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MediaTek Devops New Chip For 4K TVs

January 18, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

MediaTek has been showing off its MT5598 chipset for HDR-enabled 4K TVs.

The MT5598 is a high-spec UltraHD SmartTV platform. It supports lots of different entry-to-enthusiast HDR technologies, and allows 4K TV manufacturers the flexibility to pair it with a range of LCD panels, backlight combinations, licensed or free technologies and localized content standards. These standards cover UltraHD Blu-ray and streaming services from Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, VuDu, VQQ, Voole, iQIY and YouKu.

Media Tek claims that its MT5598 brings MediaTek AI enhancements that enable voice control, plus audience, environmental and content awareness to SmartTV’s. These can collectively enhance the user experience by providing a tailored, real-time reaction in picture quality, channel selection and more based on who, how and what is being watched.

MediaTek General Manager of Home Display and Custom IC Business Unit Evan Su said that for 20 years, MediaTek has been a market leader in developing innovative chipsets for home entertainment products and devices.

“Our newest SmartTV chipset will bring the most advanced online streaming standards and superior picture quality into homes around the world.”

In addition to HDR-enabled content, MT5598 has its own HDR dynamic range remapping engine. It provides HDR post-processing enhancement to SDR content on HDR-capable displays, re-imbuing color, saturation and the dynamic range of brightness that is lost in SDR content. Combined with its 13th generation Picture Quality Engine, the MediaTek Super Resolution System (SRS) selectively enhances fine details without artifacting, sharpens edges and provides 4K Motion Estimation and Motion Compensation (MEMC).

Courtesy-Fud

Google Pulls Nearly 60 Apps With Pornographic Malware

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Google yanked nearly 60 apps that contained hidden pornographic malware from its Play Store after a security research company found the code. Many of the games were aimed at kids.

Researchers at Check Point Software Technologies reported the malware last week. Dubbed AdultSwine, the malware displayed pornographic images that looked like ads but were designed to prompt users to download fake security software. The users were then encouraged to click on other links they would have to pay for.

Google moved immediately to kick the apps off of Google Play.

“We’ve removed the apps from Play, disabled the developers’ accounts, and will continue to show strong warnings to anyone that has installed them,” Google said in an emailed statement. “We appreciate Check Point’s work to help keep users safe.” Google added that the issue doesn’t exploit vulnerabilities in its Android security, and that users’ devices weren’t affected.

The affected apps have so far been downloaded between 3 million and 7 million times, the researchers said, citing Google Play data.

Along with encouraging users to download scareware and pay for premium services, AdultSwine also stole credentials, according to Check Point.

It did this by contacting the developers’ Command and Control server once the app was downloaded, sending data about the infected device and receiving instructions on what to do next. The instructions include displaying the bogus ads, scaring users to install fake security apps and charging victims for services they didn’t request or receive.

It might, for example, show an ad saying “the user is entitled to win an iPhone by simply answering four short questions,” Check Point explained. “Should the user answer them, the malicious code informs the user that he has been successful, and asks him to enter his phone number to receive the prize. Once entered, the malicious code then uses this number to register to premium services.

Affected apps include Five Nights Survival Craft, with between 1 million and 5 million downloads, and Mcqueen Car Racing Game, which has been downloaded at least 500,000 times. A full list of apps can be found here.

AMD Going 7nm With Vega

January 16, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Lisa Su has announced Vega 7nm as a machine learning “instinct part” first. AMD is quite clear that this is for machine learning first and don’t want to comment on our curiosity whether Vega 7nm can make it to the market as a gaming product soon.

Radeon Instinct Vega 7nm sounds like a shrink down of Vega architecture, a much safer approach than the new architecture Navi in 7nm. It is simply safer to shrink the existing architecture, such as Vega from 14nm to 7nm, than to jump to a new manufacturing process and a new architecture.

AMD calls this new product the Radeon Instinct Vega 7nm and this is a direct successor to the Radeon Instinct MI25. Of course, this card addresses machine learning, a market that is currently dominated by Nvidia Volta parts, but, at the same time, AMD is not charging an arm and leg for its products either.

Nvidia’s Volta is a 12nm part, while Vega at 7nm is likely to bring higher clocks, better performance and some optimizations on the architecture side.

7nm in 2018 won’t be easy

AMD states that 7nm Radeon Vega Architecture has been built for machine learning, which might imply that there will be some significant architecture optimizations for machine learning.

Lisa Su said that AMD has a production level machine learning software stack. It is questionable how much impact AMD made with its Instinct products as the industry massively follows the  Nvidia Cuda based solution, but we will be following the latest developments.

Late 2018 would be when we would expect any kind of 7nm, but we won’t go into details about this right now.

Courtesy-Fud

Will AMD Launch The Ryzen 2000 This Quarter

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

According to a report coming from Japan, AMD’s Ryzen 2000-series (Ryzen 2) processors, may launch in March, alongside its new motherboard chipsets, the X470 and the B450.

According to Hermitage Akihabara, retailers in Japan are gearing up for the Ryzen 2 launch in March this year, which should bring decent performance improvements thanks to an optical shrink.

According to an earlier roadmap leak, Pinnacle Ridge can be considered as the “tick” in AMD’s CPU lineup as it will be based on the same Summit Ridge architecture or Zen+ cores, which should bring slight IPC improvement, mostly thanks to the 12nm LP manufacturing process.

It is most likely that AMD will be able to squeeze higher clocks and better power efficiency, and some rumors also suggested higher memory frequency support.

As noted, the new Ryzen 2000 series chips will be paired up with the new 400 series chipset, including the X470 and B450-based motherboards. While these will be based on the same AM4 socket, it is still not clear if the 300-series chipset motherboards will be supporting the new Ryzen 2000 series CPUs.

Hopefully, more information will surface as soon as CES 2018 show kicks off next week.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Starts Mass Producing 10nm DDR4

January 11, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Samsung confirmed that it has started mass production of second generation 10-nanometer class, 8-gigabit (Gb) DDR4 DRAM.

Samsung claims that the new 8Gb DDR4 will offer the highest performance and energy efficiency for a DRAM chip.

Samsung Electronics’ president of Memory Business, Gyoyoung Jin, said in a statement: “By developing innovative technologies in DRAM circuit design and process, we have broken through what has been a major barrier for DRAM scalability. Through a rapid ramp-up of the second-generation 10nm-class DRAM, we will expand our overall 10nm-class DRAM production more aggressively, in order to accommodate strong market demand and continue to strengthen our business competitiveness.”

The fresh 10nm-class 8Gb DDR4 claims to be not only 30 percent more productive over the firm’s first-generation 10nm-class 8Gb DDR4, but boasts 10 percent better performance levels and 15 percent better energy efficiency. This, Samsung claims, is thanks to the use of an advanced, proprietary circuit design technology.

“The new [chip] can operate at 3,600 megabits per second (Mbps) per pin, compared to 3,200 Mbps of the company’s 1x-nm 8Gb DDR4”, the company said.

“To enable these achievements, [we have] applied new technologies, without the use of an EUV process. The innovation here includes use of a high-sensitivity cell data sensing system and a progressive ‘air spacer’ scheme.”

This newly devised data sensing system can be found in the cells of the new DRAM chip enabling “a more accurate determination” of the data stored in each cell, which apparently leads to a considerable increase in the level of circuit integration and manufacturing productivity.

The new 10nm class DRAM uses an air spacer that has been placed around its bit lines to decrease parasitic capacitance.

Samsung said that using the air spacer facilitates not only a higher level of scaling, but also rapid cell operation, advances that the firm plans to use in future chip developments and to accelerate faster introductions of next-generation DRAM chips and systems, including DDR5, HBM3, LPDDR5 and GDDR6.

These would be used in enterprise servers, mobile devices, supercomputers, HPC systems and high speed graphics cards, the firm said.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Looks To Expand Digital Whiteboard

January 10, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung debuted its take on the collaborative digital whiteboard at CES, launching its Flip display.

Digital whiteboards are getting a lot of attention from a number of large vendors, including Google, Microsoft and Cisco. All aim to replace traditional flip charts and whiteboards with touchscreen-enabled hardware designed to ease collaboration during meetings and brainstorming sessions.

Up to four different participants can interact with a Flip whiteboard at the same time, using either their fingers or a stylus to create or annotate content. Designed for use in meeting rooms, the 55-in. 4K display can switch from portrait to landscape orientation depending on company needs. It includes USB ports to enable connection to PCs and mobile devices, as well as wireless connectivity.

An integrated screen-sharing capability allows Flip content to be viewed directly from PCs and mobile devices, which would be useful for remote workers, in particular. Flip runs the Tizen operating system used in a variety of Samsung products, including its smart TVs, and contains 8GB of internal storage.

Samsung set the retail price for the Flip at $2,699; rival digital whiteboards are more expensive. Google’s Jamboard for G Suite, released last year, retailed for $4,999 at launch, while Microsoft’s SurfaceHub costs $8,999 for the 55-in. version.

However, those devices offer integration with each company’s respective business software suite, providing them with an advantage over Samsung’s Flip. Meanwhile, Cisco’s Spark Board integrates with its Spark collaboration software and supports video conferencing.

“The meeting room has become the new battleground for business communications and collaboration,” said 451 Research senior analyst Raul Castañon-Martinez. “Samsung Flip will face tough competition from Google and Microsoft. These players have an advantage with their business and productivity suites, which they integrate into their respective whiteboard products.”

He noted that Google and Microsoft are strong contenders as software providers while Samsung is already present in meeting spaces, thanks to its PBX phone systems and smartphones.

Competing with other feature-rich products is just one hurdle for those offering digital whiteboards, said Larry Cannell, research director at Gartner. Digital whiteboards have been around in some form for years and vendors have yet to convince substantial numbers of users to swap tried-and-trusted tools for digital alternatives.

“The challenge with these products isn’t necessarily integration with back-end software,” said Cannell. “Rather, they are still competing with in-room physical whiteboards and large sticky flipcharts.

“From my experience, most digital whiteboards have ended up being most used as fancy digital projectors,” he said.

Despite the launch of new hardware by some major vendors in the past year, customer demand is “still building momentum,” Castañon-Martinez said. That is likely to change over the next year or two as hardware becomes increasingly integrated with collaboration and productivity software.

Microsoft Accelerates Latest Windows 10 Upgrade

January 9, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has rolled out 2017’s final Windows 10 feature upgrade to customers faster than it did the year’s first revision, according to data from a Windows app ad network.

Data from AdDuplex, a Lithuanian company whose technology is embedded in thousands of Windows apps, showed that October’s Fall Creators Update (FCU) had been installed on about 54% of all measured Windows 10 personal computers by Dec. 20.

Windows 10’s FCU, also known as version 1709 in Microsoft’s yymmnumeric format, launched Oct. 17. In the nine weeks from then until Dec. 20, AdDuplex reported, more than half – 53.6% to be exact – had upgraded to FCU from an earlier version.

Other editions still proliferated on customers’ PCs. The April feature upgrade, dubbed Creators Update and labeled 1703, powered 34%. Even older versions, including 2016’s only feature upgrade, the Anniversary Update (1607) and the soon-to-be-retired-from-support 1511, accounted for 11% and 1%, respectively.

The quick shift to FCU stood in contrast to the lethargic transition to Creators Update earlier in 2017. Eleven weeks after Creators Update’s April 5 debut, AdDuplex measured its share of all Windows 10 PCs at just 36%, barely more than a third. Its predecessor, the Anniversary Update, or 1607, continued to power the majority of Windows 10 PCs (59%) at the time.

Microsoft controls the pace of Windows 10 feature upgrades adoption, at least in the opening months after each release. While some users do actively seek out the upgrade to download and install, most wait for Microsoft to offer it to their PC, at which point the rest is usually automatic.

The Redmond, Wash. developer has been clear that it does not open the upgrade spigot all the way at the start. Instead, it provides each feature upgrade to an increasing number of PCs as time ticks by, beginning with the subset of the newest systems that theoretically should have the fewest problems installing the code. The staged-release model – while not new, not even Microsoft’s invention – lets developers gauge installation success, correct any problems, and then continue the rolling release.

That the FCU was handed to customers faster than its predecessor could be explained several ways.

After five releases, Microsoft may have found its legs, able finally to get a majority of its Windows 10 users onto a feature upgrade in little more than two months, and thus prove that it can execute its rapid development and release strategy. Or the FCU was simply in better shape at launch than the spring’s Creators Update; the contrasting timelines reflected the better-quality FCU.

Security Researcher Discover Old Mac OS Zero-Day Flaw

January 5, 2018 by  
Filed under Computing

Apple’s bad luck seems to be continuing into 2018, with a researcher uncovering a previously-undiscovered macOS flaw that’s thought to be around 15-years-old. 

While the flaw isn’t hugely devastating, it shows how companies like Apple fail to identify and fix security problems. Wccftech, which broke the story, described it as “sloppy”.

The researcher, who goes by the name of ‘Hobbyist Hacker’, claims that cyber crooks can tap into the flaw to get access to macOS systems, execute arbitrary code and gain root permissions.

Described as a local privilege escalation (LPE) vulnerability, it affects an extension of MacOS called IOHIDFamily. Hackers are able to deploy a “root shell”.

That’s not all, though. Crooks can also use the vulnerability to target the System Integrity Protection (SIP) and Apple Mobile File Integrity (AMFI) security programmes.

For the exploit to be a success, attackers have to log users out of the system. And by that point, it’s likely most people will have become alarmed.

There is a sneaky side of the vulnerability, though. To avoid detection, attackers can target the exploit when users shut down or restart their computers.

The researcher explained: “Needs to be running on the host already (nothing remote), achieves full system compromise by itself, but logs you out in the process.

“Can wait for logout though and is fast enough to run on shutdown/reboot until 10.13.1. On 10.13.2 it takes a fair bit longer (maybe half a minute) after logging out, so if your OS logs you out unexpectedly… maybe pull the plug?”

Luckily, the vulnerability doesn’t affect other Apple products, including iOS. The company has yet to comment on the situation, and you can find more details here.

Courtesy-TheInq

WhatsApp End Support For Windows, BlackBerry Phones

January 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

Messaging platform WhatsApp has discontinued support for older phone operating systems including Windows Phone 8, BlackBerry OS and BlackBerry 10.

“These platforms don’t offer the kind of capabilities we need to expand our app’s features in the future,” the company said in a support note. “If you use one of these affected mobile devices, we recommend upgrading to a newer OS version, or to a newer Android running OS 4.0+, iPhone running iOS 7+, or Windows Phone 8.1+ so that you can continue using WhatsApp.”

The move is a testament to BlackBerry and Microsoft’s inability to make much of an impact in today’s smartphone market. China-based TCL took over the BlackBerry brand in 2016, and Microsoft has largely stepped out of the market.

WhatsApp says it’s not possible to transfer chat history between platforms, but you can attach your chat history to an email.

The company informed users of the decision to stop supporting certain systems back in February 2016.

 

Google Drops The Pixel C

January 4, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Google has finally given up on its Pixel C flagship tablet.

Google started flogging the Pixel C about two years ago, but it was not exactly committed to the market. The world had mostly woken up to the fact that keyboardless netbooks were not going to be the cure for cancer that Steve Jobs claimed they were.

The Tame Apple Press was hard on the Pixel C, mostly because it was rather good, and it had a high price – something which the iPad already claimed for its own.  The Pixel had been originally designed to run Chrome OS, but Google couldn’t get it to go on time. So, the Pixel C became an Android slate, and it has been selling continuously since late 2015.

Google stopped selling the 32GB Pixel C, but the 64GB flavour was around for $599. There’s no new tablet to replace it so it might indicate that Google’s interest in Android tablets is over and it is sticking to Chromebooks instead. After all, a netbook with a keyboard is always going to be better than a netbook without one.

Still, the Tame Apple Press is happy, as there is one less high-end tablet for Apple to have to compete with. In fact, many announcements of the news claim that it failed because it was too expensive, however it was nearly $100 cheaper than the equivalent iPad. 

Courtesy-Fud

Is HTC Preparing To Exit The Smartphone Market

January 3, 2018 by  
Filed under Mobile

The rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that HTC is slowly pulling out of the smartphone business.

Deep throats are briefing Digitimes and claim that the Taiwanese company will be limiting the number of phones it will be releasing next year. While this might have something to do with the company’s ongoing smartphone market woes, it could also be a sign of HTC’s substantial loss of resources after Google acquired a significant number of employees from HTC’s mobile division.

HTC didn’t release that many smartphones in 2017. There were as few as six models this year, not counting variants or market specific models, with the U series being most of them.

If it launched two to four models next year, it could be attempting to mirror the launch strategies of smaller companies like OnePlus. However, that is being optimistic because reduced phone numbers are usually a sign that the writing is on the wall for any company’s smartphone empire.

We are not sure that HTC will care much. It has been long rumored to be mulling over selling its mobile business, leaving it free to focus on a more lucrative VR market. Most expected Google to be that buyer, but the two might have worked out a strategy that would lessen regulation requirements and government scrutiny.

There are two HTC phones expected for 2018, one even as early as January. That would be a mid-range variant of the HTC U11+. The timeline for the company’s next flagship –  the HTC U12, is still unknown.

Courtesy-Fud

Samsung Starts Producing 10nm 8Gb DDR4 DRAM

January 2, 2018 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Samsung is now mass producing what it is calling the “industry’s first” second-generation of 10-nanometer class, 8-gigabit (Gb) DDR4 DRAM.

Intended to power a wide range of next-generation computing systems, the new 8Gb DDR4 is said to feature the highest performance and energy efficiency for a DRAM chip of this calibre, as well as the smallest dimensions.

“By developing innovative technologies in DRAM circuit design and process, we have broken through what has been a major barrier for DRAM scalability,” said Samsung Electronics’ president of Memory Business, Gyoyoung Jin in a statement.

“Through a rapid ramp-up of the second-generation 10nm-class DRAM, we will expand our overall 10nm-class DRAM production more aggressively, in order to accommodate strong market demand and continue to strengthen our business competitiveness.”

The fresh 10nm-class 8Gb DDR4 claims to be not only 30 percent more productive over the firm’s 1st-generation 10nm-class 8Gb DDR4, but boast 10 percent better performance levels and 15 percent better energy efficiency. This, Samsung says, is thanks to the use of an advanced, proprietary circuit design technology.

“The new [chip] can operate at 3,600 megabits per second (Mbps) per pin, compared to 3,200 Mbps of the company’s 1x-nm 8Gb DDR4,” the company said. 

“To enable these achievements, [we have] applied new technologies, without the use of an EUV process. The innovation here includes use of a high-sensitivity cell data sensing system and a progressive ‘air spacer’ scheme.”

This newly devised data sensing system can be found in the cells of the new DRAM chip enabling “a more accurate determination” of the data stored in each cell, which apparently leads to a considerable increase in the level of circuit integration and manufacturing productivity.

The new 10nm-class DRAM is also said to make use of a unique air spacer that has been placed around its bit lines to decrease parasitic capacitance.  Samsung said that using the air spacer facilitates not only a higher level of scaling, but also rapid cell operation, advances that the firm plans to use in future chip developments and to accelerate faster introductions of next-generation DRAM chips and systems, including DDR5, HBM3, LPDDR5 and GDDR6.

These would be used in enterprise servers, mobile devices, supercomputers, HPC systems and high-speed graphics cards, the firm said.

Courtesy-TheInq

Apple Slows Down Older iPhones Over Battery Concerns

December 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

If you suspect your older iPhone is running slower, it’s not your imagination.

Apple on Wednesday said a software feature released last year makes your phone operate more slowly to offset problems with its aging lithium-ion battery. As batteries get older, they don’t hold their charges as well as newer batteries and can have worse problems when the charge is low or the temperature is cold.

The aging battery means your phone could have trouble operating or might unexpectedly shut down like happened to the iPhone 6 and 6S last year. The processors in those devices wanted to hit faster speeds, but their batteries couldn’t handle the demand, prompting some phones to simply switch themselves off.

To address that, Apple’s iOS software, starting with last year’s iOS 10.2.1, included better power management capabilities, the company says. The operating system slows down your device to prevent it from shutting down, Apple says, but only in cases of cold temperature, a low battery charge or very old batteries.

Last year’s software applied to the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus6S and 6S Plus and SE. This year’s iOS 11.2 extended the feature to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. It will be applied to other Apple devices in the future.

iPhone users have long complained their devices seem to slow down when new models are released. Some have said they believe it to be an effort by Apple (and other tech companies) to purposely hamper the performance in order to get users to buy new models. Apple has long denied this assertion.

For some people, the solution to a slower, older iPhone may be updating its battery instead of purchasing a brand new device. Apple charges $79 to replace the battery of an iPhone that’s no longer covered by a warranty.

Did Good Ditch Project Tango

December 22, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Search engine outfit Google has dealt a blow to those who want to see AR everywhere by pulling the plug on its Project Tango.

For those who came in late Project Tango, the company’s first attempt to bring a solid augmented-reality experience to the average user. It used an array of cameras and sensors to accurately map 3D areas.

While, the concept was not bad, the fact it needed so many camera caused the devices support Tango to be relatively large and expensive.

The first Tango device put into production was the “Peanut” phone, which was given to early access partners in 2014. This evolved into the “Yellowstone” 7-inch tablet, which was initially sold for $1,024 before a massive price drop to $512.

The only other devices with Project Tango were the Lenovo Phab2 Pro, which was a pretty pants phone in the first place. Then the ZenFone AR was released to a loud sounding yawn.

Google is working on a software-only solution called ARCore. Not only is ARCore like Tango in functionality, but it doesn’t require specialised hardware.

Courtesy-Fud

Will EPYC Help AMD Next Year

December 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD had a pretty good year this year, but that did not appear to do much for its share price which remained fairly static.

Wall Street thinks that its stock is risky because the outfit has low and fluctuating margins. However some analysts think that the launch of its EPYC line of server processors earlier this year to compete with Intel which has long dominated this market.

In fact word on the street is that the initial traction and reviews have been positive, and this could present AMD an opportunity to grab some share and give a boost to its valuation.

If the numbers pad out, AMD could add 25 per cent to its value by being more aggressive in the server market.

Forbes is predicting that of AMD gains a 10 percent share in the server processor market, it would imply a nearly 25% upside to its EPS, which would drive a similar upside to our price estimate assuming the valuation multiples remain constant.

It suggest that EPYC server processors could gain enough market share thanks to the lower cost, and simplification of the future development roadmap. EPYC performance per watt is attractive and the company has seen some good traction lately.

The prediction is that global server CPU shipments in 2019 to reach 26 million, meaning a 10 per cent market share gain will imply 2.6 million server CPUs shipped, This would mean incremental server revenue would be roughly $1.4 billion assuming average processor pricing of $550.

This would increase AMD’s EBITDA by around $250 million and lead to incremental earnings of about $160 million, or 17 cents per share. This, in turn, would imply a 25 percent jump in EPS in 2019, and even more upside in the long run, Forbes said.

Courtesy-Fud

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