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Google Shipped Nearly 4M Pixel Phones, Analyst Says

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Google won’t reveal the number of Pixel phones it shipped in 2017, but one analyst from the research firm IDC has a number: 3.9 million.

The analyst, IDC Research Director Francisco Jeronimo, said the figure includes both generations of the phone, the Pixel 1 and 2. For comparison, it’s a “tiny portion” compared with the entire 1.5 billion market size for smartphones altogether, Jeronimo said. And it’s just a sliver compared with the 77.3 million iPhones Apple sold in the last quarter alone.

A Google spokeswoman declined to comment.

Though the numbers are small, the good news for Google is that they’re growing. Jeronimo said Google doubled its Pixel sales in the last year.

Google debuted the Pixel, the search giant’s first branded phone, in October 2016, and unveiled the second generation of the device exactly one year later. The company has made a serious investment in hardware. In 2016, Google brought in former Motorola executive Rick Osterloh to lead its hardware division, which includes its Google Home smart speakers, Chromecast streaming devices and Google Wi-Fi routers.

The company also said last year it made a $1 billion investment in hardware maker HTC to bring to Google 2,000 engineers, many of whom worked on the Pixel. And the search giant’s hardware division keeps growing. Last week, Google said it’s folding Nest, the smart device maker, into the Google hardware team, after Nest was spun out into a separate company under Google’s parent Alphabet in 2015.

Tablet Market Still Shrinking

February 14, 2018 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

The market for game-changing, super cool keyboardless netbooks is slumping lower than Donald Trump’s approval rating amongst educated black women.

The tablet, which was once touted by the Tame Apple Press as a technology cure for cancer saw only 46 million units sold in the fourth quarter of 2017. Both brand and white-box tablet shipments had sequential growths in the quarter.

According to Digitimes Research, white box tablet suppliers are expected to cut their shipments for the first quarter of 2018 to lower their inventory levels and the move will undermine the suppliers’ shipments in the quarter.

For the brand tablet segment, despite cutting its price tag, Apple’s efforts to buck the trend of the first-quarter 2018 low season, shipments are unlikely to make much difference..

Worldwide tablet output will fall 30 percent sequentially and 17.1 percent on year to stand at around 32 million units, a new historical low.

In the fourth quarter of 2017, tablet shipments to first tier brand vendors accounted for over 70 percent of the overall worldwide volume, growing more than 10 percent sequentially, meeting Digitimes Research’s forecast thanks to the vendors’ aggressive promotions.

After its strong promotional campaign in the third quarter of 2017, Amazon turned less aggressive about marketing its tablets in the fourth quarter, resulting in a sequential shipment decline for non-Apple first tier brand vendors’ combined shipments in the fourth quarter of 2017.

White box players saw their combined shipments reach more than 12 million units in the fourth quarter of 2017, up 3 percent sequentially, mainly due to strong orders from their overseas clients.

However, compared to the same period a year ago, the overall white-box tablet shipments still slipped 8.7 percent in the fourth quarter of 2017 because of fierce competitions from first-tier brands’ inexpensive models and weakening demand from emerging markets that are gradually reaching saturation.
In the first quarter of 2018, overall tablet shipments from first-tier brand vendors will drop to only around 22.5 million units, down 32 percent sequentially as non-Apple first-tier vendors will not have any new devices for the quarter.

Courtesy-Fud

OLED Display Maker eMagin Gets $10M Boost From Apple, LG

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

A small firm that produces OLED microdisplays is getting some attention from tech giants with big plans for virtual and augmented reality.

Apple, LG and Valve are making a $10 million investment in eMagin, according to documents filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The Hopewell Junction, New York-based company makes microdisplays used in the military, medical and industrial fields, but it has recently turned its attention to companies building consumer headsets.

“We entered into strategic agreements with multiple Tier One consumer product companies for the design and development of microdisplays for consumer head-mounted devices and, together with these companies, negotiated with mass production manufacturers for higher volume production capabilities,” eMagin said in its filing.

The company’s flagship product is a 2K display with a resolution of 2,048 by 2,048 pixels and a 70 percent fill factor, the percentage of each pixel that can be used to gather light.

The investment, made in the form of a new stock issuance, was expected to be completed before the end of January, according to the filing.

The investment underscores the tech community’s commitment to virtual reality, which promises to transport goggle-wearing users to a computer-generated 3D environment. Augmented reality, meanwhile, overlays digital images on the real world via special headsets.

Apple amped up its AR play in January when it released its ARKit 1.5 to developers. The software, which is part of the upcoming iOS 11.3 release, will pack new features to enable richer apps, including the ability to places items on vertical walls and doors, not just horizontal surfaces like tables.

LG and Valve have also partnered on developing a VR head-mounted display.

Apple and eMagin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Adobe Confirms Another Zero Day Exploit Impacting Flash

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Adobe Has finally issued a warning about a Flash zero-day flash that hackers linked to North Korea have reportedly been exploiting since November. 

Security researchers and South Korean authorities have long warned that cyber attackers based in the North have been tapping into an Adobe Flash zero-day flaw.

They believe that hackers associated with the authoritarian government in Pyongyang are using the zero-day vulnerability to launch attacks on South Korean researchers working on projects about North Korea.

After the serious flaw was uncovered, the South Korean Computer Emergency Response Team (KR-CERT) warned citizens that an “attacker may be able to convince a user to open a Microsoft Office document, web page, or spam mail containing a Flash file”.

Attackers have been embedding a dodgy Flash SWF file into seemingly innocent looking Word and Excel documents in order to infect victims’ computers. But the researchers have slammed Adobe for not doing enough to tackle the flaw.

During this time, Adobe has not offered much insight into the flaw, but experts at KR-CERT have offered recommendations while Adobe works on a patch. They include removing Flash Player completely and using the Firefox web browser.

Simon Choi, a security researcher based in South Korea, has spent much of his time exploring the flaw. He believes that North Korean hackers first started using the flaw in November 2017.

“Flash zero-day vulnerability made by North Korea has been used from mid-November 2017. They attacked South Koreans who mainly do research on North Korea,” he wrote on Twitter yesterday.

Adobe has finally got round to issuing an advisory based on the flaw (CVE-2018-4878), which is rated as critical. The company promised to release a patch on 5 February.  

“Adobe is aware of a report that an exploit for CVE-2018-4878 exists in the wild, and is being used in limited, targeted attacks against Windows users,” it explained.

“These attacks leverage Office documents with embedded malicious Flash content distributed via email.”

Courtesy-TheInq

Microsoft Office 2019 May Only Work On Windows 10

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Software king of the world Microsoft has decided that its nice new shiny Office 2019 will not run on versions of Windows before Windows 10.

In a support article for service and support of Windows and Office, Microsoft has revealed you’ll need to upgrade to Windows 10 if you want the latest version of Office without subscribing to the company’s Office 365 service.

It’s a move that’s clearly designed to push businesses that are holding off on Office 365 into subscriptions, as the standalone Office 2019 software will only be supported on Windows 10 and not Windows 7 or Windows 8.1 machines.

Microsoft is also altering the support lifecycle for Office 2019, so it will receive five years of mainstream support and then “approximately two years of extended support”.

Courtesy-Fud

nVidia AI Base Mercedes Benz In Development

February 13, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Mercedes has unveiled its new A-Class at the event in Amsterdam last night, which is the first Mercedes car to feature the Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system powered by Nvidia.

While the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class is quite an impressive hatchback which will enter series production this spring, it is also the first car with the new Mercedes-Benz User Experience (MBUX) infotainment system as a standard feature.

Powered by an Nvidia chip, the MBUX is described as a system that combines natural language processing, “silky-smooth” 3D graphics and an augmented reality boosted navigation system, bringing both better intuitive interactive and safety. The MBUX system will be available in three display versions, two 7-inch, 7-inch, and 10.25-inch or two 10.25-inch displays.

Although it looks like two tablets stitched together and placed where the dashboard should go, Nvidia claims that the chip will have more than enough computational capabilities to even support new and future applications. As it is updateable over-the-air and as speech and AI applications evolve, MBUX has the potential to offer much more.

Ola Källenius, board member for group research and Mercedes-Benz car development said that the company’s mission was to take the user experience to a new level and by choosing the best technology available for AI they created a learning system that will better anticipate your preference the longer you use it.

The MBUX also has speech recognition and indirect commands, it will not only understand simple phrases like “raise temperature” but also much more complex ones like the “I’m cold. Make it warmer in here.”

“Natural language with AI will be the preferred method of interacting with the car,” said Georges Massing, Daimler AG’s director of user interaction. “That’s because speech is the easiest — and safest — way to interact.”

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class will be the first car to get the MBUX but similar versions will also be available across its entire vehicle lineup in future.

Courtesy-Fud

The Demand For iPhone Replacement Batteries Is Strong

February 7, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc has seen “strong demand” for replacement iPhone batteries and may offer rebates for phone owners who paid full price for new batteries, the company said in a Feb. 2 letter to U.S. lawmakers.

Apple confirmed in December that software to deal with aging batteries in iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE models could slow down performance. The company apologized and lowered the price of battery replacements for affected models from $79 to $29.

In the letter released Tuesday, amid nagging allegations that it slowed down phones with older batteries as a way to push people into buying new phones, the company said it was considering issuing rebates to consumers who paid full price for replacement batteries.

The letter, released by the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee, also said Apple provided a phone-slowing software update in January 2017 but did not disclose it until a month later.

In the letter, Apple said it had known about battery problems caused by a manufacturing defect as early as fall 2016.

Senator John Thune, a Republican who chairs the committee, said in a statement that “consumers rely on clear and transparent disclosures from manufacturers to understand why their device may experience performance changes.”

Thune said that in discussions with the committee “Apple has acknowledged that its initial disclosures came up short. Apple has also promised the committee some follow-up information, including an answer about additional steps it may take to address customers who purchased a new battery at full price.”

Apple did not immediately comment on Thune’s statement. The company also sent a letter in response to Representative Greg Walden, a Republican who chairs the Committee on Energy and Commerce in the U.S. House of Representatives. Apple told the committee that it would consider extending its reduced-cost battery replacement program beyond 2018 if it can’t find a way to prevent sudden shutdowns in older iPhones without throttling processor speeds.

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission said they were investigating whether Apple violated securities laws concerning its disclosures that it slowed older iPhones with flagging batteries, Bloomberg reported.

In a statement last week, Apple said it had “received questions from some government agencies” and was duly responding to them. The company had “never, and would never, do anything to intentionally shorten the life of any Apple product, or degrade the user experience to drive customer upgrades,” the statement said.

Consumers so far have filed some 50 proposed class action lawsuits over Apple’s latest iPhone software update, which they allege caused unexpected shutdowns and hampered the performance of iPhone models of the SE, 6 and 7 lines.

Government agencies in countries ranging from Brazil to France and Italy to South Korea are also investigating Apple following complaints.

Google Pixel 2 To Get AI Boost For Photos

February 6, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

One of the biggest differences between the iPhone X and the Pixel 2 is that Google’s flagship Android phone has just one camera while Apple’s phone comes with two. The pair of lenses in the iPhone X is designed to let you zoom in on distant subjects better.

Now, Google is throwing some of its computer brains at the issue, building a technology called RAISR into its Pixel 2 phones. The change came with a Pixel 2 update to take advantage of the phone’s Pixel Visual Engine, a custom chip that accelerates some processing tasks. That includes running artificial-intelligence software and rapidly merging multiple raw photos into a single “HDR+” photo that avoids dark shadows and blown-out highlights.

“Pixel Visual Core also runs RAISR, which means zoomed-in shots look sharper and more detailed than ever before,” said Ofer Shacham, the Pixel Visual Core engineering manager, in a blog post Monday.

RAISR, short for Rapid and Accurate Image Super Resolution, takes a different approach from ordinary digital zoom. It uses a machine learning system trained on real photos to make more intelligent guesses at filling in details.

High-quality photos are a crucial part of staying ahead in the smartphone business. More and more, we’re using our phones to replace traditional cameras and to capture events we wouldn’t have photographed in the first place. A good photo is more fun to share with family and friends, so it’s no wonder that Google, Samsung, Apple, Huawei and others are trying to include the best camera technology in their phones.

Digital zoom has long been a bugbear for cameras whose actual optical hardware can’t magnify distant subjects. Results are often blurry, noisy and pixelated.

Image processing has been part of digital photography since day one. RAISR adds another step of computer manipulation between the original photons that reach a camera’s image sensor and the final product. It goes along with filters that make your skin look smoother, noise reduction to remove speckles that detract from a shot and sharpening that makes a photo look crisper.

Apple Takes Smartphone Lead Away From Samsung

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple has leaped past Samsung as the world’s leading shipper of smartphones, according to two industry reports.

Though IDC and IHS Markit had differing numbers for the fourth quarter of 2017, the result was the same: Apple handsets surpassed Samsung in shipments for only the second time in history.

“The new models from Apple played a key role in moving Apple ahead of Samsung in Q4,” said Ryan Reith, vice president for IDC’s Mobile Device Tracker report.

According to Apple’s own numbers, it’s selling about 10 iPhone per second — most of which are iPhone X’s.

Apple yesterday announced quarterly revenue of $88.3 billion, an increase of 13% year-over-year — an all-time record. International sales accounted for 65 percent of the quarter’s revenue.

Apple once before surpassed Samsung in handset shipments – in the fourth quarter of 2016. But that was considered an anomaly by analysts at the time.

“Apple had a good holiday quarter [in 2016], but it was also the same time Samsung was going through that whole issue with the Note 7 and the battery issue. So Samsung was having its own issues, while Apple was doing well,” Reith said. “There was no anomaly this quarter. There’s no question [Apple is] gaining traction.”

Apple shipments, Reith said, are driven by holiday sales because their new product release cycle comes just prior to that season.

“There’s a good chance they could see a soft first half of 2018. That’s not because they’re doing anything wrong,” Reith said. “That’s mainly because of the way the fanbase follows their new product. They rush out to buy the new product and then it sort of tapers off a little bit as you get closer to the September announcement for new products.”

While Apple may have passed Samsung, overall smartphone shipments declined 6.3% in the fourth quarter of 2017, and shipments for the whole year decreased just under 1% due to higher-priced “ultra-high-end flagship” models, IDC said.

IHS Markit research saw the market slightly different, with shipments dipping a bit less  (4.5%) from Q3 to Q4 while increasing 3.5% for the year.

Leading the market in the fourth quarter, Apple shipped 77.3 million smartphones, 1.2% fewer than in 2016, according to IHS. Samsung shipped 74.3 million units, down  2.2%.

Apple accounted for 20% of all smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter. Samsung followed at 19%, according to IHS.

IDC also pegged Apple’s shipments at 77.3 million in Q4, but it saw that as a 1.3% decrease year-over-year.

Although demand for the new higher priced iPhone X may not have been as strong as many expected, the overall iPhone lineup appealed to a wider range of consumers in both emerging and developed markets, IDC said. Apple finished second for the full year in 2017 shipping 215.8 million units, up 0.2% from the 215.4 million units shipped in 2016.

“Apple continues to prove that having numerous models at various price points bodes well for bringing smartphone owners to iOS,” IDC said.

Imagination Debuts New Furian Architecture Based GPU

February 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Imagination Technologies announces a new, high-performance GPU core that supports the multiple, ultra-high-resolution displays for cluster, Head-Up Display (HUD) and infotainment that automotive manufacturers will install in car interiors after 2018.

The outfit claims that it has an 80 percent fillrate density improvement over the previous generation, the Furian Architecture-based four-cluster PowerVR Series8XT GT8540 GPU can simultaneously drive up to six 4K screens with complex UIs at 60fps.

It comes with built-in hardware virtualization capability, which means Imagination’s automotive OEMs can power all the modern vehicle’s many displays.

Imagination claims that its PowerVR hardware virtualisation can provide a complete separation of services and applications, ensuring they remain secure against system intrusion or data corruption. The platform can support up to eight applications or services running in separate containers at once, and automotive OEMs can deploy and remove services at will without affecting others running at once.

The PowerVR four-cluster Series8XT enables automotive OEMs to design their systems to prioritise either graphics or compute-based applications. The Series8XT GT8540 can support compute workloads on a single Shader Processing Unit (SPU) for ADAS functions such as lane departure warning, blind-spot detection, and surround view, amongst others. Other tasks, such as infotainment and cluster, can run on the second SPU, using prioritising mechanisms to reach system performance targets.

Dominique Bonte, Managing Director and Vice President, ABI Research, said that Imagination Technologies is an automotive space leader which is a position becoming more important as the automotive industry moves closer to introducing Level 4 and Level 5 autonomous vehicle. These need, powerful GPUs will be vital to power multiple high-resolution displays.Additional opportunities for advanced infotainment features including 5G-based 4K video streaming will emerge in the longer term.

Graham Deacon, Vice President PowerVR Marketing, Imagination Technologies, says: “PowerVR has a strong roadmap and this is reflected in the great success seen with the XT family and its selection by leading automotive players, such as Texas Instruments. We’re now targeting new markets with the rich features, such as safety and security through virtualisation.”

The PowerVR Series 8XT GT8540 is now ready for licensing. The PowerVR two-cluster Series8XT GT8525 has customers in segments including automotive and mobile.

Courtesy-Fud

Gartner Predicts Worldwide IT Spend To Be 3.7 Trillion In 2018

January 29, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Researchers at Gartner group have been adding up some numbers and reached the conclusion that the worldwide IT spending will increase by 4.5 percent to $3.7 trillion in 2018.

Gartner research vice president John-David Lovelock said: “Global IT spending growth began to turn around in 2017, with continued growth expected over the next few years. However, uncertainty looms as organizations consider the potential impacts of Brexit, currency fluctuations, and a possible global recession.”

Despite this uncertainty, businesses will continue to invest in IT as they anticipate revenue growth, but their spending patterns will shift. Projects in digital business, blockchain, Internet of Things (IoT), and progression from big data to algorithms to machine learning to artificial intelligence (AI) will continue to be main drivers of growth, he said.

Enterprise software continues to exhibit strong growth, with worldwide software spending projected to grow 9.5 percent in 2018, and it will grow another 8.4 percent in 2019 to $421 billion. Organizations are expected to increase spending on enterprise application software in 2018, with more of the budget shifting to software as a service (SaaS). The growing availability of SaaS-based solutions is encouraging new adoption and spending across many subcategories, such as financial management systems (FMS), human capital management (HCM) and analytic applications.

The devices segment is expected to grow 5.6 percent in 2018. In 2017, the devices segment experienced growth for the first time in two years with an increase of 5.7 percent. End-user spending on mobile phones is expected to increase marginally as average selling prices continue to creep upward even as unit sales are forecast to be lower. PC growth is expected to be flat in 2018 even as continued Windows 10 migration is expected to drive positive growth in the business market in China, Latin America and Eastern Europe. The impact of the iPhone 8 and iPhone X was minimal in 2017, as expected. However, iOS shipments are expected to grow 9.1 percent in 2018.

 Gartner forecasts $2.9 trillion in new business value opportunities attributable to AI by 2021, as well as the ability to recover 6.2 billion hours of worker productivity.

“That business value is attributable to using AI to, for example, drive efficiency gains, create insights that personalize the customer experience, entice engagement and commerce, and aid in expanding revenue-generating opportunities as part of new business models driven by the insights from data. Capturing the potential business value will require spending, especially when seeking the more near-term cost savings. Spending on AI for customer experience and revenue generation will likely benefit from AI being a force multiplier – the cost to implement will be exceeded by the positive network effects and resulting increase in revenues”, he said.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung To Launch Galaxy S9 On February 25th

January 26, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung has officially chosen Feb. 25 as the date it will launch its next big phone, all but confirmed to be called the Galaxy S9.

We already knew the global smartphone titan would drop the device at Mobile World Congress — better known by its initials, MWC — next month in Barcelona, the world’s largest show for all things mobile. What we didn’t have was a launch date. If you’re keeping tabs, this Unpacked event shares the same time and weekday as Samsung’s past phone unveilings at MWC: the Sunday night before the show officially kicks off.

Samsung’s invitation shows a large purple “9” on a black background, highlighting the words “The camera. Reimagined.” The invitation doesn’t offer much in the way of hints, but it does give credence to rumors that the S9 will improve its camera performance. One or both of the S9 phones are expected to use a dual-camera setup, the second to do so after 2017’s Galaxy Note 8.

MWC, which runs from Feb. 26 to March 1, is a crucial opportunity for brands to showcase their new phones for 2018, and Samsung will be its most important anchor by far. While Samsung has a long history of introducing Galaxy devices at MWC, it’s also unwrapped them at standalone events later in March. Last year’s absent Galaxy S8 was the elephant in the room.

Galaxy S9 and S9 Plus rumors have been mounting, painting a picture of a large-screen, slim-bezel phone with the powerful Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor and a dual-camera setup (at least the larger S9 Plus). Rumors also include Samsung’s own version of Apple’s Face ID secure face unlocking, and an in-screen fingerprint reader.

Whatever the Galaxy S9 phones bring will do battle against the iPhone X, 8 Plus and 8 handsets in 2018. Although we likely won’t see the S9s go on sale until March, they’ll spend more than half the year as major Android contenders to Apple’s top phones, especially if they hit the market before other Android rivals.

For example, LG heavily hinted that it may wait until after MWC to introduce its next top-tier phone, expected to be called the LG G7, and it’s suggested that it will debut an LG V30 variant instead. Huawei is also rumored to forgo an MWC phone launch. The Nokia brand, which has cryptically promised something “awesome” for the mobile show, could produce a challenger as well, though rumors are sparse.

The rumors are sure to pile up in the next month as we approach Unpacked. And of course, we’ll bring you all the details as we cover the event live from Barcelona.

Apple’s HomePod Going On Sale February 9th

January 25, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

The HomePod is almost here.

Apple’s first smart speaker will go on sale Feb. 9 in the US, the UK, and Australia, the company said Tuesday. You’ll be able to preorder it on Apple’s website starting Friday — or Saturday in Australia.

The Siri-powered speaker will be available for $349, £319 or AU$499 in white and space gray.

The speaker faces a challenging road ahead. Apple botched its debut by delaying the HomePod’s expected December launch and instead bringing the speaker to market outside of the lucrative holiday shopping season. The HomePod will also have to go up against the Amazon Echo lineup, which first launched in late 2014, and Google Home speakers, which went on sale in late 2016. Both Amazon and Google have used the time that Apple has sat out of the market to add more kinds of speakers to their lineups — priced as low as $50 apiece — and add thousands of apps to their devices.

Apple is limited in both counts, offering just one speaker at one price that doesn’t do nearly as much as its rivals. But, industry watchers warn against writing off a new Apple product before it goes on sale, pointing to Apple fan’s strong loyalty to the company and Apple’s ability to take over markets it comes into late, such as with its Apple Pay mobile payments service.

In Apple’s announcement Tuesday, it said the HomePod will support messaging apps, like WhatsApp, so users can ask Siri to send a message to a friend. Other tools, available through SiriKit, will include reminders, note-taking and to-do list apps like Evernote. Using Apple’s HomeKit, the HomePod can also control smart home gadgets, such as lights and thermostats.

This list, though, may seem underwhelming for customers used to the Echo or Home speakers, which have already partnered with dozens of other companies to enable far more voice controls. For instance, both speakers let you order a pizza through Domino’s, hail an Uber car and buy from a selection of millions of physical goods.

Researchers have found Siri to be a subpar voice assistant, so Apple will also have to strengthen that part of its speaker. Likely to sidestep some of these issues, Apple has been highlighting the HomePod’s audio quality, calling it an “incredible music listening experience.” Unfortunately, the ability to connect two or more HomePods together for multi-room listening isn’t coming until later this year, Apple said Tuesday. The ability to pair two HomePods in the same room for stereo sound is another feature that’s coming later this year.

The HomePod was also noticeably absent at CES earlier this month, while smart speakers essentially dominated the show.

These hurdles aren’t insurmountable. Apple, the highest-valued company in the world, has the resources to improve Siri and the App Store partnerships to built up the HomePod ecosystem. Its plans to repatriate a large chunk of its $252.3 billion from overseas could help it jump-start these efforts. Plus, HomePod customers will benefit from continued improvements to the device’s cloud-based software, which should get smarter and better at answering user queries over time.

Despite lagging Google and Amazon, Apple has the privacy advantage — all conversations are encrypted to a higher degree than Alexa and Google Assistant.

But, with millions of people now used to paying well under $100 for smart speakers, the biggest hurdle for Apple — and customers — may be the $349 price.

Does Qualcomm Have a Bright Future

January 24, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

The financial future for Qualcomm in FY2019 is bright, according to a statement the company released today.

It estimates that its share profit will fall between $6.75 and $7.50 in fiscal 2019 Non-GAAP earnings per share on revenues of $35 billion to $37 billion.

The forecast sent its share price up as the company believes that Qualcomm is currently dramatically undervalued. This is what Fudzilla was talking about a while ago, as it took a hostile attempt for a takeover for investors to realize that Qualcomm is actually worth more than the Street thought.  

Qualcomm, as Fudzilla has reported before, is rejecting a hostile takeover bid from Broadcom and seems, so far to have fended off the unwanted advances.

Even if the takeover did happen, it could take up to 18 months for regulatory approvals, setting the roadmaps and plans significantly back. The takeover would not benefit Qualcomm shareholders, it is designed to benefit Broadcom shareholders. More importantly, Qualcomm doesn’t need any help to execute the 5G roadmap that is going to create significant revenues for the company in the mobile, PC, IoT and automotive industries. 

The action plan includes plans to continue to grow the Qualcomm core business, a new $1 billion cost reduction program and extend attention to NXP acquisition and peace with Apple. 

The last two are very interesting as Qualcomm told shareholders that even if it doesn’t manage to acquire NXP, it would use the money for a large share repurchase. The shareholders would have a clear win. Having Cristiano as a president brings a confidence that the Apple and any other legal battlers might settle in financial 2019 (September 30 2018). 

Overall, Qualcomm has good chances to grow even further in its core business including mobile phones. It has scored some of the rebellious customers from China including Meizu as a licensee and it is on the verge of entering a connected PC market. This can be a potentially important catalyst as Qualcomm could have much better battery life compared to its Intel competition. Let’s not forget  that Qualcomm SoC have integrated 4G LTE X16 modem with Gigabit LTE support and the upcoming Snapdragon 845 has 1.2 Gbit modem and significantly faster CPU and GPU. 

The company has already announced a phone form factor for 5G designs that will help customers ship 5G enabled phones in 2019. The automotive business unit also managed to win Volkswagen for infotainment in early 2017 and has just announced Jaguar and Land Rover design wins, as well as Honda Accord 2018. It also pulled off a design in China with BYD. 

Qualcomm Low Power Bluetooth SoC QCC5100 will enable earbuds with TrueWireless Stereo, Qualcomm aptX HD audio, Integrated Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) and third-party voice assistant services. All that will fit in your ear and play for several hours. Qualcomm scored almost a 100 percent design wins with its Mesh – Self Organizing network technology that you see with many customers as router packs. This magical technology works great with Google routers, Orbi and a few other big names and currently doesn’t have any competition. 

Overall 2018 looks to be a good year for Qualcomm and there is no way how Broadcom can benefit, and therefore the Qualcomm board urges its customers to stay away from Broadcom’s offer.

Courtesy-Fud

Blackberry Is Stepping Into The Car Arena

January 23, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Failed mobile phone maker BlackBerry has launched a new cybersecurity software, which identifies vulnerabilities in programmed used in self-driving cars.

Dubbed Blackberry Jarvis, the software is being marketed first to automakers – a group of customers the former smartphone maker is hoping will power its turnaround efforts – but could also have applications in healthcare and industrial automation.

BlackBerry said it was offering Jarvis on a pay-as-you-go basis. Once initiated, automakers will have online access to Jarvis and can scan files at every stage of software development.

BlackBerry said it had already tested Jarvis with automaker Tata Motors’ Jaguar Land Rover unit, whose chief executive said Jarvis reduced the time needed to assess code from 30 days to seven minutes.

BlackBerry in September announced it would partner with auto supplier Delphi Automotive Plc on a software operating system for self-driving cars.

Earlier this month BlackBerry and Chinese internet search firm Baidu signed a deal to jointly develop self-driving vehicle technology.

BlackBerry has signed automotive-related deals with chipmaker Qualcomm, auto supplier Denso and Ford.

Courtesy-Fud

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