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AMD’s Quantum Has Intel Inside

June 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Project Quantum PC system, with graphics powered by two of the new Fiji GPUs may have got the pundits moist but it has been discovered that the beast has Intel inside

KitGuru confirmed that the powerful tiny system, as shown at AMD’s own event, was based upon an Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard with an Intel Core i7-4790K ‘Devil’s Canyon’ processor.

Now AMD has made a statement to explain why it chose to employ a CPU from one of its competitor in what is a flagship pioneering gaming PC.

It told Tom’s Hardware that users wanted the Devil’s Canyon chip in the Project Quantum machine.

Customers “want to pick and choose the balance of components that they want,” and the machine shown off at the E3  was considered to be the height of tech sexiness right now.

AMD said Quantum PCs will feature both AMD and Intel CPUs to address the entire market, but did you see that nice Radeon Fury… think about that right now.

IT is going to be ages before we see the first Project Quantum PCs will be released and the CPU options might change. We would have thought that AMD might want to put its FinFET process ZEN CPUs in Project Quantum with up to 16 cores and 32 threads. We will not see that until next year.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Officially Releases Office Apps For Android

June 26, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft officially released its Office apps for Android, publishing the final versions of Excel, PowerPoint and Word to Google Play.

The three apps are free for consumers, who may use them only for non-commercial purposes; in other words, not for work- or business-related tasks.

Microsoft kicked off previews last month, wrapping up the release of the suite’s apps for the OSes maintained by rivals Google (Android) and Apple (iOS). The gradual rollout began in March 2014 with the surprise debut of Office on the iPad less than two months after Satya Nadella replaced Steve Ballmer as CEO.

Previously, Microsoft released betas of Office for Windows 10 Mobile — the operating system that will launch before the end of this year for smartphones and smaller tablets — and for Windows 10 on desktops, 2-in-1s and larger tablets. Neither of those collections have been completed.

Microsoft’s change in tenor and pivot in strategy have been clearest over the last 17 months as it crafted and then released touch-based Office apps for every major operating system except Windows, turning a decades-long practice of protecting its own OS on its head.

As with the Office apps on other devices, Excel, PowerPoint and Word on Android can be used by consumers free of charge for basic tasks, including viewing, creating and editing documents. A Microsoft Account — the credentials used to access Microsoft’s services, such as Outlook.com and Skype — is required for all but viewing documents, and on larger Android devices, for everything but viewing and printing.

Business customers and anyone who wants to utilize advanced features, however, require a current Office 365 subscription.

 

 

 

Freescales Debuts Linux SoC

June 25, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Freescale has been showing off its two Linux-ready, 28nm i.MX7 SoCs.

Based around the Cortex-A7 cores and Cortex-M4 MCUs, the pair have lower power consumption than the predecessor the i.MX6.

The single-core, 800MHz i.MX7 Solo (i.MX7S) and dual-core, 1GHz i.MX7 Dual (i.MX7D) are the first use the Cortex-A7.

The reduced power consumption has happened at the expense of a performance reduction. The up-to-1GHz Cortex-A7 cores are slower than the i.MX6′s up to 1.2GHz Cortex-A9 cores. In addition, there’s no mention of the earlier Vivante GPUs or 3D acceleration. Like the UltraLite, there’s only a simple 2D image processing engine.

Freescale said the i.MX7′s Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 cores have a core efficiency levels of 100 ?W/MHz and 70 ?W/MHz, respectively. The SoC’s overall power efficiency is 15.7 DMIPS/mW, and a new Low Power State Retention (LPSR) mode runs at 250 ?W. In LPSR sleep mode, the i.MX7 consumes only 250 ?W, while supporting DDR self-refresh mode, GPIO wakeup, and memory state retention.

The savings are down to the newer Cortex-A7 architecture and a 28nm “ultra low leakage process,” as compared to the i.MX6′s 40nm process. The i.MX7 also features a new discrete power domain architecture.

The i.MX7 ships with Linux, and supports Android, and is aimed at wearables, Point-of-Sale gear and smart home controls.

The i.MX7 SoCs are paired with a new Freescale PF3000 PMIC which has features up to four buck converters, six linear regulators, an RTC supply, and a coin-cell charger. The chip is supposed to optimize peripheral power delivery, system memory and processor cores. The PMIC also supports one-time programmable memory for controlling startup sequence and output voltages.

The i.MX7 has a Cortex-M4 microcontroller unit (MCU) core for offloading processing. The Cortex-M4 can run Freescale’s own MQX, at up to 266MHz, compared to 200MHz on the SoloX.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple Watch Expected To Dominate Smartwatch Market

June 23, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The Apple Watch is expected to capture nearly two-thirds of the smartwatch market for all of 2015, according to a new forecast from market research firm IDC.

IDC had said two weeks ago that Apple will ship to retailers about 21 million Apple Watches in 2015. That’s in the mid-range of other analyst forecasts of 15 million to 30 million for the new device.

Then last week IDC said that all smartwatches and a small number of other smart wearables will total 33.1 million shipments in 2015, putting Apple Watch at 63% of that total. Smart wearables are defined by IDC as devices capable of running third party apps, such as Apple Watch and Android Wear watches like the Moto 360.

The IDC prediction comes amidst some other striking analyst forecasts for the Apple Watch, but also amid questions about the overall value of smartwatches.

Financial analyst Brian White of Cantor Fitzgerald recently declared the Apple Watch will “prove to be the best selling product in Apple’s history (within the first 12 months.)” Various estimates say it took one day of pre-orders to sell 1 million Apple Watches, while it took Apple 74 days to sell 1 million iPhones and 28 days to sell 1 million iPads.

Research firm Slice Intelligence told Reuters that about 2.8 million Apple Watches were sold through mid-June, nearly two months after the device first went on sale. Apple hasn’t reported how many Apple Watches it has sold and is not expected to separately report that number in the future. Slice gets its insights by mining e-mail receipts. The entry-level Apple Watch costs $349 and is the most popular in sales, Slice said.

About 20% of Apple Watch customers are also buying a spare watch band, with the entry-level sports band selling for $49, Slice noted.

 

 

 

Apple Discontinues Sales Of Original iPad Mini

June 22, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple has quietly discontinued offering the original iPad Mini, the 7.9-in. tablet that debuted in 2012.

The smaller sibling to the 9.7-in. iPad no longer appears on Apple’s online store, a fact first reported by 9to5Mac.com on Friday.

The iPad Mini had been superseded by a pair of follow-ups, including the iPad Mini 2 in 2013 and the iPad Mini 3 last year. Both of those tablets, while sporting the same-sized screen as the original, boasted so-called “Retina” high-resolution displays.

Apple initially priced the iPad Mini at $329, but as its successors appeared, dropped the price, first to $299 in 2013, then to $249 with the appearance of the $399 iPad Mini 3.

Apple confirmed the discontinuation of the non-Retina iPad Mini.

“The non-retina iPad Mini model is no longer available,” an Apple spokesman said. “Now all models of iPad Mini and iPad Air have 64-bit Apple-designed CPUs and high-resolution Retina displays.”

The original iPad Mini relied on a 32-bit A5 system-on-a-chip (SoC). Both successors were powered by the A7 SoC, which featured a 64-bit architecture. The larger iPad Air 2, Apple’s current top-of-the-line tablet, runs on a 64-bit A8X SoC. Also still available from Apple: the original iPad Air, which uses a 64-bit A7 SoC.

As Apple’s spokesman noted, the four remaining iPad models — Air 2, Air, Mini 3, Mini 2 — all feature Retina-quality screens and 64-bit processors.

Most analysts expect that Apple will again expand the iPad line, probably this year, with a larger-screen tablet in the 12-in. range. Several new features in iOS 9, this year’s annual upgrade, including a split-screen mode, have signaled a likely turn to a bigger iPad.

 

 

 

AMD’s FIJI GPU Boast Over 8.5 Billion Transistors

June 18, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The Fiji GPU behind the AMD Radeon Fury line of graphics cards is definitely a one big chip with 8.6 billion transistors, but during our short chat with, Raja Koduri, Corporate Vice President and CTO, Visual Computing at AMD and we learned that the number is even higher.

Raja tells us that when we add the number of High Bandwidth Memory transistors that are sitting on the interposer, you get to more than 10 billion transistors for the Fiji GPU interposer chip.

This is a lot of transistors but again, the Fury graphics card is much smaller than the one based on GDDR5 memory, and this is what enables new form factors such as Fury Nano that fits on 6-inch (15.24 cm) size PCB.

The Fiji GPU packs 4096 Stream Processors and this is the highest number we saw until today and with aggressive prices, AMD will certainly put a lot of pressure on Geforce GTX 980 Ti sales. We still have to see what happens with the actual real-world performance as we expect to see the actual Fury X graphics cards in our systems before the end of this week.

Just for reference, Nvidia’s Titan X as well as the Geforce GTX 980 Ti both have 8 billion transistors, some 600 million less than the Fiji GPU.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple To Release ‘Android-to-iOS-App’ This Fall

June 15, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple did not highlight it during the keynote address kicking off its Worldwide Developers Conference (WWDC) last week, but the company will release an Android-to-iOS migration app alongside iOS 9 this fall.

The app, given the prosaic name “Move to iOS,” will help switchers defect Android for Apple’s iPhone or iPad.

“It securely transfers your contacts, message history, camera photos and videos, [browser] bookmarks, mail accounts, calendars, wallpaper, and DRM-free songs and books,” Apple asserted in its iOS 9 online marketing materials.

The migration app shouldn’t come as a surprise, said Carolina Milanesi, chief of research at Kantar Worldpanel Comtech.

“Anything vendors can do to make it as pain-free as possible for users to make [a migration] is a good thing,” Milanesi said in an email. “We are in a very saturated market and sales will come from keeping your clients loyal and engaged, and attracting customers from your competitors.”

Apple’s focus on snatching customers from Android device makers isn’t new.

In a January call with Wall Street analysts, Apple CEO Tim Cook trumpeted his firm’s ability to tempt consumers to dump Android. “The current iPhone line-up experienced the highest Android switcher rate in any of the last three launches in the three previous years,” Cook said.

Apple sold a record 74.5 million iPhones in the three months that ended Dec. 31, 2014, a 46% improvement compared to the same period the year prior. Analysts attributed much of that growth to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that Apple started selling in September 2014, when the Cupertino, Calif. finally offered smartphones with screens in sizes previously available only from Android ODMs (original device manufacturers) such as Samsung.

iPhone sales dropped to 61.2 million units in the March 2015 quarter, but that was still a 40% year-over-year increase.

While Cook did not peg an Android-to-iOS switch rate, outsiders have. In January, Consumer Intelligence Research Partners (CIRP) said its polling showed that 19% of U.S. iPhone customers confirmed they had switched from an Android phone.

 

 

 

 

 

Is Samsung The King Of LTE?

June 15, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Samsung Electronics has told the world that owns the largest number of patent rights essential for long-term evolution (LTE) technology in the world.

Writing in its official blog “Samsung Tomorrow” that it has more than 3,600 standard essential patents (SEP) for the LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology. That is 17 percent of all LTE-related SEPs.

We guess this means that if someone buys an LTE phone more than 17 per cent of the money which goes to buy patents should end up in Samsung’s bank account.

Samsung Electronics Digital Media & Communication Laboratory’s intellectual property application team head Lee Heung-mo said Samsung Electronics has established a solid foothold as the global leader and the first mover in the fourth-generation mobile telecom market.

“This also means that the company has become able to provide more convenience to customers by developing the latest technologies.”

The Taiwanese patent office conducted market research for the nation’s state-run National Applied Research Laboratory based on about 6,000 patent rights listed at the Patent and Trademark Office in the United States during the last two years.

LG Electronics and Qualcomm followed Samsung Electronics in second place with 14 percent of SEPs, each. Ericsson, Panasonic, Nokia and NTT DoCoMo hold the third spot with 5 percent, each.

Pantech, the nation’s third-largest handset maker which currently faces bankruptcy, held only one percent, while Korea’s state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute owned less than 1 percent, the report showed.

During the patent dispute with Apple, the U.S. International Trade Commission said Apple had infringed on Samsung Electronics’ SEPs though they had to be shared under a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” principle.

Samsung Electronics said it has pushed for securing the SEPs in this sector during the last 18 years and has competed with global telecom giants including Qualcomm, Nokia and Ericsson as a relative latecomer. It said securing leadership in SEPs may change the crisis of facing patent disputes to diversifying income sources.

Courtesy-Fud

 

MediaTek Debuts Contactless Heart Rate Monitor

June 8, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

While MediaTek might be known for its multi-core smartphone processors, the firm was very keen to show off its more adventurous side at Computex 2015.

With a booth almost entirely dedicated to the latest and greatest from its new Labs division, which aims to bring the latest innovations from developers to market, MediaTek offered something a little more unexpected compared to previous years.

Launched in autumn last year, MediaTek Labs is a worldwide initiative to help developers of any background or skill level to create and market wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

With the firm’s LinkIt Development Platform, based on the MediaTek Aster (MT2502) chipset, sitting at its core, the Labs programme provides developers, makers and service providers with both software and hardware development kits, technical documentation and business support.

Here’s a few of our favourite innovations showed off at Computex, based on either the LinkIt One platform, or the firm’s fresh Helio P10 smartphone family of SoCs.

Heart rate monitoring smartphone camera
This “contactless heartrate monitoring” technology is powered by the firm’s Visual Processing Application in its latest P10 smartphone SoC.

It makes use of a smartphone’s video camera to take a heart rate reading via the front-facing camera by stripping down the layers of the image taken by the camera in real-time to detect the pulse in a user’s temple.

We were rather dubious about how well this might work, so gave it a go. While it took a good few seconds to match up, you can see from the photo that it is almost as accurate as the portable ECG monitoring device we had clipped on our finger. Impressive stuff.

Wine brewer
Winning first prize in the ITRI Mobilehero competition in Taiwan last year, this nifty IoT wine brewing device was developed by a local start-up called Alchema.

It consists of five sensors thatmonitor the alcohol content and the brewing environment. The results we tasted were, shall we say, interesting, if a little on the sharp side.

Alchema looking to raise more funds on Kickstarter before the end of the year.

Another LinkIt-powered device MediaTek showed off at Computex was a wearable aimed for the elderly. Using Bluetooth and accelerometer sensors, the wristband tracker detects the users’ wrist motions and raises an alarm, alerting those that are linked to the watch via a smartphone app if their elderly family member, loved one or friend’s device has detected a sudden movement that could resemble a fall or accident.

Sitting at the more mature end of the LinkIt developer platform spectrum, but still less than a year old, is an electric-scooter rental company called Skuro Moto. We spoke to its chief executive Frank Chen, who is running the company at the tender age of 24 after developing the idea while at university.

Skuro works with electric-vehicle maker Ahamani EV Technology to provide a rental service at Yuan Ze University in Taiwan. The bikes reduce costs for riders by about 30 percent thanks to a monitoring system enabled by the LinkIt chip that lets riders see their power usage. They can also be started by a swipe of a student identity card, to save the trouble of lost keys.

 

Courtesy-TheInq

Can MediaTek Score Big In China’s 4G Arena?

June 5, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek wants to grow its 4G chip market share in China during the second half of 2015 with the aim of scoring half the market.

According to Digitimes the outfit currently has 20 per cent of China’s 4G chip market and is looking to push its 4G chip market share in China to more than 50% in the second half of 2015.

This is a step up from earlier targets as MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-chiang remarked recently that the company is aiming to reach a 40 per cent share.  That comment was only a few months ago, and so any 50 per cent target means that its ambitions must be being more than met.

MediaTek just released the P10 series of its Helio family for mid-range 4G smartphones. The Helio P10 is a 64-bit SoC based on eight Cortex-A53 cores and clocked at 2GHz, and will be available in the third quarter of 2015.

MediaTek said that using TSMC’s 28nm HPC+ process, the Helio P10 can save up to 30 per cent more power compared to existing smartphone SoCs manufactured using 28nm HPC process.

MediaTek previously announced its 10-core Helio X20 series, which integrates a multi-mode Cat 6 LTE modem.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Office 365 Going Wi-Fi

June 4, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

According to Techradar Redmond has changed the name of Skype Wi-Fi to Microsoft Wi-fi and is baking Wi-Fi services to Office 365 users.

Microsoft will launch a business version of the service for Office 365 Enterprise customers, allowing firms to ensure that their employees are connected .

The idea is that if you are not a business customer, the service is likely to be PAYG (pay as you go) – one similar to Skype Wi-Fi – where you can either top up online or via a scratch card.

Microsoft Wi-Fi will likely allow customers to connect to more than 10 million hotspots compared to just 2 million for the current Skype Wi-Fi service; more than 130 countries and territories are listed in Microsoft’s hotspot database.

The service will soon be available on all major mobile and desktop platforms even MacOS which would be a little amusing.

Courtesy-Fud

BlackBerry, Typo Innovations Reach Settlement Over Keyboard Lawsuit

June 3, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry has reached a settlement with Typo Innovations, which manufacturers an accessory keyboard for iPhones that the mobile device maker said infringed its patents.

Under the settlement announced Monday, Typo, which was co-founded by American Idol host Ryan Seacrest, is barred from selling keyboards for devices with screen sizes smaller than 7.9 inches.

BlackBerry sued Typo in 2014 after the company released a keyboard that fit the iPhone 5 or 5S like a protective case; BlackBerry claimed the keyboard copied those found on its own handsets. The keyboard is one of the differentiating features that has made BlackBerry loyalists cling to their old-school smartphones.

The settlement, at least for now, effectively bars Typo from making keyboards for Apple’s iPhones. The largest iPhone, the 6 Plus, has a screen size of 5.5 inches.

But Typo also makes keyboards for iPads, the current lineup of which all have screen size of at least 7.9 inches. Those keyboards can still be sold.

The settlement comes as BlackBerry works to cut costs in its devices business while trying to expand in new areas like business management services.

Typo did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

 

Is Apple Being Dumped?

May 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

The dumping of Apple shares by top hedge funds is continuing to gather speed and now even the Tame Apple Press  is noticing.

Reuters took time out from its busy schedule of promoting Apple producst to report the surprise news that Top US hedge fund management firms, including Leon Cooperman’s Omega Advisors and Philippe Laffont’s Coatue Management, continued to reduce or slash stakes altogether in Apple during the first quarter.

We say surprise news, but we had noticed it when it actually happened.

Coatue cut its holding of Apple by selling 1.2 million shares during the first three months of this year, but it remains the fund’s single biggest U.S. stock investment, with 7.7 million shares. Omega Advisors sold all of its 383,790 shares in Apple during the first quarter, while Rothschild Asset Management cut its stake by 107,953 to 938,693 shares, filings showed on Friday.

David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital also cut its exposure in Apple during the first quarter, slashing its stake by 1.2 million shares to 7.4 million shares.

Reuters cannot understand why the hedge funds are dumping their shares. Apple shares rose 12.7 percent in the first quarter and have continued to increase, it moaned.

But the reality is that if hedge funds listened to what fanboys wanted they would not be making the huge amounts of dosh they do. Objectively Apple’s markets have peaked, sales of Tablets have slumped, its iPhone market is stable but has no real momentum and above all it has yet to come up with a new idea.

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Products Still Dominant For Enterprise Users

May 14, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple products are still the most popular mobile devices among enterprise users, but competitors are erasing the company’s lead, especially in the tablet market.

Those are the findings from enterprise mobility management vendor Good Technology, which issued a report that measured mobile device activations among its business customers. Good says its technology serves more than 6,200 companies.

In the first quarter of 2015, 72 percent of all smartphones activated globally ran iOS. Compared to 2014′s fourth quarter, that’s a 1 percent decrease. Android device activations, meanwhile, reached 26 percent, increasing 1 percent from the fourth quarter of 2014. Windows Phone activations remained steady at 1 percent, the same as the previous six quarters, said the report.

Apple lost significant ground in the tablet market. In the first quarter of 2015, iPads had an 81 percent market share in activations, down from 92 percent in the year-ago quarter, according to the report. Tablets running Android and Windows increased their market share to 15 percent and 4 percent, respectively. According to Good, Microsoft Surface devices, which Microsoft manufactures, as well as Windows tablets sold by third-party makers, were both in demand.

The iPhone 6 was the most popular smartphone for businesses, comprising 26 percent of all smartphone activations in the first quarter of 2015. The Samsung 5 was the most activated Android smartphone. Together, 28 of the top 30 selling smartphones came from either Apple or Samsung, the report said.

The industries with the most iOS activations were education (83 percent), the public sector (80 percent) and financial services (76 percent), the report said. Android activation was prevalent in the tech (47 percent) and energy (44 percent) industries.

Windows device activations, meanwhile, stood out in the retail and entertainment and media markets. In retail, Windows tablets claimed a 5 percent market share while in the media and entertainment industry, 7 percent of device activations were for Windows Phone.

 

 

MediaTek Shows Off Helio X20

May 14, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek has announced a 10-core processor which it claims is the world’s first mobile processor with three processor clusters.

The Helio X20 is expected to make its way into devices in early 2016, and will “revolutionise” mobile processors, according to MediaTek.

This is down to its ability to reduce power consumption significantly by altering the number of cores working at any one time depending on the power needed to complete tasks.

MediaTek said that this has been made possible by the firm’s new Tri-Cluster CPU architecture that has three processor clusters each designed to handle different types of workloads more efficiently.

“If a user needs heavy performance, [the Helio X20] will invoke 2, 4, 8 cores, intelligently looking at the workload to decide how many it needs,” said MediaTek’s senior director of corporate sales for EMEA, Chet Babla, in a briefing with The INQUIRER.

“There will be a dramatic drop in power consumption compared to big.LITTLE architecture because of this.”

The Tri-Cluster CPU consists of one cluster of two ARM Cortex-A72 cores running at 2.5GHz for high performance, and two clusters of four ARM Cortex-A53 cores, one running at 2GHz for medium loads and one running at 1.4GHz for light activities.

MediaTek has also integrated a CorePilot 3.0 heterogeneous computing scheduling algorithm which controls which threads are allocated to the cores.

CorePilot 3.0 schedules the tasks for all CPUs and GPUs while managing power and thermal effects so that extreme performance can be attained while creating less heat.

This is said to reduce power consumption by 30 percent compared with conventional dual-cluster architectures on top of the increase in energy efficiency thanks to Helio X20′s supported ARM Mali-T880 GPU.

“With the integration of MediaTek’s WorldMode Category 6 LTE modem with carrier aggregation and upgraded CorePilot 3.0 advanced scheduling algorithm, the Helio X20 is set to revolutionise the mobile processor industry and address the global demand for flagship mobile devices,” MediaTek said.

The Helio X20 also has several features designed to increase device display performance and multimedia experiences.

These include support for dual main cameras with a built-in 3D depth engine for a faster shot-to-shot experience, multi-scale de-noise engines for higher quality images, a 120Hz mobile display refresh rate for crisper and more responsive browsing, and an integrated ARM Cortex-M4 low power sensor processor to support always-on applications such as MP3 playback and voice activation.

Courtesy-TheInq