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Is The DRAM Market Gaining Traction?

May 18, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

DRAM market conditions will be better in the third quarter of 2015, recovering from the bad first half of the year, according to Inotera.

Inotera chairman Charles Kau said that it was unclear if DRAM prices will stop falling and rebound in the third quarter.

Inotera on May 11 signed a $508 million five-year syndicated loan agreement with a consortium of local banks in Taiwan in the hope of getting a bit of flexibility until things pick up.
The outfit was not thinking of flogging any of the family silver, but plans to start distributing dividends to shareholders in 2016, Kau noted.

In 2014, non-PC DRAM products accounted for 60 per cent of Inotera’s total revenues. The company will continue to improve its product mix in 2015, while making progress in the transition to 20nm process technology.

Kau told Digitimes that Inotera http://www.digitimes.com/news/a20150512PD219.html plans to have 80 per cent of its total production capacity to be built using a newer 20nm node by the end of 2015.

Meanwhile it is not planning any big capital expenditure, he said.

Courtesy-Fud

Fujitsu To Debut Wearable Tags For IoT

May 15, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Fujitsu has designed stamp-sized wearable sensor tags that can tell whether users have changed their location or posture, fallen down or are experiencing body temperature changes.

The tags transmit data via Bluetooth Low Energy and can be worn as wristbands or location badges on lapels or breast pockets. They could be used by people including hospital patients and infrastructure workers to relay data to supervisors.

The tags can also be attached to objects such as shopping carts or walkers for the elderly. They’re part of a cloud-based Internet of Things (IoT) platform from Fujitsu called Ubiquitousware that’s aimed at making IoT applications easier for businesses.

At a Fujitsu technology expo in Tokyo this week the company is showing off the prototype tags. They contain various sensors commonly found in smartphones such as accelerometers, barometers, gyroscopes and microphones. They can also house heart rate sensors and GPS modules.

The sensors are being housed in stand-alone tags to better promote IoT apps, according to Fujitsu.

Algorithms that are part of the platform analyze the sensor data and can automatically send alerts to supervisors when a patient has fallen down, for instance, or if a worker is experiencing a heavy physical load and heat while working on a tower for high-voltage cables.

“These sensors stand out for the many business apps such as medicine or security that are easily incorporated through our cloud solutions,” said Tatsuhiro Ohira, a general manager in Fujitsu’s Ubiquitous Business Strategy Unit.

As an extension of a company’s awareness of its staff, the tags could raise privacy concerns. Fujitsu said the wristbands could also be used to estimate whether the wearer is taking breaks, or to help manage workers’ health.

The sensors are to be rolled out beginning in December but the cost has not been determined yet, Ohira said.

 

 

Is Qualcomm Making A Deca-Core Snapdragon?

May 15, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

It appears that MediaTek’s move to bring out an octa-core processor has disturbed the mighty Qualcomm.

When the MT6797 SoC came out, there was much mirth amongst MediaTek’s rivals but it turns out that Qualcomm has followed suit after all.

Qualcomm’s version is called the Snapdragon 818, which will probably be a deca-core CPU. Word on the street is that the chip will depend on four low-1.2GHz Cortex-A53 power cores, two middle-range 1.6GHz Cortex-A53 cores, plus four high-power cores of the 2.0GHz Cortex A72 type. It will supports LPDDR4 RAM and will run the Adreno 532 GPU.

This should mean that it can run LTE Cat-10 when that hits the shops. The chip will use 20nm process technology.

If the rumors are correct then it means that the 818 SoC will be slower than MedaTek’s new chip.

Qualcomm is yet to confirm the existence of this piece of silicone, so it is all just rumors. However if it is true, it does mean that MedaTek’s effort was a lot more important than many of its rivals admitted.

Courtesy-Fud

Google Says Most Searches Now Come From Mobile

May 8, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Google now gets more search queries from mobile devices than it does from PCs.

The company noted this milestone in mobile computing in a blog post.

“Billions of times per day, consumers turn to Google for I want-to-know, I want-to-go, I want-to-do, and I want-to-buy moments,” wrote Jerry Dischler, Google’s vice president of product management. “And at these times, consumers are increasingly picking up their smartphones for answers. In fact, more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the U.S. and Japan.”

That, he added, presents what he calls a “tremendous opportunity” for businesses to reach people through this new touchpoint.

The news about mobile search overshadowing desktop searches means we’ve officially entered a “mobile-first” world, according to Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research.

“Instead of using our PCs at home and augmenting them with mobile, we are mobile first, so no matter where we are or what we are doing we can find the information we need right then and there,” he added. “The phrases “I’ll take care of that when I get back to the office,” or “I’ll take care of that when I get home,” have been eradicated from our vocabulary.”

This week’s announcement puts Google’s recent mobile search changes into context.

Early last month, Google announced it was changing the algorithm it uses for mobile searches to give websites designed to be mobile friendly better positioning in search results.

Websites that aren’t designed to run well and look good on mobile devices simply won’t get good placement in search results — neither on mobile devices nor on desktops.

“The fact that Google is prioritizing mobile sites means Google’s ads need to be oriented around mobile,” said Kerravala. “I think it is changing what Google does with ads, meaning ads are going to need to become more localized.

 

 

 

Motorola Must Pay Fujifilm $10M For Patent Infringement

May 6, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Motorola Mobility announced that a U.S. jury ordered the company to pay $10.2 million in damages for using Fujifilm Corp’s patented technology in its phones without permission.

Fujifilm Corp, a subsidiary of Tokyo-based Fujifilm Holdings Corp, sued Motorola in 2012, accusing the company of infringing three of its patents on digital camera functions and a fourth patent relating to transmitting data over a wireless connection such as Bluetooth.

The damages the jury ordered on Monday were lesser than the $40 million Fujifilm sought while going into the trial, which began on April 20.

The jury in San Francisco said Motorola, a unit of China’s Lenovo Group, proved that three of the disputed patents – two on face recognition and one on wifi-bluetooth were invalid. Motorola failed to prevail on a patent related to converting color images to monochrome.

“We are pleased with the verdict related to three out of the four patents and are evaluating our options on the one patent on which we did not prevail,” Motorola spokesman William Moss said in an email.

A spokeswoman for Fujifilm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Motorola, which Lenovo bought from Google Inc last year, had argued that the Fujifilm patents should be canceled because they were not actually new or they were obvious compared to previously patented inventions. The company also argued it already held a license to Bluetooth technology.

 

 

A Resurgent Sony Sees Big Rise In Profits

May 1, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Japanese consumer electronics maker Sony Corp expects operating profit to more than quadruple this year, as strong sales of camera sensors and cost reductions anchor a much needed turnaround after years of losses on TVs and mobile phones.

Sony said on Thursday it estimates operating profit will jump in the year ending March 2016 to 320 billion yen ($2.7 billion). For the previous fiscal year, operating profit was 68.5 billion, in line with an April 22 forecast.

This year’s earnings would be Sony’s biggest annual operating profit in seven years, though well below an average analyst forecast of 408 billion yen, according to Thomson Reuters. Achieving it would mark another milestone in Chief Executive Kazuo Hirai’s long haul to pull one of Japan’s most iconic technology firms out of heavy losses, squeezed by cheaper and more nimble rivals in mass consumer electronics.

Under Hirai’s direction, Sony has reshaped itself to target expansion in lucrative new areas such as sensors used in cameras for popular devices like Apple Inc’s iPhones. That strategy has vexed some former executives who have urged Hirai to focus on innovation, not cost cuts.

“We are emerging from losses but still recuperating,” Chief Financial Officer Kenichiro Yoshida told reporters on Thursday, saying Sony was being cautious in forecasting to break with past habits.

“In the past seven years, we revised (earnings guidance) downwards around 15 times,” he said, citing fluctuations in foreign exchange rates as a major concern.

As part of its restructuring, Sony has exited PCs and spun off its TV business. It also plans to split off its audio and video business in an effort to hold subsidiaries more accountable for making a profit.

Investors have welcomed the new-look Sony. Shares have risen more than 30 percent in 2015, and year-on-year, the stock has nearly doubled, hitting 3,827.50 yen earlier this month, its highest since 2008.

 

Sony Unveils New Xperia Smartphone

April 21, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Sony Corp on Monday announced a new high-end Xperia smartphone featuring an aluminium frame and a 5.2-inch screen, showing it is still in the phone race even as it scales down its struggling mobile operations.

The launch of the new flagship model comes amid a painful restructuring at the Japanese consumer electronics giant which has thrown the future of its smartphone division into doubt, with top executives saying an exit cannot be ruled out.

But as the company focuses on cutting costs rather than growing its mobile market, the division still needs investment in new products and marketing to maintain Sony’s brand and hold off a more rapid deterioration.

Sony said the Xperia Z4 would be available in Japan around the middle of the year, though it did not provide a launch date, details on carrier partners or price. The handset would be available in four colours and was slightly thinner than the previous Z3.

Hiroki Totoki, who was appointed last year to turn around the mobile unit, said Sony was targeting the upper end of the market where rivals such as Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc dominate.

“There’s a broad variety in the prices of smartphones, from around $100 to $1,400 at the upper end,” he told a news conference. “We want to focus in the upper half of that.”

Sony’s mobile division has fallen far behind high-end rivals such as Samsung and Apple, while at the low end it is battling pricing pressure from Asian manufacturers such as China’s Xiaomi Inc.

The company whose Walkman and Trinitron TV once played a critical role in the global entertainment industry has struggled in recent years to come up with trend-setting gadgets.

Sony announced in February that it would scale down its weaker operations such as TVs and mobile phones to focus instead on more successful products such as video games and camera sensors.

 

Qualcomm Gives Snapdragon More Umph

April 20, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has released a new Trepn Profiler app for Android which will profile Snapdragon processors and tinker with them.

The Trepn Profiler app identifies apps that overwork the CPU or are eating too much data. The app will pinpoint which of the apps drain the battery faster.

All data that will be obtained by this app can provide information you need to know which program is slowing down your phone.

Most Android phone users will not give a damn, but developers will find it useful. Those who are interested in testing roms, custom kernels, and their own apps can use the data gathered by the Trepn Profiler.

Developers can measure optimisation and performance on Snapdragon-powered mobile devices. Data are real-time include network usage, battery power, GPU frequency load, and CPU cores’ load. Key features also include six fast-loading profiling presets, and an advanced mode to manually select data points and save for analysis.

The Advanced Mode allows profiling a single app or device, offline data analysis, and increasing of data collection interval. This special mode also allows longer profiling sessions, displaying two data point in one overlay, and viewing of profile data.

All up this should enable developers to come up with more Snapdragon friendly apps.

Courtesy-Fud

Nissan Says It Will Have Autonomous Vehicle By 2016

April 6, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Nissan is aiming to have a car that can navigate Japan’s highways on its own next year, and the company plans to have a completely self-driving vehicle for urban areas by 2020.

“There will be a Nissan product in Japan, which will carry autonomous drive,” Nissan CEO Carlos Ghosn told reporters at the New York International Auto Show. “Obviously when you have this kind of technology, you want also the Japanese market to enjoy it as soon as possible.”

Also, auto parts supplier Delphi announced its autonomous Audi completed a 3,500-mile, cross-country journey.

The Audi traveled from San Francisco to New York in the first coast-to-coast trip ever taken by an automated vehicle. The nine-day trip crossed 15 states and the District of Columbia, passing through complex driving situations such as traffic circles, construction zones, bridges, tunnels, aggressive drivers and a variety of weather conditions.

Yet, 99% of the drive was completed in fully automated mode.

“Our vehicle performed remarkably well during this drive, exceeding our expectations,” Jeff Owens, Delphi chief technology officer, said in a statement. “The knowledge obtained from this trip will help optimize our existing active safety products and accelerate our future product development, which will allow us to deliver unsurpassed automotive grade technologies to our customers.”

Meanwhile, Nissan has partnered with NASA to develop autonomous vehicle systems. The five-year research and development partnership between Nissan’s U.S. Silicon Valley Research Center and NASA’s Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., will also focus on human-machine interface technology, network-enabled applications, and software analysis and verification, all involving sophisticated hardware and software used in road and space applications.

“The partnership will accelerate Nissan’s development of safe, secure and reliable autonomous drive technology that we will progressively introduce to consumers beginning in 2016 up to 2020,” Chosn said in a statement.

In 2016, Nissan believes its vehicles will use lane guidance systems and adaptive cruise control to automatically steer and brake on highways.

 

 

 

Qualcomm Shuts Down Snapdragon 815 Rumor

April 2, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A lot of rumors regarding an alleged upcoming Qualcomm Snapdragon 815 SoC have been floating around, and now the chipmaker has informed us that that no such chip exists.

Qualcomm’s Senior Director of Public Relations Jon Carvill said that there is no Snapdragon 815 in the works:

Carvill was clear:

“There are no plans for a Snapdragon 815 processor.”

Snapdragon 815 filed under creative journalism

The Snapdragon 815 rumours spread like wildfire, but since they didn’t make much sense, we decided not to carry them. Basically the alleged Snapdragon 815 was supposed to be a 16nm SoC with four Cortex-A72 and Cortex-A53 cores, but the rest of the spec was hard to swallow.

Long story short, there is no such thing as a Snapdragon 815. The company never had such a product, and if you know a thing of two about SoC development, it takes years to make a new SoC design from scratch – you don’t just design a new one for a new node out of the blue.

It would be very convenient if the company managed to pull off something like this, but it’s simply not possible.

Qualcomm’s next flagship is the Snapdragon 820

Now that we debunked this rumor, we should focus on Qualcomm’s real next generation flagship SoC – the Snapdragon 820.

The company mentioned the Snapdragon 820 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, but it looks like that it will be a while before we see this chip shipping in actual devices. Qualcomm expects the new part to sample sometime in the second half of the year, so in the best case scenario we might see the first devices by the end of the year, but most products based on the new chip will start shipping in early 2016.

The 20nm Snapdragon 810 is not overheating, it works just fine, and we tested it inside the HTC One M9. We can confirm that it ends up significantly faster than the Snapdragon 801, which we had a chance to try in a few phones.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Panasonic On The Hunt For Acquisition Targets

March 27, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Japanese electronics giant Panasonic Corp said it is gearing up to spend 1 trillion yen ($8.4 billion) on acquisitions over the next four years, bolstered by a stronger profit outlook for its automotive and housing technology businesses.

Chief Executive Kazuhiro Tsuga said at a briefing on Thursday that Panasonic doesn’t have specific acquisition targets in mind for now. But he said the firm will spend around 200 billion yen on M&A in the fiscal year that kicks off in April alone, and pledged to improve on Panasonic’s patchy track record on big deals.

“With strategic investments, if there’s an opportunity to accelerate growth, you need funds. That’s the idea behind the 1 trillion yen figure,” he said. Tsuga has spearheaded a radical restructuring at the Osaka-based company that has made it one of the strongest turnaround stories in Japan’s embattled technology sector.

Tsuga previously told Reuters that company was interested in M&A deals in the European white goods market, a sector where Panasonic has comparatively low brand recognition.

The firm said on Thursday it’s targeting operating profit of 430 billion yen in the next fiscal year, up nearly 25 percent from the 350 billion yen it expects for the year ending March 31.

Panasonic’s earnings have been bolstered by moving faster than peers like Sony Corp and Sharp Corp to overhaul business models squeezed by competition from cheaper Asian rivals and caught flat-footed in a smartphone race led by Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics. Out has gone reliance on mass consumer goods like TVs and smartphones, and in has come a focus on areas like automotive technology and energy-efficient home appliances.

Tsuga also sought to ease concerns that an expensive acquisition could set back its finances, which took years to recover from the deal agreed in 2008 to buy cross-town rival Sanyo for a sum equal to about $9 billion at the time.

 

 

Microsoft Files Suit Against Kyocera Over Mobile Phones

March 9, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft Corp has filed a lawsuit against Kyocera Corp for patent infringement last Friday, alleging the Japanese company’s Duraforce, Hydro and Brigadier cell phone lines violate seven Microsoft patents.

Microsoft asked a Seattle federal judge to impose a U.S. sales injunction against Kyocera’s infringing products, according to the lawsuit.

A Kyocera representative could not immediately be reached for comment.

“We respect Kyocera but we believe they need to license the patented technology they are using. We’re hopeful this case can be resolved amicably,” said Microsoft deputy general counsel David Howard in a statement.

Kyocera’s phones run on the Android operating system, developed by Google Inc. Microsoft has secured patent licensing deals with numerous Android handset manufacturers in recent years, including Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, LG Electronics Inc and HTC Corp.

In its lawsuit, Microsoft accuses Kyocera of using patented technology including location services and text messaging.

The case in U.S. District Court, Western District of Washington is Microsoft Technology Licensing LLC vs. Kyocera and Kyocera Communications Inc., 15-346.

 

Qualcomm Goes Ultrasonic

March 3, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first ‘ultrasonic’ fingerprint scanner, in a bid to improve mobile security and further boost Android’s chances in the enterprise space.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint technology debuted during the chipmaker’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) press conference on Monday.

The firm claimed that the new feature will outperform the fingerprint scanners found on smartphones such as the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6.

Qualcomm also claimed that, as well as “better protecting user data”, the 3D ultrasonic imaging technology is much more accurate than capacitive solutions currently available, and is not hindered by greasy or sweaty fingers.

Sense ID offers a more “innovative and elegant” design for manufacturers, the firm said, owing to its ability to scan fingerprints through any material, be it glass, metal or sapphire.

This means, in theory, that future fingerprint sensors could be included directly into a smartphone’s display.

Derek Aberle, Qualcomm president, said: “This is another industry first for Qualcomm and has the potential to revolutionise mobile security.

“It’s also another step towards the end of the password, and could mean that you’ll never have to type in a password on your smartphone again.”

No specific details or partners have yet been announced, but Qualcomm said that the Sense ID technology will arrive in devices in the second half of 2015, when the firm’s next-generation Snapdragon 820 processor is also tipped to debut.

The firm didn’t reveal many details about this chip, except that it will feature Kryo 64-bit CPU tech and a new machine learning feature dubbed Zeroth.

Qualcomm also revealed more details about LTE-U during Monday’s press conference, confirming plans to extend LTE to unused spectrum using technology integrated in its latest small-cell solutions and RF transceivers for mobile devices.

“We face many challenges as demand for data constantly grows, and we think the best way to fix this is by taking advantage of unused spectrum,” said Aberle.

Finally, the chipmaker released details about a new a partnership with Cyanogen, the open-source outfit responsible for the CyanogenMod operating system.

Qualcomm said that it will provide support for the best features and UI enhancements of CyanogenMod on Snapdragon processors, which will be available for the release of Qualcomm Reference Design in April.

The MWC announcements follow the launch of the ARM Cortex-based Snapdragon 620 and 618 chips last month, which promise to improve connectivity and user experience on high-end smartphones and tablets.

Aberle said that these chips will begin to show up in devices in mid to late 2015.

Courtesy-TheInq

Was Old Code The Culprit For Security Breaches In 2014?

February 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Nearly half of all security breaches come from vulnerabilities that are between two and four years old, according to this year’s HP Cyber Risk Report entitled The Past Is Prologue.

The annual report found that the most prevalent problems came as a result of server misconfiguration, and that the primary causes of commonly exploited software vulnerabilities are defects, bugs and logic flaws.

But perhaps most disturbing of all was the news that Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile malware have introduced a significant extra security risk.

The entire top 10 vulnerabilities exposed in 2014 came from code written years, and in some cases decades, previously.

The news comes in the same week that HP took a swipe at rival Lenovo for knowingly putting Superfish adware into its machines.

“Many of the biggest security risks are issues we’ve known about for decades, leaving organisations unnecessarily exposed,” said Art Gilliland, senior vice president and general manager for enterprise security products at HP.

“We can’t lose sight of defending against these known vulnerabilities by entrusting security to the next silver bullet technology. Rather, organisations must employ fundamental security tactics to address known vulnerabilities and, in turn, eliminate significant amounts of risk.”

The main recommendations of report are that network administrators should employ a comprehensive and timely patching strategy, perform regular penetration testing and variation of configurations, keep equipment up to date to mitigate risk, share collaboration and threat intelligence, and use complementary protection strategies.

The threat to security from the IoT is already well documented by HP, which released a study last summer revealing that 90 percent of IoT devices take at least one item of personal data and 60 percent are vulnerable to common security breaches.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Will Sony Exit TV, Mobile Phone Markets?

February 19, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Sony Corp hopes to increase operating profit 25-fold within three years by growing its camera sensors and PlayStation units, its chief executive said, laying out a strategy that could see the company exit the ultra competitive TV and smartphone markets.

CEO Kazuo Hirai said on Wednesday the Japanese consumer electronics firm would no longer pursue sales growth in areas such as smartphones where its has suffered competition from cheaper Asian rivals as well as industry leaders like Apple Inc and Samsung Electronics.

Sony would instead focus its spending on more profitable businesses such as camera sensors, videogames and entertainment as it seeks to return to growth after forecasting for this financial year its sixth net loss in seven years.

“The strategy starting from the next business year will be about generating profit and investing for growth,” Hirai told a briefing, adding that Sony’s units would be given greater autonomy to make their own business decisions.

Asked about the TV and mobile phone units, Hirai said he would not “rule out considering an exit strategy”, Sony’s clearest statement to date about the possibility of selling or finding partners for these struggling units.

Sony is in the midst of a restructuring that has so far seen it sell off its personal computer division and spin off the TV business. It has also axed thousands of jobs.

Sony shares have risen more than 80 percent over the past year as investors applauded the restructuring, which accelerated since Hirai appointed Kenichiro Yoshida as his chief strategy officer in late 2013.