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Will AMD Go CPU/GPU In Datacenters?

July 28, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD is drawing up a cunning plan to build a “super-chip” with a CPU and a GPU in a single box to put the fear of god into Nvidia and Intel in the data centre.

According to PC World the move will put AMD back into the server business, which is pretty much dead in the water at the moment.

Apparently when Zen arrives it wants to merge the CPU with a high-performance GPU to create a mega-chip for high-performance tasks.

AMD CEO Lisa Su said the tech will involve fusing Vega and Zen into one big chip for enterprise servers and supercomputing.

She said the move will come “in time”. “It’s an area where combining the two technologies makes a lot of sense.”

AMD has had a crack at this before. It has already combined full-featured CPUs and GPUs on made-to-order chips for the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. The 5-billion transistor Xbox One chip uses an eight-core AMD CPU code-named Jaguar and a Radeon graphics processor. But this is the first time that it has been talked about as a way of getting itself back into serverland.

Ironically it is possible thanks to the fact that GPUs are being used as co-processors in some of the world’s fastest computers. Google has slipped them into data centers for deep learning tasks. But this is world where Nvidia rules.

The only way for AMD to beat Nvidia and Intel in that space is to fuse the GPU and CPU into a single speedy box. Chances are it would push into the market on price and efficiency based on the concept that companies would only have to buy one chip.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is The Apple Watch Dragging The Smartwatch Industry Down?

July 27, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

After dragging up the smart watch industry thanks to its legions of fanboys who will buy any old rubbish provided it has an Apply logo, Jobs’ Mob is causing it all to crash again.

For those who came in late, after Apple invented the smartwatch two years later than its rivals, it was supposed to sell millions of them. To be fair it did reasonably well considering its product was out-of-date and pretty much useless. It sold about six million of them to the loyal fanboys base who would buy a dog turd if it had an Apple logo. Smartwatches were a small market and six million was rather a lot.

But this figure was well below the 40 million that some analysts claimed it would sell. The smartwatch got bad reviews and lacked most of the functionality that its rivals had. It was also expensive.

Apple appears to have lost interest in the devices It fails to mention them in polite company and rumours of “innovations” of the tech are few and far between. This has resulted in the smartwatch industry which was propped by Apple’s interest taking a battering.

Vendors shipped a total of 3.5 million smartwatches worldwide last quarter. This Q2 2016 figure is down 32 percent from the 5.1 million units shipped in Q2 2016, marking the first decline on record.

The figures don’t count basic bands sold by companies like Fitbit so Apple is the undisputed leader. The latest quarterly figures come from IDC, which said that Apple’s market share decreased 25 percentage points (from 72 percent to 47 percent) and it shipped less than half the smartwatches (1.6 million). But the company still holds almost half the market, with every other vendor shipping fewer than a million units.

Samsung gained 9 percentage points (from 7 percent to 16 percent), thanks to shipping 200,000 more units compared to the same quarter last year. IDC attributes the gain to solid distribution though American carriers. The Gear S2 lineup is Samsung’s biggest success and doesn’t appear to depend on the company’s smartphones.

Lenovo gained 6 percentage points (from 3 percent to 9 percent), shipping 100,000 more units and jumping into third place. IDC believes this is thanks to the company’s Motorola brand moving quickly into smartwatches and becoming the de facto Android Wear choice for round form factors.

LG gained 4 percentage points (from 4 percent to 8 percent), also shipping 100,000 more units but slipping to fourth place.

Garmin gained 2 percentage points (from 2 percent to 4 percent), despite flat shipments. Its Connect IQ-enabled devices remain niche, as they mainly only target athletes.

Of course the Tame Apple press claims all that will change when Apple releases its refresh of the watch which has all the features that were missing when the Smart Watch launched before. However even if it does happen this time, the technology is still two years too late and fanboys are going to find it hard justifying an upgrade to their parents. They might have to take on another paper rounded to pay for it.

All this indicates that after a period of Apple bloat, some sanity is being restored to the smartwatch industry which is, and will always be, niche.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Are Movie Theaters Moving To Virtual Reality?

July 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung’s Gear VR headset has been installed in a what is believed to be the first Virtual Reality popup cinema.

The VIVID VR Cinema has been constructed in Toronto, Canada, where a total of three different films were being shown — The Visitor, where a young couple prepares for the woman’s greatest fear to arrive; Imago, a title about a former dancer in a coma who’s aware of her surroundings; and Sonar, a movie about a drone that discovers a signal on an asteroid.

The cinema is small – only 30 seats. Each has a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a Gear VR with a Galaxy S7 clipped to the back. Tickets cost $20 for the 40-minutes to watch the three films.

The movies have been carefully crafted to let their viewers to choose different narratives to focus on so even the plot is interactive.

It is expected that more of this type of entertainment will arrive when more content is available. It might be a couple of decades before the first Hollywood blockbuster though.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is nVidia’s Geforce GTX 1060 Living Up To The Hype?

July 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

As announced earlier, Nvidia has officially lifted the NDA off its Geforce GTX 1060 allowing sites to publish reviews which also means that retailers/e-tailers now have the green light to start selling the new graphics card.

Based on 16nm GP106 GPU, the new Geforce GTX 1060 is the third Nvidia Geforce graphics card based on the new Pascal GPU architecture. The GP106 GPU packs 1280 CUDA cores, 80 TMUs and 48 ROPs and it will be coming with 6GB of GDDR5 memory with a 192-bit memory interface.

The new Nvidia Geforce GTX 1060 Founders Edition, which will be apparently sold only by Nvidia, will work at 1506MHz and 1709MHz for the GPU base and Boost clocks while memory will end up with a reference clock of 8000MHz, which adds up to 192GB/s of memory bandwidth.

The reference Founders Edition comes with a standard blower-style cooler which is somewhat simplified and lacks both heatpipes or vapor-chamber, mostly due to the fact that the GTX 1060 has a 120W TDP. The GTX 1060 needs a single 6-pin PCIe power connector which leaves it plenty of headroom for further overclocking.

Performance-wise, the Geforce GTX 1060 is on par with the GTX 980 4GB, and since it comes with 2GB more VRAM, it is a better choice. More importantly, the Geforce GTX 1060 is faster than the RX 480 in most cases, which is its direct competitor on the market.

Unfortunately, the GTX 1060 lacks SLI support, probably because it would kill the sales of the GTX 1070 and GTX 1080 graphics cards.

Priced at US $299 for the Founders Edition and coming with a MSRP of US $249, the Geforce GTX 1060 is quite impressive, offering more performance than the recently launched Radeon RX 480 and bringing that impressive Pascal power efficiency to the mainstream market.

Hopefully, this will mark the beginning of the price wars in the mainstream graphics card segment and will push the prices closer to the MSRP. Both the RX 480 and the GTX 1060 offer decent performance per buck so it will be a fight to the bitter end.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Does Pokemon Go Really Show The Possibilities Of VR?

July 20, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Pokemon GO hasn’t even finished its worldwide rollout, but it’s all anyone is talking about or reading about this week; it’s truly inescapable. I haven’t seen this level of mainstream attention for a gaming product since Nintendo’s original Wii, and that’s truly a good thing for Nintendo. The company could use a positive story after dealing with so much negativity from the Wii U’s failure.

As Rob Fahey pointed out today, it’s also hugely encouraging for the future of Nintendo on mobile. Whatever you think of Miitomo, what Pokemon GO has easily proved in only the span of a week, is that with the right approach Nintendo’s IP can do amazing things on a smartphone. I can’t wait to see how Nintendo brings its most cherished IP, like Mario and Zelda to the mobile space. And should the upcoming NX somehow fail, shareholders can rest easy knowing that the company can triumph on devices it didn’t manufacture.

After racing to the top of the charts in the US and Australia, and just recently in the UK as well according to App Annie, Pokemon GO has already helped add $9 billion to Nintendo’s market cap. The monetization potential for sponsored locations and real-world businesses is staggering to think about as well. App Annie says it could “easily envision” Pokemon GO generating $1 billion annually.

The big question surrounding Pokemon GO now, of course, is will it stand the test of time or burn out in just a couple months? The mobile market has been evolving and games can reach maturity much faster. Nicolas Beraudo, MD EMEA at App Annie, commented, “…the average time to maturity for new releases dropped over 60% from 2014 to 2015, a reduction from 50 weeks to 17. What this means is that there is a trend that publishers have to release more games than before to stay profitable.” Once Niantic and Nintendo finish the global rollout, however, ensure that server issues are fixed and possibly introduce more features, Pokemon GO may be able to stay successful for some time.

Another major lesson to be learned from this incredible Pokemon week is how easy it is for people to get into augmented reality. You don’t need an expensive PC or headset or to block out the world and ignore your wife and children to play AR games. People in the know have been telling me all-year long that AR is the technology with the truly mainstream potential. Former Epic Games executive Mike Capps tweeted, “Great, now I have to change my slides saying ‘AR overtakes VR usage by 2021′ and replace that with ’2016′ and hope nobody remembers.” Indeed, Pokemon GO has shown us all that the entire world can easily hop on the AR bandwagon, and with Magic Leap now saying it’s in “go mode” and CastAR still on track for a family-friendly AR system release in 2017, it won’t be long before everyone’s talking about how fun AR gaming is. VR, meanwhile, will no doubt get better and better and offer some incredibly compelling experiences of its own, but I have my doubts on whether its potential can ever match AR’s.

Elsewhere in news, a story that received a lot of play this week was how Warner Bros. settled with the FTC for paying online streamers to say positive things about its games. YouTube celebrity PewDiePie was mentioned – in hindsight probably unfairly – in almost everyone’s headlines. PewDiePie explained in a video response that not only were the videos in question labeled as sponsored by Warner Bros, but they were published at a time when YouTubers weren’t even legally required to disclose such arrangements. PewDiePie, to his credit, was disclosing the nature of those relationships before he even had to, and the media (GamesIndustry.biz included) completely failed to mention that not-so-small detail. Love him or hate him, I think it’s fair to say that PewDiePie’s been vindicated.

And in a story that we’ve been following since last week when the CS:GO Lotto site owners were called out for the unscrupulous people that they are, Valve finally came around and said to itself, “Oh hey, maybe it’s actually not so great that we’ve been sued and are being associated with online gambling.” Why it took the Steam platform holder so long to come out against the gambling sites and to deny any involvement is a mystery to me. It’s good that the company sent out requests to the gambling sites to cease operations through Steam, but as one GI.biz commenter already noted, Valve could be taking an even tougher stance and could very well be launching a lawsuit of their own. This story is far from over, and in the meantime, you should be aware that Twitch has taken notice and changed its terms of service to ban gambling-related broadcasts.

Courtesy-Gi.biz

 

Are nVidia’s Days Numbered?

July 19, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nvidia is not going to come out of new competition from AMD and Intel that well, according to analysts Well Fargo.

The analysts have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and come to the conclusion that Nvidia’s growth days are numbered and it could face some serious problems from AMD in graphics and Intel in co-processors.

The report said that renewed competition from AMD in graphics and Intel in coprocessors could create headwinds to growth and possibly limit Nvidia’s ability to beat expectations in the near term.

While the analysts expected Nvidia to continue to grow its coprocessor business in the future rising competition from Intel will also stuff up its momentum.

“The Knights Landing family might help Intel regain some share in the HPC coprocessor market, though Nvidia has also introduced a new coprocessor family this year, its Tesla P100.”

At the moment Nvidia shares are probably worth a “significantly” less than its valuation range of $30-36.

We expect that the analysts who wrote this will be having to get their stagecoach moving fast if they want to evade the tribe of Nvidia fanboys who will want to put arrows in their hats.

 

Courtesy-Fud

 

nVidia’s Volta Goes FinFET

July 18, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A little birdie told us that Nvidia is giving its Volta the 16nm FinFET treatment. This product uses stacked DRAM too so it looks like the whole thing will be pretty bleeding edge.

Our same deep throat told us that the performance per watt is expected to increase tremendously. Although this might be vague, little is known about Volta other than it is arriving after Pascal so any information we get is news. The earliest we expect Volta is 2017.

It is interesting to see that the lag between the GPU manufacturing and mobile processor manicuring is getting bigger. We expect to see Apple and Qualcomm making their first 10nm chips this year and it is unlikely that the GPU guys can match them.

The next generation Nvidia Volta GPU will stick with TSMC’s 16nm FinFET at . AMD will use 14nm Global Foundries for its Vega HBM 2.0 powered card. This is also scheduled for 2017. AMD’s CPUs will go directly from 14nm to 7nm so there is a chance that GPUs will skip 10nm and go directly to 7nm. This will probably take a lot longer to happen.

GPUs are complex parts and it takes time to get them to work using new manufacturing processes.

Mobile SoCs will head to 7nm in late 2017 or early 2018 but it will be interesting to see what will be the next manufacturing nod for the GPUs.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft Teams Up With IBM To Push Enterprise Surface Tablet

July 14, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft said its Surface devices pulls in about $1 billion in revenue every quarter, and the company hopes to raise that number by putting the devices on more corporate desktops.

The company is teaming up with IBM, one of the world’s largest software makers, to write applications specifically for Surface devices. The goal is to tailor Surface devices to meet the needs of financial, consumer goods and retail organizations.

The deal is significant for Microsoft, which wants to make Surface devices more attractive to enterprises. Market research firm IDC expects enterprise PC upgrades to pick up in the second half of this year, and Surface devices with tailored software could appeal to companies.

Surface tablets are already used by organizations like the National Football League and Emirates airline. It is one of the better Windows PCs available, but it has had more success with consumers and professional buyers than enterprises.

For IBM, the deal is much like the one it struck with Apple in 2014 to develop apps for iPhones and iPads. IBM will acquire more enterprise software customers, and it won’t have to worry about supporting the hardware.

The IBM custom software will take advantage of unique Surface features, Microsoft said. The applications will revolve around analytics, reporting, employee productivity, management and forecasting.

Microsoft also struck a similar partnership with Booz-Allen Hamilton to work on Surface tablets for government, public sector and health-care organizations, with a focus on security and manageability of devices. U.S. government organizations have specific requirements in computers purchased, particularly in the area of security.

Further details about the deals weren’t shared.

 

 

Samsung Debuts UFS Memory

July 11, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung has announced the introduction of the first Universal Flash Storage (UFS) memory card line-up, which it claims has capacities of up to 256GB and speeds up to 530MB/s.

The range is based on the JEDEC Solid State Technology Association Universal Flash Storage 1.0 Card Extension Standard. It is a bit of a mouthful, but it means that they are next-generation replacements for the micro-SD format.

Samsung’s internal testing,  which may or may not be accurate, showed its top-end 256GB UFS memory card offers 530MB/s sequential read performance – some five times faster than ‘a typical UHS-1 micro-SD card.’  It can carry out 40,000 input output operations per second (IOPS), bringing performance in line with SATA-connected solid-state drives (SSDs).

Senior vice president for memory product planning and application engineering at Samsung Electronics Jung-bae Lee said that Samsung’s new 256GB UFS card will provide an ideal user experience for digitally-minded consumers and lead the industry in establishing the most competitive memory card solution.

‘By launching our new high-capacity, high-performance UFS card line-up, we are changing the growth paradigm of the memory card market to prioritise performance and user convenience above all.’

Yes he used the word “paradigm” so he had probably run out of real words to say about the device.

Performance drops below SSDs for write tasks. At 170MB/s sequential write performance is not bad and better than a micro-SD card. Samsung has said when the cards are coming out or how much they will cost.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will Virtual Reality Really Take Off

July 8, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

While beancounters have been predicting that VR will arise to become an important part of the IT industry, some of us have wondered if that was likely if the technology was too expensive and lacked a “killer app.”

But it is starting to look like the killer app will not be gaming, or office management, or anything else that the beancounters have been looking at. The real killer app, like VHS before it, will be smut.

Last week a group of VR retailers got together to produce a virtual erotica exhibition in Japan showing the porn applications available for VR. They had a few machines on hand and they expected a moderate amount of interest.

What happened was that shed loads of lonely Japanese blokes patiently queued up outside waiting to see if the tech was ready to meet their expectations. When we say loads we mean far too many. The exhibition had to pre-maturely close due to the pressing crowds.

While this made for a funny story, it actually shows who VR’s target market will be, initially. It will not be geeks or gamers it will be those who want a sexual experience either because they can’t get one, or can’t be bothered. It is these guys who are going to provide the base numbers that will make the machines profitable, rather than those who want to chainsaw zombies in 3D. For practical reasons these guys have deep pockets too.

It was the same people who provided the bedrock for internet bandwidth since the 1990s. Smut is still a mainstay of the Internet, although it is nowhere near as much as it was at the beginning. That is pretty much how this will play out over the next decade.

The porn users will be the early adopters and they will create the offer growth opportunities for component suppliers, including sensors, infrared (IR)/laser transmitters and LED chips. They will swiftly drive the cost of headsets down so that they become more accessible to other users and uses.
They will also force the development of better technology. Say what you like about porn, if it looks fake, or the experience is not particularly real then people are swiftly going to be dissatisfied.

This is going mean lighter VR head-mounted display (HMD) devices, more MEMS parts and IR/LED sensing components to detect the positions and movements of a “target.”

What we find interesting is that going through all the stories about VR and its cousin AR is that there is a marked reluctance for anyone to admit that this is what is about to happen. There are a few off-hand references to the “entertainment industry” or using the devices to “watch movies” but we can’t find anywhere that pundits are actually saying that “porn will be the killer app” – other than Fudzilla.

Practically this means that a lot of investment and marketing is heading in the wrong direction. While people are talking games, or even office applications, they are missing out on the apps and hardware which will propel VR and AR through its initial adoption hurdle.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is nVidia Having Production Issues?

July 1, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The rumor mill is flat out claiming that TSMC is getting the blame for a shortage of GTX 1080 and GTX 1070 supply issues. However, sources have been on the blower to say that is untrue, the lack of availability are generated by exceptionally great sales.

The 1080′s cards were launched in 27 May  and the GTX 1070 on 10 June, however stocks are scarcer than an intelligent post-Brexit plan in the UK. Even the over-priced Founders’ Edition cards are as rare as an apology from an Italian politician.

The rumor is that that TSMC is having trouble producing the 16nm FinFET chips that power the Pascal GPUs in the GTX 1080 and GTX 1070. However what we are seeing is that interest is overwhelming supply – the Geforce has been selling better than any high end card in the recent history.

The reason is simple – the card’s performance is exceptional and if you are in the market for $500+ card you definitely want the 1080 or the 1070. AMD so far has nothing new to offer as a Fury X replacement.

According to many leaks Radeon RX480 will launch tomorrow, June 29th, but as you should probably know by now, this card cannot compete with GTX 1080 or 1070. The performance of Radeon RX480 should be around between GTX 960 and GTX 970, which is quite good for the mainstream card.

Again, people who spend $500+ on GPUs want more than that – they want to play Doom and Battlefield 1, or similar high end at 1440 or 4K resolution and Ultra settings. This is what is causing the shortage of cards.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple Begins Testing Of Safari 10 Browser

June 27, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has begun testing Safari 10 with developers running the 2014 and 2015 editions of macOS, gearing up for a fall release of the updated browser to users of Yosemite and El Capitan.

Safari 10 was introduced earlier this month as part of macOS Sierra, this year’s operating system upgrade.

Apple typically supports its newest browser on three editions of macOS: The latest version and its two predecessors. The now-current Safari 9, for example, receives updates, including security patches, on last year’s El Capitan, 2014′s Yosemite and 2013′s Mavericks.

Safari 10 will be supported on Sierra, El Capitan and Yosemite. Meanwhile, Mavericks will remain on Safari 9.

The Safari 10 preview is currently available only to registered Apple developers, who pay $99 annually for access to early builds, development tools and documentation.

The general public will get its first look at Safari 10 next month after Apple opens up its broader-based public beta program for Sierra. Those who have signed on to the beta preview will also be able to download preliminary versions of Safari 10 for El Capitan and Yosemite, running the preview browser but sticking with their older, more stable operating systems.

Some of Safari 10′s signature features will be available only within macOS Sierra, including web-based Apple Pay — where payment is authorized with an iPhone or Apple Watch — but others will be supported by older versions of the operating system. Among the most notable are the new ability for developers to distribute and sell Safari add-ons in the Mac App Store, and easy portability of iOS content blockers to macOS.

If Apple replicates last year’s beta schedule, it will release the first public preview of macOS Sierra and Safari 10 around July 14.

 

 

AMD Goes 32 Cores Zeplin

June 27, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A few months back Nick wrote about AMD Zen processor  found in a Linux Kernel Mailing List confirming that Zeppelin had  support for eight bundles of four cores on a single chip, or 32 physical processing cores.

This tied in with a story written in August of 2015 about a MCM Multi Chip module that featured a Zeppelin core, a super-fast 100GB/s interconnection via 4 GMI links and Greenland (Vega) high performance GPU with 4+ TFlops of performance. This APU will still happen, it will just be a bit later – the end of 2017.

Now we have a few more details about Zeppelin cluster and this is proving to be another “Fudzilla told you so” moment.  Apparently you can put up to four Zeppelin CPU clusters on a one chip and make a 32 core chip. This will be connected via coherent interconnect (coherent data fabric).

Each Zeppelin module has eight Zen cores and each Zen core has 512 KB of L2 cache. Four Zen cores share 8MB or L3 cache making the total amount of L3 cache per Zeppelin cluster 16 MB.

Each Zeppelin cluster will have PCIe Gen 3, SATA 3, and a 10GbE network connection. A server version of the chip has the server controller hub, DDR4 memory controller and AMD secure processors.

AMD will have at least three pin compatible versions of the next generation Opteron using Zeppelin cluster of Zen cores. There will be a 8 core versions with single Zeppelin cluster, dual Zeppelin cluster version and a quad Zeppelin version, that one that we have called Naples which will have 64MB L3 cache. All this sounds rather a lot.

We are expecting to see Zen-based Opterons in eight, sixteen and thirty two core versions for servers in 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

 

AMD Finally Confirms Polaris Specs

June 21, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

In an official slides that have leaked, AMD has confirmed most of the specifications for both the Polaris 10 and the Polaris 11 GPUs which will power the upcoming Radeon RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 graphics cards.

According to the slides published by Computerbase.de, both GPUs are based on AMD’s 4th generation Graphics Core Next (GCN 4.0) GPU architecture, offer 2.8 perf/watt improvement compared to the previous generation, have 4K encode and decode capabilities as well as bring DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 and HDR support.

Powering three different graphics cards, these two GPUs will cover different market segments, so the Polaris 10, codename Ellesmere, will be powering both the Radeon RX 480, meant for affordable VR and 1440p gaming as well as the recently unveiled RX 470, meant to cover the 1080p gaming segment. The Polaris 10 packs 36 Compute Units (CUs) so it should end up with 2304 Stream Processors. Both the RX 480 and RX 470 should be coming with 4GB or 8GB of GDDR5 memory, paired up with a 256-bit memory interface. The Ellesmere GPU offers over 5 TFLOPs of compute performance and should peak at 150W.

The Radeon RX 470 should be based on Ellesmere Pro GPU and will probably end up with both lower clocks as well as less Stream Processors and according to our sources close to the company, should launch with a US $179 price tag, while the RX 480 should launch on 29th of June with a US $199 price tag for a reference 4GB version. Most AIB partners will come up with a custom 8GB graphics cards which should probably launch at US $279+.

The Polaris 11 GPU, codename Baffin, will have 16 CUs and should end up with 1024 Stream Processors. The recently unveiled Radeon RX 460 based on this GPU should come with 4GB of GDDR5 memory paired up with a 128-bit memory interface. The Radeon RX 460 targets casual and MOBA gamers and should provide decent competition to the Geforce GTX 950 as both have a TDP of below 75W and do not need additional PCIe power connectors.

According to earlier leaked benchmarks, AMD’s Polaris architecture packs quite a punch considering both its price and TDP so AMD just might have a chance to get a much needed rebound in the market share.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Patent Dispute May Hamper Apple’s iPhone 6 Sales In China

June 20, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus face a looming sales ban in China over a patent dispute with a little-known local company.

The phones infringe a design patent held by Chinese device maker Shenzhen Baili, a Beijing intellectual property office ruled, according to a notice posted Thursday.

The office ordered Apple and its partners to halt sales of both products, though Apple has appealed and the phones are currently still on sale there.

“We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court,” Apple said Friday in an email.

The iPhone 6 models violate an “exterior design patent” held by Shenzhen Baili. The company was granted the patent in China in July 2014, shortly before Apple released the iPhone 6.

Shenzhen Baili used the patented design to make smartphones under its 100+ brand. The devices start at only 799 yuan, or about US$120, while the iPhone 6 initially sold for 5,288 yuan.

Shenzhen Baili warned Apple in 2014 that it might sue for patent infringement.

It’s not Apple’s first legal challenge in China. In 2012 the company battled a different company there which claimed ownership of the iPad trademark. Apple ended up paying US$60 to resolve that dispute – not a huge sum considering the importance of the Chinese market.

Earlier this year, in April, Chinese regulators shut down Apple’s iTunes Movies and iBooks services without publicly stating why. Those services appear to be still offline.

China is the world’s biggest smartphone market but Apple products face stiff competition there from local handset makers. In the first quarter this year, Apple ranked fifth among smartphone makers in China, according to research firm Canalys.

“‘Local vendors, such as Huawei, Vivo and Oppo, are eating into the premium segment that Samsung and Apple considered their own,” Canalys said at the time.