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Yahoo Still Plagued By Sluggish Growth

June 30, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo’s share gains since November from a partnership with Mozilla may be a clue about whether the search company can gain new users through the just-announced contract to change Internet Explorer’s and Chrome’s default search through installations of Oracle’s Java.

Although the news of the Yahoo-Oracle partnership got the lion’s share of attention, CEO Marissa Mayer also used last week’s shareholder meeting to mention the Mozilla pact.

The five-year contract with Mozilla, the maker of Firefox, has boosted Yahoo’s share of the U.S. search market, but growth has stalled for the last three months, according to measurement company comScore.

On Wednesday, Mayer asserted that the Mozilla deal — negotiated last fall — was “profitable,” but didn’t provide any numbers to back that up. Neither Yahoo nor Mozilla has disclosed how much the former paid to become Firefox’s default search engine in the U.S.

By comScore’s measurement, Yahoo accounted for 12.7% of all U.S. searches in May, the same share it controlled in both March and April. Although that was 2.5 percentage points higher than in November 2014 — before Firefox began urging users to accept Yahoo as the default — and represented a six-month increase of 25%, May’s share was down from the January peak of 13%.

From all indications, Yahoo has gotten as much out of the Firefox deal as it will likely get. The flip-side is that Yahoo has hung onto most of what it grabbed from Google — Firefox’s previous default — even as Google has tried to get users to return.

For May, comScore pegged Google’s share at 64.1%, down one-tenth of a percentage point from the month prior. Microsoft’s share rose that one-tenth of a point to end May at 20.3%. Because Bing powers Yahoo’s search results, Microsoft’s technology accounted for 31.4% of all U.S. searches, still less than half Google’s 65.2%.

 

 

Yahoo Beefs Up Mobile Search

June 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Yahoo is beefing up its search service on mobile devices, following Google’s lead by highlighting content such as images, videos and reviews ahead of regular search results

The changes will apply to Yahoo search on the mobile web in the U.S., in browsers such as Safari and Chrome. Yahoo’s mobile app and desktop site already provide some additional content within results.

A search on the mobile web for Barack Obama, for instance, displays information about him from Wikipedia, such as his height and birth date, as well as links to news, images and YouTube videos. In one search Thursday, the videos included some curious choices, including “Barack Obama is Illuminati.”

Google already highlights a variety of content related to search queries, including news and related tweets, as well as links to other services like Maps. Microsoft’s Bing does something similar.

Because Yahoo is playing catch-up, the changes might not attract many new users, but they could help it retain people who use Yahoo for mobile searches today.

In the last quarter of 2014, mobile accounted for half of Yahoo’s search traffic in North America, up from 32 percent during the same period in 2013, according to research firm eMarketer.

 

 

AMD’s Quantum Has Intel Inside

June 26, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy-Fud

Freescales Debuts Linux SoC

June 25, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy-Fud

 

AMD’s FIJI GPU Boast Over 8.5 Billion Transistors

June 18, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is Samsung The King Of LTE?

June 15, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy-Fud

 

Are Notebook Sales On The Rise?

June 12, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The PC maker Quanta Computer’s has reported a surprise hike in the sales of notebooks. According to the company its notebook shipments reached 3.4 million units in May, up 6.25 per cent on month from 3.2 million units in April. Quanta’s notebook shipments are estimated to grow 10 per cent sequentially to reach 10.89 million units in the second quarter. The outfit said that it will ship 4.29 million notebooks in June. Things might get even better in July when Windows 10 is scheduled to be released. The Tame Apple press is doing its best to play down the release, claiming that it is uncertain if the new operating system is able to attract consumers to purchase new PC devices. Part of this is because Redmond is allowing consumers to freely upgrade their existing PCs to Windows 10, making purchasing a new PC no longer important. Quanta is dependent on notebooks for 70 per cent of its revenues. The rest of its 14.1 per cent on-month revenue growth in May was mainly contributed by Apple Watch orders which could lead to tears if this market dries up. Courtesy-Fud

Is Yahoo Axing Services?

June 8, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo has been quietly axing shedloads of its services, claiming that its focus is on “search, communications and digital content” to cover a cull which is a bit like a Game of Thrones Wedding.

First to go was maps.yahoo.com (a.k.a. Yahoo Maps) at the end of June. Though maps will live on within Yahoo search and Flickr in some fashion.

Yahoo maps has been around for eight years, and probably did not get the same level of attention that Google or Microsoft managed.

Support for Yahoo Mail on the built-in Mail app on Apple devices running iOS older than Version 5 as of June 15 is also toast.

Yahoo Chief Architect Amotz Maimon said that if you use iOS 4 & earlier, you can continue to use Yahoo Mail on their Safari mobile browser at mail.yahoo.com.

Yahoo Pipes, a tool for building visually-enticing Web apps from feeds, pages and other services, will no longer by supported as of August. 30.

GeoPlanet and PlaceSpotter APIs are being retired. Media funtions which we never new existed such as Yahoo Music in France and Canada, will be axed.

Xobni email app it has acquired, along with the Yahoo toolbar on Chrome and the Yahoo People Search directory has gone the way of the dodo.

All these seem to be reasonably useful functions which most people didn’t know about because they were on Yahoo.

Courtesy-Fud

Acer Shifts Focus To IoT

June 8, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Acer is still churning out PCs, but the Taiwanese vendor is far more bullish about the Internet of Things (IoT), a market the company doesn’t want to miss out on.

Acer held a news conference not for a new consumer product, but to promote an upcoming miniature PC that will be sold to developers.

The PC, called the aBeing One, will arrive in the third quarter, and is aimed at developers working in the IoT area. It’s designed to connect to smart home and wearable products, and act as a hub that can analyze incoming data from the devices.

The PC vendor has spoken to many IoT companies looking for an affordable hardware system they can develop on, said Robert Wang, a general manager with Acer.

“Fast-moving IoT developers keep running into this issue,” he said after Acer’s news conference. “Now they can buy from us.”

It’s a big change for the vendor, given that it once focused on selling consumer notebooks. However, with PC sales sagging and competition rife in the mobile devices area, the company has been shifting toward enterprise products.

That emphasis was apparent at this week’s Computex show in Taipei. Acer notebooks and tablets were still on display, but equal billing was given to itscloud computing business, which is starting to power IoT devices, not only from Acer, but also its clients.

In addition, Acer is hoping to pave the way for more third-party IoT devices. It has partnered with Canonical to install a version of Ubuntu on its aBeing product, so that the hardware can serve Ubuntu developers working on smart connected gadgets.

 

 

MediaTek Debuts Contactless Heart Rate Monitor

June 8, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Courtesy-TheInq

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

June 5, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy-Fud

 

GameStop Acquires ThinkGeek

June 4, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Last week it was reported how Geeknet Inc. was in the process of being bought out by retailer Hot Topic for $16 a share or $37 million in cash.

However we have just discovered that deal was squashed because Thinkgeek got a better deal from Gamestop.

GameStop offered $20 per share and Hot Topic wanted away. GameStop’s $20 per share deal also includes $37 million in cash and comes out to a total valuation of $140 million.

Geeknet must pay Hot Topic a three percent “break-up fee,” which GameStop has agreed to reimburse.

What this will mean is that ThinkGeek customers can pick up ThinkGeek merchandise in GameStop stores.

The press release also mentions the potential of offering GameStop PowerUp Rewards members “exclusive, unique and cutting edge merchandise related to their favorite entertainment.”

The deal should be concluded by the end of GameStop’s second financial quarter of 2015, which will happen in August.

Courtesy-Fud

TSMC Moving To 16FF+ Soon

June 1, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

TSMC’s 16nm FinFET process has barely gotten off the ground, but the foundry is already talking about 16nm FinFET Plus, which is due to launch by the end of the year.

The improved 16nm FinFET Plus (16FF+) node is supposed to deliver more efficiency and performance, making TSMC’s node more competitive compared to Samsung’s 14nm node. That is the general idea, but TSMC’s first generation 16nm node has failed to impress in terms of design wins.

TSMC president CC Wei said the new 16FF+ node already has 20 tapeouts, ten of which achieved satisfactory yield performance. Wei said the company expects up to 50 tapeouts by the end of the year. TSMC expects 16FF+ to enter commercial production in the second half of the year.

16FF+ is not the only FinFET node coming from TSMC over the next year. The company plans to introduce 16FFC for compact devices sometime in the second half of 2016. In addition, 10nm FinFET is expected to enter risk production by the end of 2015, reports Digitimes.

Courtesy-Fud

Can TSMC Beat Samsung?

June 1, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

TSMC has said that it is confident that it can beat Samsung Electronics in ramping up production on its 10nm lines.

Samsung disclosed during a recent technology forum in the US that the company plans to enter mass production of chips using its 10nm FinFET process by the end of 2016,.

But in a statement TSMC claimed it could the outfit said the way things are shaping up it could beat that time table. TSMC continued that in the 10nm FinFET race, Intel will be its major competitor.

We expect to hear a bit more about TSMC’s plans at its Taiwan Technology Symposium 2015 on May 28. At the upcoming event, the foundry is expected to talk about the progress and development of its FinFET manufacturing nodes.

TSMC chairman Morris Chang remarked earlier in 2015 that TSMC expects to gain a majority of market share in the FinFET segment in 2016.

Intel is also expected to release its first chips made using 10nm process technology as early as in the middle of 2016.

Courtesy-Fud

Does The PS4 Have a Weak First Party Fall Line-up?

May 29, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

At Sony’s 2015 Investor Relations Day today, Sony Computer Entertainment president and global CEO Andrew House detailed the company’s strategy for the coming year, including how it will address some shortcomings.

House began his presentation on a positive note, talking up PlayStation 4 as “the fastest selling hardware platform in our history,” showing better-than expected growth and pushing PlayStation Plus subscriptions to twice what they were in fiscal year 2013. He said the company has a competitive advantage for the moment, and laid out three ways it hopes to maintain that. In addition to next year’s launch of the Project Morpheus virtual reality headset and continued cost reduction efforts, House said the company needs quality software.

“We are working very hard to continue very strong support from third-party pubs and devs,” House said. “Our first-party lineup is a little sparse this year, so I think this places even greater emphasis on getting good third-party support.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean exclusive third-party support. To date, House said Sony has been primarily trying to get multiplatform developers to simply take advantage of features the PS4 has over the competition, like SharePlay, or maybe include extra content in the PS4 version or give players early access to add-on content. Third-party exclusives are still an option, just not a frequently used one.

“I will admit that these are, in the current publishing landscape, few and far between, but we were able to announce a full exclusive around a franchise like Street Fighter so that Street Fighter 5 is a complete exclusive for PlayStation 4,” House said, adding, “Although given publishing dynamics and development costs, those are increasingly difficult to secure.”

House also talked about the decline in Sony’s other platforms. As much as the PS4′s growth has exceeded expectations, so too has the PlayStation 3′s decline. House said the system’s price simply isn’t as competitive in the market as the PlayStation 2 and PSone were after their successors launched, and added that the shift toward more connected console experiences has also made less capable offerings less attractive.

House also cast a dim view of the company’s handheld business. While he noted that the Vita platform remains “strong and vibrant” in Asia and Japan, his outlook for the current fiscal year included declines in the US and Europe. Additionally, he referred to the PlayStation Vita and its microconsole counterpart the PlayStation TV as “legacy platforms” when discussing a write-off of hardware components for the two.

“I would characterize 2015 as the beginning of a harvest period for the PlayStation 4 platform,” House said. “The beginning of a harvest period. That being said, we are also undertaking to invest in the future, and 2015 will also be a year of investment.”

That investment will be focused on a few areas. There’s the Morpheus, of course, as well as continued spend on original PlayStation entertainment content like the TV show Powers (which was recently greenlit for a second season). On top of that, House said Sony would be investing in the expansion of its PlayStation Vue television streaming platform and a continued re-architecture of its PlayStation Network with an eye toward increasing stability and reducing maintenance downtime.

Courtesy-GI.biz