The move to LTE has killed Intel’s pretense of interest in the baseband market. According to the Motley Fool, ever since the handset market began its shift to LTE, Intel has handed its part of the industry to Qualcomm and Mediatek.
Intel was once the Number two player in baseband, albeit with roughly 12 per cent share against Qualcomm’s commanding 60 per cent share. However, Intel’s smartphone apps processors were greeted by a yawn by the industry and as its LTE rollout was delayed. As a result, its baseband share has plummeted over the last few years from a reasonable about to sod all.
Intel must be gutted. The global cellular baseband market in 2012 was worth $17.8 billion, according to Strategy Analytics.
MediaTek and Qualcomm’s have knocked Intel down to a dismal 8 per cent of the market. This poor performance was driven largely by a declining 3G market, of LTE multi-mode, coupled with a hostile pricing environment within 3G. Intel hopes that as 2014 rolls along, its LTE products will begin undoing the damage to its revenue caused by the 3G decline. If this is the case we will not see an improvement for Intel until 2015.
IBM CEO Ginni Rometty took to the Mobile World Congress stage and announced a global competition to spur developers to create mobile consumer and business apps powered by its Watson supercomputer platform.
Watson is the heart of the company’s cognitive computing technology. IBM is pulling out all the stops to make Watson a success. Last month, the company set up a new division, the Watson Business Group, to create and run cloud-based cognitive applications and services for enterprise users.
“By 2016, a quarter of the apps in the world will be in the cloud,” Rometty said. These apps are generating massive amounts of data, she said.
“You can’t program enough to make sense of all the data in the world,” Rometty said, adding that the vast amount of data generated every day is leading to a new era of computing.
“The new era is cognitive, of teach and learn,” Rometty said.
“I want to make an offer to you,” Rometty said. “We’re gonna offer the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge.”
The competition is taking place under the newly formed IBM Watson Group. It aims to encourage development of cognitive computing apps.
Watson cognitive computing comprises services, software and apps that analyze and improve by learning. The idea is to answer complex questions derived from massive amounts of disparate data, Rometty said.
IBM is setting up the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge specifically to seed efforts to develop cognitive apps that can change the way consumers and businesses interact with data on their mobile devices, Rometty said.
Over the next three months, the global challenge will invite mobile developers and entrepreneurs to share their best ideas to build and develop mobile apps into prototypes.
IBM will invite three winners to join the Watson Ecosystem Program, in which the company is assembling content providers and independent software vendors to collaborate on the development and release of “Powered by IBM Watson” applications.
“We’ve already got thousands of applicants,” to be part of the ecosystem, Rometty said.
The winners of the challenge will work with IBM’s recently launched global consulting practice, IBM Interactive Experience, to receive design consulting and support from IBM experts to develop a commercial app, IBM detailed in a statement accompanying Rometty’s talk.
IBM is serious about encouraging the development of applications that run in the cloud. For IBM, more applications mean more data generated, and more of a need for the analytics software and services that it sells.
“We have a big-data analysis business of $16 billion,” Rometty said.
On Monday, IBM announced it will spend $1 billion on its platform-as-a-service (PaaS) strategy, separate from the money it is investing in Watson, to encourage software makers to build cloud apps.
As part of that announcement, made at its Pulse event in Las Vegas, IBM will become a major contributor to the Cloud Foundry, an open source PaaS that is run under the aegis of Pivotal, a spinout from VMware and EMC.
IBM first developed Watson as a research project to compete against humans on the game show “Jeopardy.” Watson can come up with answers to questions using a range of sources in various formats. It was able to hone its answers by learning how to formulate the best responses in an iterative, trial and error process.
Because this approach to problem solving emulates how humans think, it is known as cognitive computing.
After Watson beat human contestants in “Jeopardy” in 2011, IBM has worked to commercialize Watson technologies.
China’s anti-monopoly regulator on Wednesday said Qualcomm Inc. is under suspicion for overcharging and abusing its market position, allegations which could see the U.S. chip giant slapped with record fines of more than $1 billion.
The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) also said it was in talks with another U.S. technology firm, InterDigital Inc, about a possible settlement to a separate anti-monopoly probe as the regulator focuses on the rapidly evolving information technology market.
Foreign firms from drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to Apple Inc are facing tougher scrutiny in the world’s second-biggest economy as China targets key industries to protect consumers from bloated prices and second-rate products.
In its first public statements about the Qualcomm investigation, the watchdog said it began making inquiries after receiving complaints that the San Diego-based company was charging higher prices in China than it does in other countries.
“We received reports from relevant associations and companies that Qualcomm abuses its dominant position in the market and charges discriminatory fees,” Xu Kunlin, who heads the NDRC’s anti-monopoly and price supervision bureau, told a press conference in Beijing.
The NDRC dual investigations are part of a focus on information technology providers, especially companies that license patent technology for mobile devices and networks.
Industry experts say the NDRC, which is also the government’s main economic planning body, is trying to lower domestic costs as China rolls out its faster 4G mobile networks this year.
Earlier this month, the China Mobile Communications Industry Association said it had filed a complaint against Qualcomm for overcharging for use of its patents.
Under the anti-monopoly law, the NDRC can impose fines of between 1 and 10 percent of a company’s revenues for the previous year. Qualcomm earned $12.3 billion in China for its fiscal year ended September 29, or nearly half of its global sales.
LinkedIn launched Intro last October, as part of a larger push into becoming a “mobile first” company. The service was made for the iPhone, and was designed to grab LinkedIn profile information and insert it into emails received on phones. The service displayed that information to the recipient from the email’s sender if the sender was also on LinkedIn.
Intro was meant to add more professional context to email and draw more users to LinkedIn.
But it quickly sparked questions from security experts, who were concerned about the way the service routed emails through LinkedIn’s servers. The security consulting firm Bishop Fox said that the service essentially amounted to a “man-in-the-middle attack,” and that it was only a matter of time before someone used it to launch a phishing attack.
LinkedIn, in its announcement Friday of Intro’s closure, did not say anything about security. The decision was about “focus,” LinkedIn said. “We are making large, long-term investments on a few big bets, and in order to ensure their success, we need to concentrate on fewer things,” wrote Deep Nishar, senior VP of products and user experience.
Intro will be shut down as of March 7, LinkedIn said. The company did not say what it would be doing with Intro users’ email data that it might have stored on its servers. LinkedIn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Upon receiving word of LinkedIn’s announcement, Bishop Fox said that it was unlikely that LinkedIn shut down the service for security reasons alone. “Tech products come and go these days and many have short lifespans,” said Vincent Liu, a partner at the firm, via email.
“But this app exemplifies why it’s important to pay attention to privacy and security when installing features, whether short lived or not, on your mobile devices,” he said.
LinkedIn also said it would be shutting down some other services. Slidecast, which let people upload digital presentations with audio, is going away as of April 30. Support for the LinkedIn iPad app on iOS versions older than 6.0 will also be eliminated as of Feb. 18, the company said.
Mark Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook” from his dorm room at Harvard University on Feb. 4, 2004. The site was conceived as a way to connect students, and let them build an online identity for themselves.
It has since expanded to cover a large swath of the planet, with more than 1.2 billion people — one-seventh of the world’s population — using its site on a monthly basis, according to the company’s own recent figures.
Zuckerberg reflected on the 10-year milestone at an industry conference in Silicon Valley this week. Not surprisingly, at the start he never envisioned Facebook becoming so large or influential. After launching the initial version, “it was awesome to have this utility and community at our school,” he said at the Open Compute Project Summit.
He figured at the time that someone, someday would build such a site for the world. “It didn’t even occur to me that it could be us,” he said.
Since then, Facebook’s site and its business, now a public company, have changed dramatically. There are now more than a trillion status updates, text posts and other pieces of content stored within its walls — the company is trying to index them as part of its Graph Search search engine.
The company was slow to react to the important mobile market, and when it went public in 2012 investors were skeptical it would be able to monetize its service on smaller screens. But this week it reported that more than half its ad revenue now comes from mobile devices.
All the while, Facebook is making its ad business smarter, using targeting tools to show ads it deems most relevant.
The company is also experimenting with new ways to present content. Next week it will release Paper, an iPhone app that provides a new way to share photos and published articles.
It’s part of a larger effort Facebook hinted at this week to release a variety of standalone apps for different tasks.
The company is also trying to bring the Internet to more people in the world, an effort that’s part philanthropy and part business sense as Facebook aims to reach its next billion users. Asked this week why he launched the project, called Internet.org, Zuckerberg suggested he feels a weight of responsibility.
“There aren’t that many companies in the world that have the resources and the reach that Facebook has at this point,” he said.
China’s Lenovo Group Ltd has restarted discussions to purchase International Business Machines Corp’s (IBM) low-end server unit, a source familiar with the matter said, a purchase that would bolster its efforts to diversify beyond a shrinking PC market.
A deal for IBM’s x86 servers, which power corporate data centers, fits in with Lenovo’s attempts to remold itself as a growing force in mobile devices and data storage servers. It also helps IBM’s shift away from hardware towards software and services.
The two companies failed to reach an agreement last year after differing on pricing. Media reports then put IBM’s hopes at between $4 billion to $6 billion for the unit, while Lenovo was said to be only willing to offer $2.5 billion.
Analysts now estimate the sale of the IBM unit to Lenovo could be worth between $2.5 billion and $3 billion. That would make it the biggest ever deal in China’s IT sector, outpacing Badu Inc’s acquisition of 91 Wireless from NetDragon Websoft Inc for $1.85 billion last year.
“Everybody wins because even if IBM could double the profitability it’s still not good enough for IBM. On the other hand, Lenovo doubling the server business margins is a good deal for Lenovo,” said Alberto Moel, a Hong Kong-based analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein.
Lenovo, the world’s biggest PC maker, said on Tuesday it was in preliminary talks about an acquisition. It declined to name the seller but said it was making the statement in response to reports about its potential acquisition of a server business.
It added that it had not entered into any definitive agreement and that no material terms had been agreed to.
An IBM spokesman said on Monday the company wouldn’t comment on the matter.
Dell Inc, which went private in a $25 billion deal last year, has also been cited in media reports as a potential suitor for the business. A Beijing-based spokesman for Dell declined to comment.
Lenovo’s purchase of IBM’s Thinkpad PC business in 2005 for $1.75 billion became the springboard for its leap to the top of global PC maker rankings.
Moel, who estimates IBM’s low-end server business could be worth between $2.5 billion to $2.9 billion, said IBM was likely more eager now to do a deal than last year after several quarters of weak earnings.
But any deal would also likely invite scrutiny from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) as servers were more directly related to data security than PCs and phones, he added.
Lenovo could finance the deal through a combination of cash, debt and converts, said Nicolas Baratte, a Hong Kong-based analyst with brokerage CLSA. The company has $3 billion in cash, and very little debt, and IBM is a very willing seller, he added.
“If IBM sells all its server business, except the top-end servers, the deal is worth $2.5 to $3 billion,” Baratte said.
“There is no financing problem for $3 billion, but I don’t think it will be one hundred percent cash.”
Wi-Fi is becoming an increasingly important access technology to operators, either to offload their cellular networks or, as in this case, to offer subscribers data access when traveling. Universal Wi-Fi is specifically aimed at multinational enterprises.
The service uses more than 1.3 million hotspots at locations such as airports and hotel chains, including Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton and Sheraton. To get that many hotspots, Telefonica is collaborating with iPass and Swisscom, for example.
It has also partnered with Gogo to offer in-flight coverage. Gogo has put Wi-Fi on 6,000 planes from Air Canada, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and Virgin America.
Telefonica didn’t immediately reply to questions about what the service will cost. Users will pay a fixed cost for access using up to five devices, according the operator.
Competitor Boingo Wireless charges $59 per month for up to 2,000 minutes of worldwide Wi-Fi access per month on up to four different laptops and mobile devices. It also works with Gogo’s in-flight service.
From 2013 to 2017, operators are expected to spend $8.5 billion on carrier Wi-Fi equipment, led by mobile operators using the network technology for data offload, Infonetics Research said in a recent report.
Scientist have emerged from their smoke filled labs with transparent thin-film organic semiconductors that could become the foundation for cheap, high-performance displays. Two university research teams have worked together to produce the world’s fastest thin-film organic transistors, proving that this experimental technology has the potential to achieve the performance needed for high-resolution television screens and similar electronic devices.
According to the latest issue of Nature Communications, engineers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Stanford University show how they created thin-film organic transistors that could operate more than five times faster than previous examples of this experimental technology.
Research teams led by Zhenan Bao, professor of chemical engineering at Stanford, and Jinsong Huang, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at UNL used their new process to make organic thin-film transistors with electronic characteristics comparable to those found in expensive, curved-screen television displays based on a form of silicon technology.
At the moment the high tech method is to drop a special solution, containing carbon-rich molecules and a complementary plastic, onto a spinning platter made of glass. The spinning action deposits a thin coating of the materials over the platter. The boffins worked out that if they spun the platter faster and coated a tiny portion of the spinning surface, equivalent to the size of a postage stamp they could put a denser concentration of the organic molecules into a more regular alignment. The result was a great improvement in carrier mobility, which measures how quickly electrical charges travel through the transistor.
Parature’s software helps businesses provide automated customer service, manage online discussion boards and forums, and conduct online surveys.
The company’s customers include Ask.com, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, International Business Machines Corp and Saba Software Inc.
Microsoft did not disclose the terms of the deal.
The acquisition will boost Microsoft’s Dynamics unit, which makes business software and counts Mattress Firm Holding Corp, Pandora Media Inc and Nissan Motor Co as customers.
Cloud computing, a broad term referring to the delivery of services via the Internet from remote data centers, is a favorite with businesses because it is faster to implement and has lower upfront costs than traditional software.
Oracle Corp said in December that it would buy web-based marketing software maker Responsys Inc for about $1.39 billion to bolster its cloud computing offerings.
Salesforce.com Inc, the biggest maker of online sales management tools, said in June that it would pay $2.5 billion for marketing software maker ExactTarget, which helps companies reach customers on social networks through mobile devices.
Intel has a New Year’s resolution that it is going to get more aggressive about Android in 2014.
Word on the street is that we can expect to see 64-bit processing power and more tablets even while it is still trying to prop up Microsoft’s PCs. Kirk Skaugen, general manager of the PC Client Group at Intel has promised to scale Android to 64-bit and move away from Atom processors all the way to the high-end of the Core processor family.
It is a little behind. Jobs’ Mob have moved into 64-bit A7 processor which was about the only innovation we have seen from the outfit for a while. Samsung has talked about a two-step process for 64-bit and Qualcomm has said that a Snapdragon processor with 64-bit support will hit the market later in 2014.
Digitimes posted a list of Intel Android tablet specifications that includes “Bay Trail” Atom processor-based models ranging from $99 to $129 (7-inch ), from $149 to $199 (7- and 8-inch), and all the way up to 10-inch models priced at $249 and above.
Japan’s Sony Corp has changed its mind and decided not to sell its lithium-ion battery unit. Instead Sony has decided to take a chance at turning the business around with a weak yen and growing demand for smart phone batteries.
In addition to a weak yen, which can boost overseas earnings, the battery unit is also seeing increased demand for some of its new products, the Nikkei business daily reported.
For the past two years Sony had been planning to offload the unit, which was a pioneer in making lithium-ion batteries for computers and mobile devices but has struggled recently against cheaper South Korean rivals.
A government turnaround fund tried to broker a sale of the battery business to a Nissan Motor Co Ltd and NEC Corp joint venture earlier this year.
However, talks have stalled and Sony has now told the turnaround fund that it will hold on to the battery unit and develop it as a core business, the Nikkei reported, citing unidentified sources.
Sony, which last year sold its chemical business to the government turnaround fund, is trying to revive the fortunes of its consumer electronics business by focusing on cameras,gaming and mobile devices.
KnowMyApp.org, launched by CTIA late last week, allows mobile device owners to estimate an app’s data usage before it’s downloaded. This is the first tool allowing consumers to learn about an app’s data usage before downloading it, although there are tools available to measure an app’s data use after downloading, CTIA said.
CTIA has also aimed KnowMyApp.org at app developers, by giving them information about conserving data usage and minimizing impact to battery life, the trade group said.
Visitors to the website can search by app name, operating system or app categories. They can learn now the app was tested, how much data is used when an app is downloaded, at initialization, during active run time and during background time.
The website also includes information about how mobile device owners can conserve data.
KnowMyApp.org currently includes test results for the top 50 paid and free apps from the Apple and Google stores, and CTIA plans to add more apps each month. The trade group invites developers to submit apps to be tested.
The tool was developed through the CTIA’s Application Data Usage Working Group, with members including Apple, AT&T, Ericsson, HTC America, Microsoft, Sprint and Verizon Wireless. Intertek developed the mobile app data usage benchmark testing using the AT&T Application Resource Optimizer, an open-source diagnostic tool that captures, analyzes and reports network app data usage to help developers create more efficient apps.
Over the past year or so Intel shipped around quite a few phone prototypes to its R&D centers around the globe, including Salt Bay and Red Hook Bay devices. Red Hook Bay benchmarks appeared a year ago and the device was Medfield based, but nothing became of it. Medfield was not slow, but it was not very efficient, either. It also lacked LTE support.
However, Salt Bay is a Merrifield test platform and a year later it was its turn to show up in some benchmarks. Italian mobile news site Tutto Android seems to have found a few legit benches, which are encouraging to say the least. There’s more. Salt Bay features an XMM7160 modem and supports LTE-A up to 150Mbps.
Salt Bay is powered by a 2.1GHz Merrifield and it runs Android 4.3. It has a 4.3-inch 720p screen and there’s no shortage of GPU muscle. It features new PowerVR SGX 6 series graphics (Rogue) and it scores 56.7 to 58.4 frames per second in NenaMark 2.
The bench does not tell us much for a number of reasons, but then again it is a decent score. Looking at the rest of the spec, performance should not be an issue. However, there is a slight problem – it is unclear whether this is a dual- or quad-core part, although we are fairly confident it is a dual-core due to its relatively high clock.
Now it is time to curb your enthusiasm. This is not an actual product and it is by no means new. Intel shipped a few samples to its R&D centres as far as back as May and it is possible that the samples were ready even before that, but official records show they were shipped from the US on as far back as May 2013.
In addition to the relatively old Red Hook Bay and Salt Bay devices, there is a third phone on the list. It is designated “Intel prototype device VB50” and it runs Android Jelly Bean. Intel also imported heaps of 3G XMM6321 devices and dev boards over the last few months. Interestingly, there were a few XMM7160 devices in the mix, too.
Haswell launched in June 2013, it came across the whole desktop portfolio and was available for a wide range of products, with chips ranging from 15W to 84W. This won’t be the case for Broadwell.
New high-end desktop processors, including the replacement for Core i7 4770K parts, are coming from the house of Haswell and they are called Haswell refresh, while Broadwell comes to desktops but in a different form. It turns out that Broadwell for desktop will replace Haswell 28W and 15W desktop parts, mostly targeting all-in-one systems as well as home entertainment living room PCs or nettops. It is still unclear whether we will see NUC products based on Broadwell.
The highest end Core i7 Haswell based to be replaced by Broadwell is the Core i7 4558U, a 2.8GHz clocked dual-core with 4MB cache that works up to 3.3GHz with Turbo. This processor has support for four threads and a maximum TDP of 28W. With Broadwell version the performance should rise and TDP might actually go down.
At some point in the second half of 2014 Broadwell comes to the 15W segment to replace 1.7GHz clocked dual core Core i7 4650U that has 4MB of cache and a max turbo frequency of 3.3Ghz. Even at 22nm Haswell core this CPU is maxing out at 15W and with Broadwell replacement things might get even better.
All 15W and 28W All-in-One Haswell parts will be replaced by Broadwell, with more than a dozen of SKUs. This is also confirmation that Broadwell doesn’t come as a traditional socketed CPU as these parts cannot be user-replaced. Core i7 4650 U uses FCBGA1168 which is not compatible with motherboards and LGA 1150 desktop boards and we suspect that Broadwell won’t be either.
We are quite sure that Apple might be very interested in 28W and 15W Broadwell processors for its overpriced iMac series coming in the second part of 2014.
This basically means that the only way of getting a Broadwell desktop will be to buy an AIO, or alternatively small-form factor PCs and barebones based on mobile parts.
The Samsung Gamepad is compatible with all Android phones running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean and above, though Samsung said that it is specifically optimized for Android 4.3 Jelly Bean and above. It features an eight-way D-Pad, two analogue sticks, four action buttons, two trigger buttons, a Select button and a Play button.
The Play button is a link to the Samsung App Store selling console optimized games at “reasonable prices”. The Gamepad uses Bluetooth 3.0, but can also pair via NFC and even cast gaming onto the big screen using Samsung Allshare. Although there are a number of Chinese imports available, this is the first time a major player has brought an Android game controller to the table.
Samsung said 35 games are available through the Play button at launch with more to come in 2014. Launch titles include Need for Speed: Most Wanted, Asphalt 8, Modern Combat 4, Virtua Tennis Challenge, and Prince of Persia. These are in addition to existing games from Google Play.
Samsung is keen to tout this new device as an alternative to buying a more expensive console such as an Xbox One or Playstation 4 (PS4), and while we’re not really sure if it can match them, we can certainly see the advantages of a device like this over Android game consoles such as the Ouya or Gamestick.
The device is already available for pre-order at Expansys for $125.99. At present there is no date attached to it, and Samsung is only committing to “the coming weeks” as the time-frame for availability.
As it’s a device with a steel casing, Samsung clearly is not aiming this at the budget market, and if its functionality matches its specifications, it could be one to watch in 2014.