The vague announcement raised the question of whether Verizon is simply trying to show its competitive value against Google and AT&T, which have both announced fiber Internet services in a number of cities.
“I think Verizon is trying to play catch up to the others without saying it that way,” said independent analyst Jeff Kagan. “The only question I still have is will Verizon be a real competitor or is this mostly just talk to cover their butts in the rapidly changing marketplace?”
What Verizon did disclose in a news release was that it will be modernizing undisclosed portions of its so-called 100G (for 100 Gbps) metro optical network using packet-optimized networking gear from Ciena and Cisco. Testing and deployment of the Ciena 6500 optical switch and Cisco’s Network Covergence System will happen this year, with plans to go live in 2016. /
“We are not announcing specific geographies at this time,” Verizon spokeswoman Lynn Staggs said in an email. She said the new equipment is not directly related to fiber connections to the premises of homes or businesses. By comparison, both Google Fiber and AT&T GigaPower are designed with 1 Gbps connections to homes, schools and businesses in mind.
Staggs said Verizon is upgrading connectivity between central Verizon offices and the backbone network. On top of that service, there is generally an “access” network for the last mile to connect the customer and the metro network, she added.
No matter how Verizon describes the ultimate purpose of its metro network, it is clear to analysts and others that Verizon’s metro upgrades could be used to prepare for last-mile fiber connections to businesses, schools and even homes to take on Google and AT&T directly. “Deploying a new coherent, optimized and highly scalable metro network means Verizon stays ahead of the growth trajectory while providing an even more robust network infrastructure for future demand,” said Lee Hicks, vice president of Verizon network planning, in a statement.
Azul specializes in bespoke open source Java runtimes and has announced that it is expanding into embedded product lines.
Scott Sellers, CEO and co-founder, and Howard Green, VP of marketing, were keen to extol the virtues of an embedded system.
“If you go with an Oracle system, not only do you have to pay a license fee but you are restricted to off-the-peg solutions,” explains Sellers.
“Because we are an open source solution we can create exactly what the customer needs, then feed that expertise back into the community where it will eventually end up in the official builds of Java.”
Oracle now bases its products around the open source community before releasing its own stable, closed source editions, so Zulu Embedded will often contain cutting edge functionality which is not available to standard (and paying) Java users.
“Our products are built out of a customer need. It’s not just about cost, but about finding new ways to use the Java runtime, which is still the most popular programming language in the world, and creating ways of getting it to do new things,” says Green.
The arrival of Zulu Embedded will open a whole host of opportunities for Internet of Things (IoT) building, but Sellers is keen for the product to be seen as more than just an IoT platform.
“Of course, by creating customized solutions we are able to strip out the libraries that are unnecessary and make a more nimble runtime with a smaller footprint, which makes it ideal for the IoT, but there is far more to it than that – everything from routers, to set-top boxes to ATMs,” explains Green.
The product officially launches today, but has been subject to a significant amount of testing in the field with selected customers.
“In actual fact, it has been available on a limited basis since last September and there are already over two million units running Zulu Embedded in the field,” says Green.
The product will be monetized by offering enterprise-grade support options to customers, while the product itself is freely available.
“We see the end-of-life schedule of Java SE as a major selling point for our own product,” says Green.
Oracle’s support for Java SE 7 has already expired, and it’s another two years before version 8 also reaches end-of-life. Azul, meanwhile, remains committed to its open source products indefinitely.
“Compared to all the alternatives which are either limited in lifespan or have large upfront licensing costs, we’re sure that, combined with our ongoing support, we’re the right choice for anyone wanting flexible deployment of Java,” says Sellers.
Zulu Embedded works across a huge number of platforms, including Mac, Windows and Linux, on Intel and AMD x64 architectures with ARM compatibility to follow.
It is also compatible with physical servers such as Windows Server, hypervisors including VMware and Hyper-V and cloud solutions like Microsoft Azure, Red Hat, Suse and Docker.
For Java as a language, however, Zulu Embedded is something of a return to its roots.
“Sun Microsystems [the original owners of Java] were very successful in the embedded market and paved the way for the vast number of applications that already have a Java runtime. With the end of support for Java 7, many people will be looking at where to go next,” explains Sellars.
Consumer users of Java have repeatedly lashed out at Oracle for its use of bundleware in Java installations, which recently spread to Mac users.
Zulu is available immediately from the Azul website, along with details on working with the Embedded version.
We’ve come a long way in the past nine years, when Sun and Azul were counter-suing over patents. Today, open source is the beating heart of Java, though many won’t realize it.
On-body detection uses the accelerometer in the phone to detect when it’s being held or carried. If enabled, the feature requires a passcode the first time the phone is accessed but then keeps the device unlocked until it is placed down.
That means, for example, that users walking down the street won’t have to unlock the phone every time they take their phones out of their pockets.
The feature wasn’t widely announced by Google, but it began operating in some phones on Friday.
Like the other elements of smart lock, it should be used with caution as it can’t detect who is carrying the phone.
“If you unlock your device and hand it to someone else, your device also stays unlocked as long as the other person continues to hold or carry it,” reads a message displayed on phones with the new feature.
The smart lock feature was introduced with Android 5.0 KitKat and allows users to set zones around trusted places, such as a home or office, and Wi-Fi or Bluetooth devices, such as a computer or car radio. When the phone is in those zones it will remain unlocked once it’s been unlocked the first time.
It can also recognize faces and remain unlocked when it sees a trusted face.
The trip, which will begin March 22 near the Golden Gate Bridge, will end in New York City. It is the first cross-country trip by a fully autonomous vehicle, and arguably the longest anyone has made.
The autonomous Audi SQ5 is making the trip in order to test Delphi’s suite of advanced driving assistance systems (ADAS) vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure wireless communications and automated driving software.
Two months ago, Delphi demonstrated a self-driving Audi A7, named “Jack,” which made a 560-mile trip from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.
Delphi’s automated driving vehicle leverages a full suite of technologies and features to make this trip possible. The navigation system, cameras and sensors are all controlled by intelligent software that enables the vehicle to make complex, “human-like decisions for real-world automated driving,” the company said in a statement.
Functions such as Delphi’s Traffic Jam Assist, Automated Highway Pilot with Lane Change (on-ramp to off-ramp highway pilot), Automated Urban Pilot, and Automated Parking and Valet features will all be put through their paces on the cross-country journey.
There will also be six Delphi engineers making the trip with the car.
The vehicle won’t just be using the interstate highway system. Delphi said during the cross-country trek, it will be challenged under a variety of driving conditions from changing weather and terrain to potential road hazards, “things that could never truly be tested in a lab.”
“Delphi had great success testing its car in California and on the streets of Las Vegas,” said Jeff Owens, Delphi’s chief technology officer. “Now, it’s time to put our vehicle to the ultimate test by broadening the range of driving conditions.
Target is reportedly close to paying out $10m to settle a class-action case that was filed after it was hacked and stripped of tens of millions of peoples’ details.
Target was smacked by hackers in 2013 in a massive cyber-thwack on its stores and servers that put some 70 million people’s personal information in harm’s way.
The hack has had massive repercussions. People are losing faith in industry and its ability to store their personal data, and the Target incident is a very good example of why people are right to worry.
As well as tarnishing Target’s reputation, the attack also led to a $162m gap in its financial spreadsheets.
The firm apologized to its punters when it revealed the hack, and chairman, CEO and president Gregg Steinhafel said he was sorry that they have had to “endure” such a thing
Now, according to reports, Target is willing to fork out another $10m to put things right, offering the money as a proposed settlement in one of several class-action lawsuits the company is facing. If accepted, the settlement could see affected parties awarded some $10,000 for their troubles.
We have asked Target to either confirm or comment on this, and are waiting for a response. For now we have an official statement at Reuters to turn to. There we see Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder confirming that something is happening but not mentioning the 10 and six zeroes.
“We are pleased to see the process moving forward and look forward to its resolution,” she said.
Not available to comment, not that we asked, will be the firm’s CIO at the time of the hack. Thirty-year Target veteran Beth Jacob left her role in the aftermath of the attack, and a replacement was immediately sought.
“To ensure that Target is well positioned following the data breach we suffered last year, we are undertaking an overhaul of our information security and compliance structure and practices at Target,” said Steinhafel then.
“As a first step in this effort, Target will be conducting an external search for an interim CIO who can help guide Target through this transformation.”
“Transformational change” pro Bob DeRodes took on the role in May last year and immediately began saying the right things.
“I look forward to helping shape information technology and data security at Target in the days and months ahead,” he said.
“It is clear to me that Target is an organization that is committed to doing whatever it takes to do right by their guests.”
We would ask Steinhafel for his verdict on DeRodes so far and the $10m settlement, but would you believe it, he’s not at Target anymore either having left in the summer last year with a reported $61m golden parachute.
Companies with more than 1,000 lines will pay $10 per month for each line. Other firms with multiple lines will be charged $15 a line. In both cases, every line comes with 1 gigabyte of high-speed data and allows unlimited calls and text messages.
Verizon and AT&T account for 87 percent of the $83 billion in wireless revenue from businesses, T-Mobile Chief Executive John Legere said at the company’s “Uncarrier 9.0″ event in New York.
T-Mobile’s bid to lure rivals’ business customers reflects an increasingly competitive U.S. cellular market in which new customer growth is hard to come by, forcing the dominant players to seek growth by targeting each other’s existing subscribers.
T-Mobile, controlled by Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, hopes to encourage business owners to switch to its network by offering their family members plans with discounts, Legere said.
As added sweeteners for prospective clients, T-Mobile will offer each business client a free GoDaddy.com domain, a website and email addresses from Microsoft Office 365.
Turning to the consumer market, T-Mobile said it would make permanent various promotional offers from recent months that had been labeled temporary. It also broadened a previous offer to lure other companies’ customers by paying up to $650 in early termination fees to also cover those potential customers’ equipment costs.
Over the last two years, T-Mobile has focused on the consumer market, aggressively cutting prices and shaking up the market with moves to simplify signing up for and keeping cellular and data plans.
HP has announced a series of new storage offerings aimed at mid-sized businesses, becoming the latest player in the rush to snap up flash-hungry enterprise customers.
Following on from the recent announcement of SanDisk InfiniFlash, the new StoreVirtual 4335 hybrid flash array uses Adaptive Optimization tiering functionality to deliver 12 times more storage for a power and footprint saving of 90 percent per 2-node cluster over traditional hard disks.
The system is compatible with HP StoreVirtual Virtual Storage Appliance (VSA) and HP’s Helion OpenStack.
HP has confirmed that it is able to introduce the hybrid storage platform to mid-sized businesses in a cost-effective manner with just a couple of mouse clicks and zero downtime.
Also new is StoreOnce Backup, which is also aimed at small and medium-scale business deployments. The StoreOnce 2900 protects up to 70TB of data in a single 12-hour window and can restore 41TB in the same time, with up to 31.5TB available in a 2U rackspace footprint. It is fully compatible with HP Recovery Manager Central.
HP Virtual Store Appliance (VSA) offers a fully software-defined storage option with deduplicated disk backup features and app-based virtual machines, including VMware Sphere, Microsoft Hyper-V and Linux KVM.
Though up to 50TB is available, users can start small with a free 1TB service to try it out.
Finally, the StoreEasy NAS storage range has been refreshed with new products the 1450, 1650, 1850 all based on HP ProLiant Gen9 Servers, with 25-times faster RAID rebuilds and disaster recovery options.
By combining StoreEasy and LiveVault TurboRestore, customers can create a hybrid cloud backup with continuous redundant protection at two disparate locations, ideal for disaster recovery.
All of these products will be available by the end of March, with prices starting at $5,500.
Users can tap or click a dollar icon in a new chat window to send money to their friends, after they link a Visa or MasterCard debit card issued by a U.S. bank to their accounts.
The free feature will roll out over the next few months for users in the United States who access Facebook Messenger through desktop computers or Google Inc’s Android and Apple Inc’s iOS operating systems on mobile devices.
Users can create a PIN or enable Touch ID if they have an iPhone to add a level of security to the payments.
Snapchat had launched a similar service last November, called Snapcash.
The mobile messaging company partnered with online payments company Square to allow Snapchat users to link their debit cards to their account and quickly send money to a contact by starting a chat on a smartphone.
Nintendo has formed a comprehensive new alliance with DeNA that will make every one of the company’s famous IPs available for mobile development.
The bedrock of the deal is a dual stock purchase, with each company buying ¥22 billion ($181 million) of the other’s treasury shares. That’s equivalent to 10 per cent of DeNA’s stock, and 1.24 per cent of Nintendo. The payments will complete on April 2, 2015.
What this will ultimately mean for the consumer is Nintendo IP on mobile, “extending Nintendo’s reach into the vast market of smart device users worldwide.” There will be no ports of existing Nintendo games, according to information released today, but, “all Nintendo IP will be eligible for development and exploration by the alliance.” That includes the “iconic characters” that the company has guarded for so long.
No details on the business model that these games and apps will be released under were offered, though Nintendo may well be reluctant to adopt free-to-play at first. The information provided to the press emphasised the “premium” experiences Nintendo currently offers on platforms like Wii U and 3DS. Admittedly, that could be interpreted in either direction.
However, Nintendo and DeNA are planning an online membership service that will span Nintendo consoles, PC and smart devices. That will launch in the autumn this year.
This marks a significant change in strategy for Nintendo, which has been the subject of reports about plans to take its famous IPs to mobile for at least a year. Indeed, the company has denied the suggestion on several occasions, even as it indicated that it did have plans to make mobile a part of its core strategy in other ways.
Analysts have been offering their reflections on the deal, with the response from most being largely positive.
“Nintendo’s decision to partner with DeNA is a recognition of the importance of the games app audience to the future of its business,” said IHS head of gaming Piers Harding-Rolls. “Not only is there significant revenue to be made directly from smartphone and tablet consumers for Nintendo, app ecosystems are also very important in reaching new customers to make them aware of the Nintendo brand and to drive a new and broader audience to its dedicated console business. Last year IHS data shows that games apps were worth $26 billion in consumer spending globally, with handheld console games worth only 13 per cent of that total at $3.3 billion.
“The Nintendo-DeNA alliance is a good fit and offers up a number of important synergies for two companies that are no longer leaders in their respective segments.
“DeNA remains one of the leading mobile games company’s in Japan and, we believe, shares cultural similarities with Nintendo, especially across its most popular big-brand content. The alliance gives Nintendo access to a large audience in its home market, which remains very important to its overall financial performance. Japanese consumers spend significantly more per capita on mobile games than in any other country and it remains the biggest market for both smartphone and handheld gaming. While the partnership gives Nintendo immediate potential to grow its domestic revenues through this audience, gaining access to DeNA’s mobile expertise is important too to realise this potential.
“This alliance makes commercial sense on many levels – the main challenge will be knitting together the cultures of both companies and aligning the speed of development and iteration that is needed in the mobile space with Nintendo’s more patient and systematic approach to games content production. How the new games are monetised may also provide a challenge considering the general differences in models used in retail for Nintendo and through in-app purchases for DeNA.”
In a livestreamed press conference regarding the DeNA deal, Nintendo’s Satoru Iwata reassured those in attendance that the company was still committed to “dedicated video game systems” as its core business. To do that, he confirmed that the company was working on a new console, codenamed “NX”.
“As proof that Nintendo maintains strong enthusiasm for the dedicated game system business let me confirm that Nintendo is currently developing a dedicated game platform with a brand new concept under the development codename NX,” he said.
“It is too early to elaborate on the details of this project but we hope to share more information with you next year.”
TSMC is reportedly getting the majority of Apple A9 orders, which would be a big coup for the company.
An Asian brokerage firm released a research note, claiming that disputes over the number of Apple A9 orders from TSMC and Samsung are “coming to an end.”
The unnamed brokerage firm said TSMC will gain more orders due to its superior yield-ramp and “manufacturing excellence in mass-production.”
This is not all, as the firm also claims TSMC managed to land orders for all Apple A9X chipsets, which will power next generation iPads. With the A9X, TSMC is expected to supply about 70 percent of all Apple A9-series chips, reports Focus Taiwan.
While Samsung managed to beat other mobile chipmakers (and TSMC), and roll out the first SoC manufactured on a FinFET node, TSMC is still in the game. The company is already churning out 16nm Kirin 930 processors for Huawei, and it’s about to get a sizable chunk of Apple’s business.
TSMC should have no trouble securing more customers for its 16FF process, which will be supplemented by the superior 16FF+ process soon. In addition, TSMC is almost certain to get a lot of business from Nvidia and AMD once their FinFET GPUs are ready.
Apple Inc’s frequently mentioned TV service may soon become a reality as the iPhone maker is having discussions with programmers to offer a slimmed-down bundle of TV networks this fall, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The service would have about 25 channels, anchored by broadcasters such as ABC, CBS and Fox, and be available across all devices powered by Apple’s iOS operating system, including iPhones, iPads and Apple TV set-top boxes, the newspaper said.
Apple has been talking to Walt Disney Co, CBS Corp, and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc and other media companies to offer a “skinny” bundle with well-known channels like CBS, ESPN and FX, leaving out the many smaller networks in the standard cable TV package, the Journal said.
Apple, which is aiming to price the new service at about $30 to $40 a month, plans to announce the service in June and launch it in September, the newspaper said.
Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the company does not comment on rumor and speculation. Fox and CBS declined to comment.
Several media companies are considering joining streaming-only services, or launching their own like HBO and CBS, to attract young people who do not subscribe to traditional pay TV packages. But programmers also fear the packages could become so popular that they undercut current, more profitable deals with cable companies.
In January, Dish Network Corp unveiled its long-anticipated video streaming service, named Sling TV, targeted at younger consumers who shun pricey cable and satellite subscriptions.
Intel has announced details of its first Xeon system on chip (SoC) which will become the new the Xeon D 1500 processor family.
Although it is being touted as a server, storage and compute applications chip at the “network edge”, word on the street is that it could be under the bonnet of robots during the next apocalypse.
The Xeon D SoCs use the more useful bits of the E3 and Atom SoCs along with 14nm Broadwell core architecture. The Xeon D chip is expected to bring 3.4x better performance per watt than previous Xeon chips.
Lisa Spelman, Intel’s general manager for the Data Centre Products Group, lifted the kimono on the eight-core 2GHz Xeon D 1540 and the four-core 2.2GHz Xeon D 1520, both running at 45W. It also features integrated I/O and networking to slot into microservers and appliances for networking and storage, the firm said.
The chips are also being touted for industrial automation and may see life powering robots on factory floors. Since simple robots can run on basic, low-power processors, there’s no reason why faster chips can’t be plugged into advanced robots for more complex tasks, according to Intel.
Microsoft has been running its “personal assistant” Cortana on its Windows phones for a year, and will put the new version on the desktop with the arrival of Windows 10 this autumn. Later, Cortana will be available as a standalone app, usable on phones and tablets powered by Apple Inc’s iOS and Google Inc’s Android, people familiar with the project said.
“This kind of technology, which can read and understand email, will play a central role in the next roll out of Cortana, which we are working on now for the fall time frame,” said Eric Horvitz, managing director of Microsoft Research and a part of the Einstein project, in an interview at the company’s Redmond, Washington, headquarters. Horvitz and Microsoft declined comment on any plan to take Cortana beyond Windows.
The plan to put Cortana on machines running software from rivals such as Apple andGoogle, as well as the Einstein project, have not been reported. Cortana is the name of an artificial intelligence character in the video game series “Halo.”
They represent a new front in CEO Satya Nadella’s battle to sell Microsoft software on any device or platform, rather than trying to force customers to use Windows. Success on rivals’ platforms could create new markets and greater relevance for the company best known for its decades-old operating system.
The concept of ‘artificial intelligence’ is broad, and mobile phones and computers already show dexterity with spoken language and sifting through emails for data, for instance.
Still, Microsoft believes its work on speech recognition, search and machine learning will let it transform its digital assistant into the first intelligent ‘agent’ which anticipates users needs. By comparison, Siri is advertised mostly as responding to requests. Google’s mobile app, which doesn’t have a name like Siri or Cortana, already offers some limited predictive information ‘cards’ based on what it thinks the user wants to know.
While app makers are passionate about developing for the Apple Watch, some are skeptical about the prospects of coming up with a big idea for the little computer on a wrist that hits stores on April 24, said Markiyan Matsekh, product manager at software engineering firm Eleks.
A killer app that grabs consumers’ attention will be key to the success of the Apple Watch and could spawn new companies, as the iPhone did. The photo-sharing app Instagram grew into a $1 billion business bought by Facebook Inc, and Snapchat has gone from a mobile messaging app to a company valued at $19 billion.
Apple has blocked some features, such as the gyroscope and accelerometer, on the development kit, and the watch simulator cannot test all functions, developers said. Apple declined to comment on why developers cannot access certain features.
“The limitations are discouraging,” said Matsekh, who helped develop a Watch app to control a Tesla Model S without involvement from the electric carmaker.
App designer Mark Rabo believes Apple is spurring creativity though restraint.
The challenge he believes is “not trying to take a phone app and cram it into a Watch.”
Rabo is developing an app called “Revere,” that ties notes to calendars. The Watch will recognize the wearer is walking into a meeting and pull up previously dictated notes about the attendees, for instance.
Apple listed about 40 apps on its website as it unveiled its smartwatch on Monday with “thousands” more in the works, it said.
HBO’s standalone streaming service will launch on Apple Inc devices in April, ahead of the season premiere of hit series “Game of Thrones,” the network said, a move to reach millions of viewers who do not subscribe to pay television packages.
The new HBO Now service will cost $14.99 a month. It will include the network’s past, present and future series plus its lineup of Hollywood movies, HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Plepler said at an Apple event in San Francisco.
It is the first time the premium network will be available to people with Internet access who shun traditional TV bundles with dozens of channels. Other media companies including CBS Corp and Dish Network Corp also are taking steps to reach those audiences.
“This is a transformative moment for HBO,” Plepler said after an introduction by Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The move by Time Warner Inc’s HBO could threaten the video businesses of cable and satellite companies, which are fighting to keep customers from dropping their TV packages. It also amps up competition with streaming services such as Netflix Inc. HBO’s library of hits includes “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.”
Starting in early April, HBO Now will be available through the Apple TV box and on iPhones, iPads and the iPod touch. The fifth season of “Game of Thrones” premieres April 12.
Apple will be the exclusive digital provider of HBO Now for three months. The network also is aiming to convince traditional TV distributors to offer the service as early as April.