SoftBank is paying £24.3 billion ($32 billion) in cash for the chip company that licenses its designs to a large number of chip suppliers to smartphone makers and to the emerging IoT market.
The Japanese company will retain ARM’s headquarters in Cambridge and plans to double the number of employees in the U.K. over the next five years, when it will also increase the company’s headcount outside the U.K.
ARM, with 4,064 employees, will be an independent business within SoftBank, which will pay for the acquisition from existing cash resources and a loan. SoftBank said it intends to retain the current ARM organization including the existing senior management team, brand, and partnership-based business model and culture.
SoftBank has invested in a number of media and technology companies, including Internet retailer Snapdeal in India and ride-hailing app company Didi Chuxing in China. It also acquired Sprint Nextel in 2013.
The acquisition of ARM would place the company in a market where it would be an upstream supplier to some of the biggest names in the tech industry as licensees of ARM’s designs like Qualcomm gear up to supply chips to the connected devices market.
“ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the ‘Internet of Things,'” said SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son in a statement Monday.
Nissan Motor Co Ltd had unveiled a suite of semi-autonomous driving functions, stressing they were intended to assist and not replace drivers, just two weeks after similar technology in another maker’s car was involved in a fatal crash.
Japan’s second-ranked carmaker by vehicle sales said its ProPilot can drive a vehicle on single-lane motorways and navigate congestion. It said the feature will first appear on a Serena minivan model on sale in Japan from next month.
As global automakers race to develop self-driving cars, the safety of current automated systems was called into question by U.S. investigators saying a driver died in a crash while the autopilot of his Tesla Motors Inc Model S was engaged.
While Nissan declined to comment directly on that incident, Executive Vice President Hideyuki Sakamoto said it was important drivers did not overestimate the purpose and capabilities of automated driving functions.
“These functions are meant to support drivers, and are not meant as self-driving capabilities” which let drivers take their eyes off the road, he said. “These are two very different things.”
Pushing a button on the steering wheel activates ProPilot, which keeps the vehicle a fixed distance from the car in front without requiring the driver to control the steering, accelerator or brake.
Like Tesla’s similar technology, ProPilot requires drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. A warning sign flashes if the wheel is released for more than around four seconds, and an alarm sounds after 10 seconds.
General Manager Tetsuya Iijima at Nissan’s Advanced Technology Development department said it was up to automakers to educate drivers about the capability of automated driving functions to prevent misuse that could lead to accidents.
“Naturally, there are limitations to the system, and our job is to communicate what those limitations are,” he told reporters.
With ProPilot, Nissan joins many automakers including Tesla, BMW and Daimler AG’s Mercedes-Benz in marketing adaptive cruise control and traffic jam assistance.
Nissan will sell its ProPilot-equipped Serena for under 3 million yen ($28,758), making it one of few mid-priced vehicles with autopilot features more common among luxury cars.
The automaker also plans to add ProPilot to Qashqai sport utility vehicle crossover models in coming months, and introduce the feature in the United States and China.
Nintendo is keeping fairly quiet about its VR plans, although a system is clearly on the drawing board.
The rumor mill suggests that the former playing card maker is determined to fix a problem which has dogged other VR machines on the market. Basically after you have worn a headset for half-an-hour you get tired and a bit sick.
Nintendo’s acting representative director Shigeru Miyamoto told shareholders that the company was “researching VR” – but didn’t want to show off the NX at E3 as they wanted to “avoid imitators.”
The research appears to be focused on coming up with a way that the headsets can be deeply immersive without turning the player into Linda Blair from the Exorcist. But it is clear that Nintendo does want to incorporate VR into its hardware once more.
It must think that it is likely to do better now than when it tried to in 1995 to run the Virtual Boy.
Apparently it will have a machine ready to show off in March next year. If it manages to avoid the VR fatigue then it might be onto a winner.
Japanese messaging app firm Line Corp has held off on setting a tentative price range for its initial public offering (IPO) by one day, until Tuesday, the company said in a regulatory filing, citing the “market environment”.
The IPO price range was originally scheduled to be announced on Monday. Line still plans to list in New York on July 14 and in Tokyo the following day, the filing showed.
On Friday, the S&P 500 fell 3.6 percent, its biggest one-day drop in 10 months, and Japan’s broad Topix index slid 7 percent after Britain voted to exit the European Union.
The equity market in Japan recovered somewhat on Monday as the Topix closed up 1.8 percent, but the delay will allow the company to assess the market in New York and London on Monday before setting the tentative price range, a Line spokesman told Reuters.
Earlier this month, the company announced plans to sell 35 million new shares in an IPO, which would raise 98 billion yen ($963 million) at its initial reference price of 2,800 yen per share.
Line’s listing will go ahead according to its planned schedule, the company said on Friday.
Companies around the world are wrestling with the aftermath of the Brexit vote, which is likely to delay or disrupt upcoming takeovers and initial public offerings. Companies with direct exposure to the British economy are more likely to see their deals scuppered compared with those who are just caught up in global market volatility.
Line has little direct exposure to Britain or Europe. Its main markets are Japan, Indonesia, Taiwan and Thailand.
Line delayed its IPO by two years, buying time to fix weaknesses in weak financial reporting controls, bolster staffing and develop its business plan. But in doing so, it left billions of dollars on the table as its valuation shriveled.
Basically this means that the hardware can be used by the OPNFV collaborative open source community to accelerate the delivery of cloud-enabled networks and applications.
Nokia said the OPNFV Lab will be a testbed for NFV developers and accelerates the introduction of commercial open source NFV products and services. Developers can test carrier-grade NFV applications for performance and availability.
Nokia is making its AirFrame Data Center Solution available as a public OPNFV Lab with the support of Intel, which is providing Intel Xeon processors and solid state drives to give communications service providers the advantage of testing OPNFV projects on the latest and greatest server and storage technologies.
The Nokia AirFrame Data Center Solution is 5G-ready and Nokia said it was the first to combine the benefits of cloud computing technologies to meet the stringent requirements of the telco world. It’s capable of delivering ultra-low latency and supporting the kinds of massive data processing requirements that will be required in 5G.
Morgan Richomme, NFV network architect for Innovative Services at Orange Labs, OPNFV Functest PTL, in a release. “NFV interoperability testing is challenging, so the more labs we have, the better it will be collectively for the industry.”
AT&T has officially added Nokia to its list of 5G lab partners working to define 5G features and capabilities. It’s also working with Intel and Ericsson.
Robots that work as assistants in unison with people are set to upend the world of industrial robotics by putting automation within reach of many small and medium-sized companies for the first time, according to industry experts.
Collaborative robots, or “cobots”, tend to be inexpensive, easy to use and safe to be around. They can easily be adapted to new tasks, making them well-suited to small-batch manufacturing and ever-shortening product cycles.
Cobots can typically lift loads of up 10 kilograms (22 lb) and can be small enough to put on top of a workbench. They can help with repetitive tasks like picking and placing, packaging or gluing and welding.
Some can repeat a task after being guided once through the process by a worker and recording it. The price of a cobot can be as little as $10,000, although typically they cost two to three times that.
The global cobot market is set to grow from $116 million last year to $11.5 billion by 2025, capital goods analysts at Barclays estimate. That would be roughly equal to the size of the entire industrial robotics market today.
“By 2020 it will be a game-changer,” said Stefan Lampa, head of robotics of Germany’s Kuka, during a panel discussion organized by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR) at the Automatica trade fair in Munich.
Growth in industrial robot unit sales slowed to 12 percent last year from 29 percent in 2014, the IFR said on Wednesday, weighed by a sharp fall in top buyer China.
The world’s top industrial robot makers – Japan’s Fanuc and Yaskawa, Swiss ABB and Kuka – all have collaborative robots on the market, although sales are not yet significant for them.
But the market leader and pioneer is Denmark’s Universal Robots, a start-up that sold its first cobot in 2009 and was acquired by U.S. automatic test equipment maker Teradyne for $285 million last year.
Sony Pictures Animation has announced that it will produce an animated movie about “the secret world of our phones and the beloved characters that have become daily necessities in global interpersonal communication.”
“Emojimovie: Express Yourself” is due in August 2017. It will be written by Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis and directed by Leondis. He previously wrote and directed “Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch” and “Igor.”
Deadline had earlier reported that Sony beat out two other movie studios bidding for the movie, paying “near seven figures” for the title.
So what emojis might make the cut and appear in the movie? The smiley seems the likely star and is the most-used emoji in every country except France, according to a SwiftKey study published in 2015. In France, the heart emoji is the favorite.
Emojis first appeared on cell phones in 1999 when NTT DoCoMo launched its i-Mode wireless Internet service in Japan. Since then, they have spread worldwide and are available on all modern smartphones, messaging systems and computers.
Emojis’ Japanese roots explain some of the stranger characters, which might mean little to people in the West but related to some important cultural festivals, food or other aspects of Japanese life.
Toyota Motor Corp is focusing developing in the next five years driver assistance systems that integrate artificial intelligence (AI) to improve vehicle safety, the head of its advanced research division said.
Gill Pratt, CEO of recently set up Toyota Research Institute (TRI), the Japanese automaker’s research and development company that focuses on AI, said it aims to improve car safety by enabling vehicles to anticipate and avoid potential accident situations.
Toyota has said the institute will spend $1 billion over the next five years, as competition to develop self-driving cars intensifies.
Earlier this month, home rival Honda Motor Co said it was setting up a new research body which would focus on artificial intelligence, joining other global automakers which are investing in robotics research, including Ford and Volkswagen AG.
“Some of the things that are in car safety, which is a near-term priority, I’m very confident that we will have some advances come out during the next five years,” Pratt told reporters late last week in comments embargoed for Monday.
The concept of allowing vehicles to think, act and take some control from drivers to perform evasive maneuvers forms a key platform of Toyota’s efforts to produce a car which can drive automatically on highways by the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
While currently driver assistance systems largely use image sensors to avoid obstacles including vehicles and pedestrians within the car’s lane, Pratt said TRI was looking at AI solutions to enable “the car to be evasive beyond the one lane”.
“The intelligence of the car would figure out a plan for evasive action … Essentially (it would) be like a guardian angel, pushing on the accelerators, pushing on the steering wheel, pushing on the brake in parallel with you.”
As Japanese automakers race against technology companies to develop automated vehicles, they are also grappling with a rapidly graying society, which puts future demand for private vehicle ownership at risk.
Pratt said he saw the possibility that Toyota may one day become a maker of robots to help the elderly.
Asked of the potential for Toyota to produce robots for use in the home, he said: “That’s part of what we’re exploring at TRI.”
Pratt declined to comment on a media report earlier this month that Toyota is in talks with Google’s parent company Alphabet to acquire Boston Dynamics and Schafts, both of which are robotics divisions of the technology company.
Samsung SDI is making progress in its discussions with Tesla Motors to provide batteries for the U.S. automaker’s Model 3 electric car as well as its energy storage products, a source with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
Shares in the Samsung SDI surged to trade 6 percent higher in early afternoon trade, beating the wider market’s 1.1 percent gain.
Tesla, which currently procures its batteries from Japan’s Panasonic Corp, is likely to add Samsung SDI as a supplier should sales exceed expectations, the source said, although he declined to specify what level of sales would clinch a deal for the South Korean company.
Citing “tremendous demand,” Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk said in April that the automaker planned to boost total vehicle production to 500,000 in 2018 – two years earlier than its original target. Suppliers have said the goal will be difficult to achieve.
Tesla has taken 373,000 orders for its Model 3 – which has a starting price of $35,000, about half its Model S – and has said it would begin customer deliveries in late 2017.
“It remains to be seen whether the orders will translate into actual sales,” the source said. The source declined to be identified as the discussions were confidential.
A Samsung SDI spokesman declined to comment.
The Japanese automaker has been less vocal about its plans for self-driving cars than larger rivals like Toyota and General Motors, which in recent months have shown off major research and development projects and big-ticket acquisitions.
But under the radar, Honda has been building semi-autonomous functionality, including forward-collision warning, lane- departure warning and lane-keeping assist. These features are already being rolled out in Honda’s Acuras and the Civic model year 2016, which costs about $22,000.
“We under-promise and over-deliver as a promise, as a company. There are a lot of promises talked about by a lot of companies,” said Jim Keller, chief engineer for Honda Research and Development Americas, referring to the pervasive industry hype.
With the current roll-out of semi-autonomous functions, which it says will pave the way for full autonomy on highways by 2020, Honda says it differs from rivals, whose self-driving efforts have centered on their luxury models.
“This is a unique differentiator for Honda … who is committed to the concept of safety for everyone,” said Keller. “Unless we democratize it across our lineup it will be just a niche.”
Honda showed off two prototypes it has used in testing at the GoMentum Station, a 5,000-acre former naval munitions zone that features 20 miles of paved roadway, tunnels and other infrastructure ideal for testing.
On Wednesday, reporters saw the cars accelerate, stop and cede the way for pedestrians, and turn in autonomous mode.
The site in Concord, California, about 30 miles northeast of San Francisco, hopes to lure other carmakers to test autonomous cars there. Besides Honda, the French maker of driverless shuttles, Easy Mile, also tests there.
The auto industry has been marked by a series of high-profile investments and acquisitions related to autonomous driving in recent months. General Motors in January bought autonomous vehicle technology start-up Cruise Automation for a reported $1 billion, while Toyota has committed to spending $1 billion over five years to develop technologies behind the self-driving car.
Hyundai Motor Co aims to launch its next-generation fuel-cell electric vehicle in early 2018, Vice Chairman Yang Woong-chul said, to better compete with Japanese rivals and meet tougher emissions rules.
Hyundai rolled out the world’s first mass-produced fuel cell vehicle in 2013, dubbed the Tucson Fuel Cell, but sales have trailed expectations due in part to a lack of refueling stations and a high price tag.
For its new fuel cell vehicle, the automaker is set to double the driving range to about 800 kilometers (497 miles), the Electronic Times reported in January.
The new model will be a sport utility vehicle (SUV), in contrast to the fuel cell sedans of Toyota Motor Corp and Honda Motor Co Ltd, the South Korean newspaper reported citing a high-ranking Hyundai official.
The automaker declined to comment on details of the new fuel cell vehicle when contacted by Reuters. Vice Chairman Yang was speaking on Wednesday during a ministerial tour of a Hyundai research and development center.
Hyundai, which has long trumpeted fuel-cell vehicles – those powered by electricity generated using hydrogen and oxygen – also plans to launch its first battery-powered car later this year.
Nokia has demonstrated the feasibility of 10Gbps symmetrical data speeds over traditional hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) cable networks, such as those operated by Virgin Media in the UK.
Trumping BT’s 5Gbps XG.fast trials, Nokia’s prototype technology, called XG-Cable, is still at the proof-of-concept stage, but should easily integrate into the DOCSIS 3.1 suite of specifications focused on providing cable operators with technology innovations to transform the industry.
DOCSIS is the set of standards governing data access over cable TV networks, and DOCSIS 3.1 was designed to enable capacities of 10Gbps downstream, but only 1Gbps upstream. Nokia has taken this a step further by demonstrating that symmetrical speeds of 10Gbps are possible.
The technology is still at an early stage of development and no in-service date has been even floated by Nokia, but the test by Nokia Bell Labs has apparently demonstrated that the technology is viable using existing HFC cable networks, where fibre-optic cable is used to connect to cabinets on the street and coaxial copper cable lines are used for last-leg distribution to the customer premises.
XG-Cable means that cable operators will at some point in the future be able to use existing HFC cables in the last 200 meters to provide upstream speeds never before achievable owing to the limited spectrum available, according to Nokia.
This will enable the provision of ultra-fast broadband services to consumer locations that were not physically or economically viable unless fiber was brought all the way to the premises.
“The XG-Cable proof-of-concept is a great example of our ongoing effort and commitment to provide the cable industry with the latest innovations and technology needed to effectively address the growing demand for gigabit services,” said Federico Guillén, president of fixed networks at Nokia.
“The proof-of-concept demonstrates that providing 10Gbps symmetrical services over HFC networks is a real possibility for operators. It is an important achievement that will define the future capabilities and ultra-broadband services cable providers are able to deliver.”
Nintendo Co Ltd is holding discussions with several global production companies about expanding its video content business, including making movies, said Tatsumi Kimishima, president of the Japanese videogame maker.
The move is aimed at strengthening Nintendo’s character business and expanding the global gaming population, he told the Asahi newspaper in an interview published Monday.
“We’re talking with various partners. I think we’ll be able to decide something in the not-too-distant future,” Kimishima told the Japanese daily.
Kimishima declined to say when any projects would be announced but said it would not be as far off as five years. He would not say which of Nintendo’s popular characters were being considered for use.
A Nintendo spokesman told Reuters that Kimishima’s comments referred to “video content” but did not deny the possibility of making movies.
Nintendo is diversifying its operations to counter a shrinking console business. It has entered the fast-growing mobile game segment and reached a deal with NBCUniversal to develop theme-park attractions.
In fact, Nintendo already allows film companies to use its characters through licensing agreements, such as for the “Pokemon” franchise. There was also a Hollywood live-action movie based on “Super Mario” in 1993 but it was a box office and critical bomb.
But Kimishima told the Asahi that this time, Nintendo would like to do things itself as much as possible, rather than just licensing out its content, and said it was unlikely to be live-action.
In 2014, “Super Mario” creator Shigeru Miyamoto screened a 3D short-animation film based on Nintendo’s Pikmin characters at the Tokyo International Film Festival, and in an interview with Reuters left the door open to future film projects.
The new home battery system, called xStorage, will be in direct competition with Tesla’s Powerwall lithium-ion wall-mounted battery, which the company announced last year.
Tesla’s Powerwall will come in 6.4 kilowatt hour (kWh) and 10kWh capacities. The 6.4kWh battery retails for $3,000.
Recently, Tesla removed the 10kWh Powerwall battery from its website.
Nissan/Eaton’s xStorage wall-mounted lithium-ion battery system will provide 4.2kWh of power and have a starting price of about $4,800, the companies said.
While the xStorage battery appears to cost more than the Powerwall, Nissan said the total cost of ownership would be lower because the price includes professional installation of the unit. SolarCity is expected to charge about $7,500 for the Powerwall battery with installation, which includes an inverter that changes direct current from solar panels to usable alternating current.
Alex Eller, an energy analyst with Navigant Research, said the cost of the xStorage system — if it can actually be fully installed for $4,800 — would be one of the lower priced systems on the market.
“However the installed costs are generally measured in $/kWh,” he wrote in an email reply to Computerworld. “A 4.2 kWh system installed for $4,800 is around $1,142/kWh. SolarCity claims they can install a PowerWall for around $7,500 for the unit rated at 7kWh [6.4kWh in actuality], which translates to only $1,071/kWh.”
SolarCity spokesman Jonathan Bass, however, said the company offers battery storage as a service for $4,250, including the battery pack, advanced hybrid inverter, monitoring and control systems and warranty and 9-year service agreement.”
“Installation is also included,” Bass said.
Additionally, up to nine Powerwall battery units can be daisy-chained together on a wall to provide up to about 57kWh of power. Nissan and Eaton did not specify whether their batteries could be interconnected to provide more aggregate power.
The average U.S. household uses about 20kWh to 25kWh of power every day, according to GTM Research.
Eller said Nissan/Eaton have more to worry about than just Tesla and its battery system, saying “the marketplace for residential battery storage systems is growing highly competitive.”
Lenovo owned Motorola has been slapped with a $5m class action lawsuit over allegations of shoddy customer service and not honoring warranty policies.
News of the lawsuit comes via Trusted Reviews, which learned this week that the complaint was filed against Motorola on 21 April in Illinois, accusing the company of “unfair, unscrupulous, immoral and oppressive” business practices.
The lawsuit’s main plaintiff, Douglas Lynch, decided to take legal action after a long-drawn out battle over a Moto 360 repair. He contacted Motorola for a replacement after the backplate of his smartwatch cracked, and was informed that a replacement would take four days to reach him.
The replacement failed to arrive, and Lynch was eventually sent a Moto 360 two months later that was a cheaper model than the one he had purchased.
Lynch isn’t alone in having a bad experience with Motorola. Girard Gibbs LLP, one of the law firms handling the case, told Trusted Reviews that Motorola owes “thousands of people” compensation.
This is evident on Reddit, where pissed off Motorola customers have flocked to tell similar stories.
One Redditor said: “I have had some of the worst support from them on my Moto G 3rd gen I bought last year.
“I tried to buy an extended warranty plan they supposedly offered, but their website was so jankedy that even after a few escalations over a FEW MONTHS to various higher ups in their support department with no resolution to the problem I finally just gave up and decided to never buy a Motorola phone again.”
Another added: “Wish someone would do the same in the UK as they wouldn’t replace my 6 month old 360 and I ended up having to pay about £120 to get it fixed when it was a hardware problem.”
Esfand Nafisi, an attorney at Girard Gibbs LLP, explained that the actual compensation owed is “likely higher” than the $5m referred to in the original filing, adding: “We want these issues to be resolved for all consumers.”
Motorola said in a statement: “Motorola has a long history of providing exceptional products and services to its customers. We are aware of the lawsuit, and are investigating the claims, which we believe to be without merit.”