investment and get a return on its investment. I’m not looking to retire anytime soon. But I do think we’ll get there some day.”

As Rubin alludes to, non-games could very well become a large chunk of Oculus’ business in the future. Right now, Oculus is a games-first company, but clearly social platform software and enterprise software for various industries is gaining in importance. And with the new VR interface for Oculus (called Dash) that allows you to control all your programs within VR, thereby eliminating the PC monitor, it’s conceivable that Oculus could become more like Microsoft – gaming would be just a slice of the corporation.

“Games were a big part of the launch of the [Apple] App Store because it was a low hanging fruit and it was obvious. But, in the long run, there is no question that, when we reach a billion people [in VR], games will be A use case, not THE use case,” Rubin says. “Social will be a massive use case…So will applications and utilities, because we all have things to achieve in our life. Seems to me, since I’ve been alive, every year we get more things we need to achieve in our life. So if we find a technology that makes some of those things easier, faster, or more efficient, we will adopt it. And that is exactly what drove mobile phone usage. It’s in your pocket. Look at how much easier I can do x, y, or z, and you immediately start doing it. By definition, as a computer platform, we will do all of those things. But we will start with entertainment and move towards them. By the way, we announced our enterprise partner program, so we are already taking steps to broaden.” 

One of the problems that content producers may have with VR is that it’s such a young technology that keeps evolving. It’s effectively changing faster than some studios can keep up with. This, too, will stabilize, Rubin promises.

“As a long-term developer of content… the most frustrating and exciting times always happen at the same point,” he says. “It is frustrating because there is so much change. So as a developer, creative, or other app creator, you are frustrated by how much things are changing and how rapidly they’re changing. But it’s also the most exciting time because, invariably, that change leads to opportunity and then opportunity leads to success. I can give you an endless number of examples of this. When cartridge based 2D games went CD and 3D, 2D cartridge based character action game makers stuck with 2D because 2D was something they knew and they made hundreds of millions of dollars at that time making those products. My little team at Naughty Dog didn’t have that background, so we joined the frustrating and exciting change to 3D and we watched a lot of companies try and fail at how to get various things into 3D. My company happened to get it right and we created Naughty Dog and billion-dollar franchises. 

“The exact same thing happened at the beginning of mobile,” he continues. “If you remember iPhone 1, iPhone 2 – every resolution of the screens would radically change. The capability of the screens would change. It was crazy town. And we didn’t know what people wanted out of the devices… Again, when Facebook opened up the opportunity for people to make apps on Facebook, nobody knew how to make a social app. [That] created Zynga. Was it frustrating? Oh my God! I actually was working on games back then. I’m sitting in Facebook’s offices [and] I will still say this. They changed the underlying SDK and rule-set on a bi-weekly basis and we were working on stuff that was going to take six months to a year to come out. It was incredibly frustrating and crazy. [But] it created multiple billion-dollar companies.”

VR developers are in the midst of figuring out how to best leverage the medium’s best traits. Titanfall creator Respawn, for example, announced a new project at Oculus Connect that aims to depict the realism of being a soldier. Rather than simply glorify the violence the way some shooters do today, Respawn wants to make you feel the tension and fear that someone on the battlefield must endure.

very empathetic,” Rubin notes. “I would also add that it may be that if you experience certain things in VR, it will teach you a lesson about what that would be like in real life. And so everything is a lesson and a learning. I will also say that Respawn is very aware of what they make. They’re good citizens. So judge us when the product comes out.”

Respawn’s title isn’t due until 2019, but as we’ve seen with the VR marketplace itself, patience is a virtue.

“The one thing I have no control of at Oculus is bringing software through production any faster. And it pains me,” Rubin laments. “All the Crash [Bandicoot games] were made in a year. Jax took two years. Two years is aggressive these days. At some point, it’s going to be a lifetime to bring out software. I hope we can figure out a better way. But, yes, unfortunately, it will take a little while, but the payoff will be there when we finish.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

MediaTek Goes Up

November 2, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek saw its gross margin rise to 36.4 percent in the third quarter from 35 percent in the second, while net profits soared 129 percent sequentially to $167.8 million.

The company said that its gross margin was an improvement compared with 35.2 percent during the same period in 2016. This was possible thank to a favourable product mix led to the gross margin growth, the outfit said.

MediaTek’s third quarter revenues were up 9.6percent on quarter but down 18.8 percent from a year ago. This was due to a seasonal pick-up in demand for certain consumer electronics products. It added the on-year decrease mainly to lower chip shipments for smartphones.

Operating profits were up 110.3 percent sequentially but down 34.9 percent on year. Operating margin for the quarter was 7.8 percent, up from 4.1percent in the prior quarter but down from 9.7 percent in the year-ago quarter.

Net profits for the third quarter of 2017 were a 35.4 percent on-year decline.

MediaTek predicted it will post revenues of between $ 1.96 billion in the fourth quarter of 2017, with gross margin ranging from 34.5 percent to 37.5 percent.

Sales of MediaTek’s smartphone and tablet chips accounted for 35-40 percent of the company’s total revenues in the third quarter.

MediaTek co-CEO Rick Tsai said that shipments of MediaTek’s Helio P23 series that comes with new LTE Cat 7 modem already kicked off in small volume in the third quarter, said Tsai, adding that the shipments will expand in the fourth quarter.

MediaTek has started shipping its entry-level MT6739 chips in the fourth quarter, Tsai indicated. Shipments of MediaTek’s mobile chips will reach a combined 110-120 million units in the fourth quarter.

The outfit is preparing to launch of new Helio P-series mobile chips that will support AI, facial recognition, AR and VR capabilities in the first quarter of 2018, Tsai noted. The new products will help the company continue to improve its gross margin and regain market share, Tsai said.

Non-mobile SoC chips sales including solutions for IoT applications, power management ICs and ASIC chips will see impressive growth in the fourth quarter, Tsai claimed. The segment is expected grow by a third in 2017, Tsai said.

Courtesy-Fud

Does Apple’s iOS Have a Loophole

October 30, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Felix Krause has uncovered a worrying setting in iOS that enables apps with camera permissions to secretly record photos and videos without them knowing. 

To demonstrate the issue, the Austrian developer created an app called ‘watch.user’ that can take pictures of its user every second and upload them without notifying them in any way.

The iOS feature, which Krause described as a “privacy loophole that can be abused by iOS apps”, also allows developers to run real-time face recognition to detect facial features or expressions, to pinpoint where the user is located based on image data and to livestream a users’ camera straight onto the web.

“iOS users often grant camera access to an app soon after they download it (e.g., to add an avatar or send a photo). These apps, like a messaging app or any news-feed-based app, can easily track the users face, take pictures, or live stream the front and back camera, without the user’s consent,” Krause warned.

Krause has disclosed the loophole to Apple and has even suggested how the firm should go about fixing it. Apple could, for example,  make camera permissions temporary, or at least add MacBook-style indicators to notify when the device is recording.

Until Apple does something about it, the Googler recommends that iPhone users use camera covers and revoke camera access for all apps, although this means that some app functionality would be sacrificed. 

“If you’re using a messaging service, like Messenger, WhatsApp, Telegram or anything else, chances are high you already granted permission to access both your image library and your camera,” he said.

“You can check which apps have access to your cameras and photo library by going to Settings > Privacy.”

Courtesy-Fud

Is Ryzen Paying Off For AMD

October 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has announced its Q3 2017 financial results and the company managed to grow 26 percent year over year.  2017 is the year of Zen, both Ryzen and Epyc, as well as some decent advancement in the GPU space.

The revenues for AMD in Q3 of $1.64 billion shows a 26 percent increased year-over-year and up 34 percent quarter-over-quarter.  Lisa Su, the mighty AMD CEO said that Ryzen family combined to significant graphics growth, resulting in a 74 percent increase in the Computing and Graphics segment revenue year-over-year.

The general investment is paying off, but it is hardly surprising that AMD hit such high growth numbers as the CPU business for skyrocketed with the introduction of Ryzen. Ryzen 5 and Ryzen 7 processors reached 40 percent to 50 percent of desktop market share at strategic e-tailers worldwide, which definitely sounds to us like the best-case scenario, cherry picking.

Back to some more numbers. AMD’s gross margin was 35 percent, up 30 percentage points year to year and up two percent quarter to quarter. Operating income was $126 million, compared to an operating loss of $293 million a year ago and operating income of $25 million in the prior quarter.

Net income was $71 million, compared to net losses of $406 million a year ago and $16 million in the prior quarter. Earnings per share were $0.07, compared to losses per share of $0.50 a year ago and $0.02 in the prior quarter.

AMD launched Ryzen 3 and Ryzen PRO in this quarter and PRO has been adopted by Dell, Lenovo and HP among others.

Ryzen PRO-based offerings, which have been adopted by all major commercial PC providers, including Dell, Lenovo, and HP, expanded its presence in the commercial space.

AMD is preparing to ship Ryzen Mobile in Q4 with Acer, HP and Lenovo announcing some systems in the same quarter. OEM adoption is accelerating as customers ramp shipments in advance of the holiday sales cycle.

AMD achieved record GPU revenues in the quarter based on significantly improved ASPs and higher unit shipments than a year ago. This was driven by a strong demand from Polaris and Vega based GPUs in both the gaming and cryptocurrency markets. For some reason, AMD’s CEO refers to this market as a blockchain market, probably as it sounds better to investors. Vega RX is significantly outpacing the previous premium Radeon GPUs at enthusiast level.

AMD confirmed that its Radeon Instinct MI25, GPU compute solution is shipping in volume to mega-cloud data centers that want to experiment with something that is not Nvidia nor Intel based. Radeon Pro WX 9100 profession graphics cards started shipping late in Q3 2017.

Amazon Web Services announced its adoption of AMD Radeon Pro technology to power Amazon AppStream 2.0. There is also an announced cooperation with Baidu with the goal to build more flexible and powerful AI computing platforms based on Radeon Instinct.

Enterprise, Embedded and Semi-Custom segment revenue was approximately flat year-over-year and increased 46 percent sequentially. AMD enjoyed seasonal demand for Sony’s PlayStation 4 Pro and Microsoft’s Xbox One X holiday season sales combined with Epyc datacenter revenues.

EPYC datacenter shipped to key cloud and OEM datacenter customers. Epyc is deployed by three of the super seven mega datacenter providers including Baidu, Microsoft Azure and Tencent. HP Enterprise and Dell are bringing their EPYC-based platforms to market in Q4.

In Q4 2017 AMD expects non-GAAP gross margin to be approximately 35 percent, non-GAAP operating expenses to be approximately $410 million, non-GAAP interest expense, taxes, and other to be approximately $30 million, and inventory to be down sequentially.

The 2017 annual revenue is expected to increase more than 20 percent compared 2016.

All in all, the 2017 plan is working quite well, but despite the good scores, Wall Street was not that impressed. In the aftermarket, AMD’s share price dropped 9.61 percent from $14.25 USD to $12.69 as the investors expected more in Q4 2017.

It is very easy to forget that a year to date AMD (market cap $13.492 Billion) was trading at $7.50 so roughly a half of what it was yesterday with dips as low as $6.30 (November 10 2016). And yet these same semiconductor expert investors strongly believe that $198.68 for Nvidia stock and $119.208 billion is justified.

It is all in the eye of the beholder, or how well you are pitching your story.

Courtesy-Fud

Will 7nm SoCs Finally Come To Market In 2018

October 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

It looks like that you will see first 7nm SoCs in the second half of 2018 and currently all the major players are working on designs.

This is the next big step for the mobile industry that will significantly increase the number of transistors per square millimeter while reducing the overall SoC power. The current trend is to use more AI centric circuits in the designs as this helps the SoC and the overall device to understand the given data much better.

AI, of course, stands for Artificial intelligence and there is another term that the industry uses called Machine Learning. ARM promises its Cortex A75/A55 in the course of 2018 and there will be quite a lot of these in late 2018.

Samsung 7nm

There will be multiple players offering 7nm. Samsung calls its 7nm EUV, short for extreme ultraviolet lithography. Samsung should be ready for full production in 2018.

Samsung has 8nm manufacturing on its roadmap and that, to us, sounds like a glorified and heavily optimized 10nm.

TSMC 7nm

TSMC, the other 7nm player, has announced that it plans to have risk production this year. TSMC’s 7nm Fin Field-Effect Transistor was already used for 256Mb SRAM with double digit yields in June 2016. Risk production started in April 2017. Of course, it’s one thing is to make a SRAM chip and another other is to get a multibillion transistors SoC in full production.

TSMC claims that compared to its 10nm FinFET process, TSMC’s 7nm FinFET features 1.6X logic density, ~20 percent speed improvement, and ~40 percent power reduction.

GlobalFoundries 7nm

GlobalFoundries promises more than 40 percent performance with its 7nm design compared to 14nm designs and that the total power from 14nm to 7nm will fall by more than 60 percent. GlobalFoundries didn’t compare its designs to 10nm as it never managed to move to this rather tough manufacturing process.

GloFo expects customers to place over 17 million gates per square millimeter and that the first risk production will start in 1H 2018. The 7nm LP process from GlobalFoundries is based on optical lithography with EUV compatibility and it supports up to 17 levels of metal layers.

Snapdragon 835 in 10nm features three billion chips and the 7nm variant can pack significantly more in the same space. There is absolutely no doubt that Apple, Qualcomm, Samsung, Huawei and MediaTek are working on 7nm designs as we speak.

7nm Gains

One of the key advantages that the mobile industry has that it moves faster to a new manufacturing node than the PC and GPU industries. Qualcomm was the first company to ship 10nm three billion transistor chips and Intel still cannot ship its 10nm design that is now almost two years late. Originally Cannon Lake 10nm chips were expected in 2016 and they have been pushed back to 2018.

AMD is using 14nm for both CPU and GPUs while Nvidia has 12nm which is really a derived and optimized 16nm FinFET process from TSMC.

Bear in mind that when it comes to the PC chips, Intel has some of the best engineers in the world and it has been stuck with 14nm for three generations now. The tick tock clock got broken as the transition to a new node becomes harder than ever.

Courtesy-Fud

Nintendo Stock Hits A High Road

October 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Nintendo shares have hit a ten-year high following the announcement that Switch production is being increased to two million units per month.

As reported by Digitimes, the Switch is upping production from a previous undisclosed number, estimated to be between 800,000 and one million.

Nintendo shares are now trading at their highest value since March 2008 after rising 2.66% in Tokyo on Friday, gaining a total 77% since the beginning of 2017.

The Switch, which was already Nintendo’s fastest selling console, is expected to sell 20 million units by the end of the year, a source told Digitimes, far exceeding the 13 million predicted earlier this year.

The news comes amid speculation that the Switch could soon be released in China following the announcement that the smash-hit mobile game Honour of Kings was coming to western markets via the Switch.

Honour of Kings reportedly accounts for around 50% of publisher Tencent’s mobile revenue and has over 200 million users in the region. By managing to strike a deal with Tencent, Nintendo could be well positioned to release in China, and the portable format of the Switch plays into the handheld dominated market where the Xbox One and Playstation 4 enjoy little success initially.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is The Ryzen 5 Falling

October 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The price of AMD’s top-of-the-line AMD Ryzen 5 microprocessor has fallen to below $265.00 and is cheaper than the cut-price Ryzen 5 1600.

Apparently, it is all due to the fact that the cheaper 3.2GHz Ryzen 5 1600, which can be overclocked to similar speeds to the 1600X, and has a Wraith Spire CPU cooler is super popular. Those who get a 3.6GHz 1600X will need to splash out on a cooler.

The Ryzen 5 1600X was first cut to less than £200 over the weekend by Aria PC, as a  “super special price” of $197.94, plus £6.95 for postage and packing. A day later, eBuyer slashed the price  to $225.98, the lowest that the Ryzen 5 1600X has been since it was launched just six months ago.

There are some other cool bargains – the price of the Ryzen 7 1800X is down by more than £90 to$388.98 at eBuyer, $11 cheaper at Aria PC and at $400.00 on Amazon – almost $150 less than its original list price.

All this happens as Itel unveiled its Coffee Lake codenamed CPUs in Intel’s first real response to AMD’s Ryzen launches and AMD promises Pinnacle for those who can wait until next year.

AMD is soon to launch Ryzen APUs, with Ryzen CPUs integrated with Vega-based GPUs for use in laptops and other mobile devices.

Courtesy-Fud

Does Virtual Reality Devices Have A Future

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Analyst at IDC have been shuffling their tarot decks and reached the conclusion that AR and VR are going to continue to grow like crazy – despite the fact that other analysts are not so sure.

IDC is forecasting the combined augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headset market to reach 13.7 million units in 2017, growing to 81.2 million units by 2021 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 56.1 percent. VR headsets will account for more than 90 percent of the market until 2019 while AR will account for the rest. In the final two years of forecast, IDC expects AR headsets to experience exponential growth as they capture a quarter of the market by the end of the forecast.

Jitesh Ubrani, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Device Trackers said that AR headset shipments today are a fraction of where IDC expects them to be in the next five years, both in terms of volume and functionality. “AR headsets are also on track to account for over US$30 billion in revenues by 2021, almost double that of VR, as most of the AR headsets will carry much higher average selling prices with earlier adopters being the commercial segment. Meanwhile, most consumers will experience AR on mobile devices, although it’s only a matter of time before Apple’s ARKit- and Google’s ARCore-enabled apps make their way into the market.

“AR headsets are also on track to account for over US$30 billion in revenues by 2021, almost double that of VR, as most of the AR headsets will carry much higher average selling prices with earlier adopters being the commercial segment. Meanwhile, most consumers will experience AR on mobile devices, although it’s only a matter of time before Apple’s ARKit- and Google’s ARCore-enabled apps make their way into consumer grade headsets.”

While AR headsets are poised for long-term growth along with a profound impact on the way businesses and consumers compute, VR headsets will drive a near-term shift in computing. Recent price reductions across all the major platforms, plus new entrants appearing in the next month, should drive growth in the second half of 2017 and will help to offset a slow start to the year. Screenless viewers such as the Gear VR will continue to maintain a majority share throughout the forecast, although the category’s share will continue to decline as lower-priced tethered head-mounted displays (HMDs) gain share over the course of the next two years. Meanwhile, IDC is predicting that standalone HMDs will gain share in the outer years of the forecast.

Tom Mainelli, vice president, Devices and AR/VR at IDC said: “Virtual reality has suffered from some unrealistic growth expectations in 2017, but overall the market is still growing at a reasonable rate and new products from Microsoft and its partners should help drive additional interest in the final quarter of this year. As we head into 2018 we’ll see additional new products appearing, including standalone headsets from major players, and we expect to see a growing number of companies embracing the technology to enable new business processes and training opportunities.”

Courtesy-Fud

Did AMD Optimize The RX Vega For Forza

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

AMD has apparently done a hell of a job optimizing its drivers for Forza Motorsport 7 game as its Radeon RX Vega 64 and Vega 56 graphics cards managed to beat Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti and GTX 1080.

According to benchmarks done by Computerbase.de, using Intel’s Core i7-6850K CPU, 16GB of DDR4-3000 memory and latest Radeon and Geforce drivers, AMD’s Radeon RX Vega 64 managed to beat Nvidia’s GTX 1080 Ti by quite a margin.

The RX Vega lineup managed to beat the Nvidia counterparts at both 1080p and 1440p resolutions while the Nvidia GTX 1080 Ti managed to regain its lead on the higher 2160p resolution, but only in average FPS, whereas both RX Vega 64 and RX Vega 56 were high up in the table in 99th Percentile.

To make things even more interesting, AMD’s Radeon RX 580 and the R9 Fury X both exceeded the GTX 1080 Ti in those 99th Percentile results at lower 1080p resolution.

Computerbase.de also gave a heads up to Nvidia, which said that this is the correct performance of its graphics cards on DirectX 12 and Forza Motorsport 7, which means that AMD is certainly doing something right when it comes to driver optimizations, as those RX Vega graphics cards were nowhere near Nvidia’s GTX 1080/1080 Ti in earlier benchmarks.

Hopefully, AMD will be able to push more developers and optimize its RX Vega lineup for future and the rest of the current games.

Courtesy-Fud

AMD To Launch 12nm Lower Power Ryzen Processor In Early 2018

October 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has told its partners that it plans to launch in February 2018 an upgraded version of its Ryzen series processors built using a 12nm low-power (12LP) process at Globalfoundries.

According to Digitimes,which has been talking to its deep throats among the motherboard makers, AMD will initially release the CPUs codenamed Pinnacle 7, followed by mid-range Pinnacle 5 and entry-level Pinnacle 3 processors in March 2018.

AMD will launch the low power version of Pinnacle processors in April 2018 and the enterprise version Pinnacle Pro in May 2018.

Their corresponding chipsets, the 400 series, will also become available in March 2018 with X470- or B450-based motherboards to be the first to hit the store shelves. The chipsets are still designed by ASMedia and its orders for the chipsets are expected to grow dramatically starting January 2018.

Thanks to stable chip orders for Microsoft’s and Sony’s game consoles, increased demand for graphics cards, growing sales for its Ryzen 7/5 processors, new Ryzen Pro product line for the enterprise sector and the top-end Ryzen Treadripper processors, AMD managed to achieve 19 percent sequential growth in second-quarter 2017 revenues and expects the amount to grow further by 23 percent in the third quarter.

AMD is also expected to see its share of the desktop CPU market return to 30 percent in the first half of 2018.

Courtesy-Fud

Is iOS 11 Draining Your Batter Too Fast

October 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A study conducted by security research firm Wandera has confirmed that iOS 11 is causing iPhone and iPad batteries to drain twice as fast.

Wandera’s report shows how, on average, an iPhone or iPad running iOS 10 takes 240 minutes of usage to drain the battery from 100 percent to zero. With iOS 11 installed, this number plummets to just 96 minutes — over twice as fast.

Wandera conducted its research by looking at “a subset of 50,000 moderate to heavy iPhone and iPad users.” Over three days, battery decay rate was monitored on iOS 10 and iOS 11 devices. We’ve already mentioned that iOS 10 devices last for 240 minutes and iOS 11 device just 96, minutes, but Wandera provides another way of looking at the figures:

The decay rate for iOS 10 is 0.006958 percent per second and for iOS 11 it’s 0.01739 percent per second.

Wandera says that Apple fanboys will have to suck the battery loss because if they downgrade their phones to a versions where battery issues are not a problem they will be stuck with poor security.  Of course they could always throw the phone out the window and buy something cheaper and better.

You can slightly improve the problem by limiting the number of apps that can refresh in the background (Settings > General > Background App Refresh) and limiting the number of apps that can access your location in the background (Settings > Privacy > Location Services).

The problem has been known about on Apple news groups for a while now, but so far there has been no actual study into it, or any confirmation of the problem from Jobs’ Mob. Apple fanboys have rushed to the Internet to reassure users that they are nto experiencing any problems. But given most Apple fanboys only use their phone when they want to wave it smugly under the nose of someone with a proper phone, their use might be more limited.

 

Courtesy-Fud

Is The Ryzen 5 APU On The Horizon

September 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Details of a new Ryzen 5 APU, with onboard Radeon Vega Graphics, has been spotted on Geekbench, giving both a hint of its performance, and specifications.

It is not really a big deal as we have been pretty much been predicting this spec for ages.  The Ryzen 5 2500U APU boasts four cores and eight threads, and 4MB of L3 cache, and runs at 2GHz. On Geekbench, the APU scored 3561 in single-core performance, and 9421 running on all cores.

The 2000 series of APUs will be launched around the time of CES.

Courtesy-Fud

Is MediaTek Falling Behind

September 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

According to Digitimes, the outfit is not going be able to release anything using these technologies in 2018, as it has moved to focus on the mid-range smartphone market segment.

MediaTek has shifted its R&D resources to the Helio P series mobile chips designed for mid-range devices, and put the development of its high-end Helio X series on hold.  Alll this could be a warning that Taiwan’s IC design industry growth could be limited.

MediaTek has been a leading Taiwan-based IC designer and usually partners with TSMC to develop advanced-node mobile chips. MediaTek’s development of 7/10nm chips is slowing down, as the fabless chipmaker has decided to go back to basics to overcome its structural challenges, Digitimes claimed.

MediaTek has suffered declines in smartphone chip shipments and market share since 2016. The company’s gross margin for 2016 reached a record low of 35.6 percent, despite record revenues.

MediaTek co-CEO Rick Tsai was quoted in previous reports saying the company will be striving to improve its gross margin by 1-2pp every quarter over the next 2-3 quarters, and expects its gross margin to return to the 37-39 percent level as early as the second half of 2018.

Tsai also noted the Helio P-series smartphone SoCs will be a major product focus of the company, and 12nm will be the main process technology MediaTek’s mobile chips will be made using during the first half of 2018. Nevertheless, Tsai disclosed MediaTek will complete tape-out of 7nm products in the second half of 2018.

Courtesy-Fud

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