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Apple Pulls The Plug On Thunderbolt Display

June 27, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple announced that is will discontinue its Thunderbolt Display, the high-resolution external display that users of the MacBook and other Macs could use to get a better picture and work with more apps.

The company said Thursday that the 27-inch widescreen display with LED backlight technology will be available on Apple’s online store, in Apple retail stores and from authorized resellers while supplies last.

The Thunderbolt Display currently retails on the Apple online store at $999. It has a 2560 x 1440 resolution.

It isn’t clear whether Apple plans to follow with newer versions that use 5K resolution displays at 5120 by 2880 pixels, which is the display technology Apple uses on its high-end iMac. There was speculation earlier that a new version would be announced at the company’s Worldwide Developers Conference this month.

An Apple spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Apple planned to offer a refresh to the display.

Apple said in an emailed statement that “there are a number of great third-party options available for Mac users.”

 

 

Apple Begins Testing Of Safari 10 Browser

June 27, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple has begun testing Safari 10 with developers running the 2014 and 2015 editions of macOS, gearing up for a fall release of the updated browser to users of Yosemite and El Capitan.

Safari 10 was introduced earlier this month as part of macOS Sierra, this year’s operating system upgrade.

Apple typically supports its newest browser on three editions of macOS: The latest version and its two predecessors. The now-current Safari 9, for example, receives updates, including security patches, on last year’s El Capitan, 2014′s Yosemite and 2013′s Mavericks.

Safari 10 will be supported on Sierra, El Capitan and Yosemite. Meanwhile, Mavericks will remain on Safari 9.

The Safari 10 preview is currently available only to registered Apple developers, who pay $99 annually for access to early builds, development tools and documentation.

The general public will get its first look at Safari 10 next month after Apple opens up its broader-based public beta program for Sierra. Those who have signed on to the beta preview will also be able to download preliminary versions of Safari 10 for El Capitan and Yosemite, running the preview browser but sticking with their older, more stable operating systems.

Some of Safari 10′s signature features will be available only within macOS Sierra, including web-based Apple Pay — where payment is authorized with an iPhone or Apple Watch — but others will be supported by older versions of the operating system. Among the most notable are the new ability for developers to distribute and sell Safari add-ons in the Mac App Store, and easy portability of iOS content blockers to macOS.

If Apple replicates last year’s beta schedule, it will release the first public preview of macOS Sierra and Safari 10 around July 14.

 

 

AMD Goes 32 Cores Zeplin

June 27, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

A few months back Nick wrote about AMD Zen processor  found in a Linux Kernel Mailing List confirming that Zeppelin had  support for eight bundles of four cores on a single chip, or 32 physical processing cores.

This tied in with a story written in August of 2015 about a MCM Multi Chip module that featured a Zeppelin core, a super-fast 100GB/s interconnection via 4 GMI links and Greenland (Vega) high performance GPU with 4+ TFlops of performance. This APU will still happen, it will just be a bit later – the end of 2017.

Now we have a few more details about Zeppelin cluster and this is proving to be another “Fudzilla told you so” moment.  Apparently you can put up to four Zeppelin CPU clusters on a one chip and make a 32 core chip. This will be connected via coherent interconnect (coherent data fabric).

Each Zeppelin module has eight Zen cores and each Zen core has 512 KB of L2 cache. Four Zen cores share 8MB or L3 cache making the total amount of L3 cache per Zeppelin cluster 16 MB.

Each Zeppelin cluster will have PCIe Gen 3, SATA 3, and a 10GbE network connection. A server version of the chip has the server controller hub, DDR4 memory controller and AMD secure processors.

AMD will have at least three pin compatible versions of the next generation Opteron using Zeppelin cluster of Zen cores. There will be a 8 core versions with single Zeppelin cluster, dual Zeppelin cluster version and a quad Zeppelin version, that one that we have called Naples which will have 64MB L3 cache. All this sounds rather a lot.

We are expecting to see Zen-based Opterons in eight, sixteen and thirty two core versions for servers in 2017.

Courtesy-Fud

 

BlackBerry Says Device Business Is Top Priority

June 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd’s top priority this year is to make its devices business turn a profit, its chief executive said, even as it weighs the future of its hardware operation.

“The device business must be profitable, because we don’t want to run a business that drags onto the bottom line,” Chief Executive John Chen told investors at the company’s annual meeting. “We’ve got to get there this year.”

Chen has previously said a decision would be made by September on the future of the unit, which has suffered a sustained drop in sales in recent quarters.

But at the meeting, attended by around 100 people, he said he sees better opportunity in providing services that enable increasingly commoditized hardware to do more.

“I don’t personally believe handsets will be the future of any company,” he said.

BlackBerry, once the smartphone market leader before being displaced by Apple Inc and competitors run on Alphabet Inc’s Android platform, has worked to reposition itself as a software and service provider focused on device management for large organizations.

In its presentation to investors, the company said it expects the broader market for types of software it is producing to expand to $17.6 billion by 2019, from $525 million in 2012 and below $4 billion in 2015, powered by growth in medical, legal, financial and automotive industries.

But some of those in attendance were skeptical about BlackBerry’s ability to deliver on its strategic pivot.

“The first word that comes to mind is lackluster,” said one shareholder at the meeting who declined to give his name. “Time is running out.”

Chen reiterated that BlackBerry wants to grow its software revenue by 30 percent in this fiscal year, which he estimated would be double overall market growth, and to notch positive free cash flow.

BlackBerry is due to report first quarter results on Thursday.

Chen took up the CEO role in 2013 with a reputation as a turnaround artist. But the company’s stock has only risen modestly since then, with many investors waiting for signs the now-smaller company will be able to carve out new opportunities.

“I appreciate the strategy,” said Ken Tota, an investor in BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. He said he was optimistic a renewed focus on security could help reinvigorate BlackBerry over the next five years.

“It’s a niche, but it’s a worldwide niche,” he said.

 

 

Twitter Moves Further Into Video With New ‘Watch Mode’ Feature

June 23, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter is looking to compete even more with Facebook. The platform is moving into video in a major way with 140-second clips in both Twitter proper and Vine, a new video section called Watch Mode, and video recommendations for other videos to watch. The network’s most popular users, like President Barack Obama and Justin Bieber, are getting a stand-alone app called Engage, which sounds a lot like Facebook Mentions.

Twitter is making video a huge priority by extending video length from 30 seconds to 140 seconds (staying on-brand, of course). Those longer videos are also coming to Vine, but don’t worry, the popular app for creating hilarious video loops isn’t changing its 6-second limit. Instead, you can post 140-second clips alongside your Vines.

You won’t have to watch these longer videos in-tweet. Now tapping on a video in your timeline will launch a new full-screen viewing mode with recommended clips surfaced just below. The same experience applies to longer videos on Vine.

The new features are rolling out soon on Twitter for iOS and Android.

Twitter Engage launched Tuesday on iOS to help video creators and other important people see metrics on their clips, including likes, retweets, mentions, and views. They can also see demographics for their videos and a feed of what their fans are talking about.

Unlike Facebook Mentions, Engage isn’t solely aimed at celebrities. But the two apps are similar in that they show mentions from so-called “influencers” and filter comments from fans.

Twitter has to try new things, especially since its user growth has stalled at 310 million monthly active users and Wall Street isn’t happy about it. To compare, Instagram just announced it has more than 500 million monthly active users, 300 million of whom check the app on a daily basis.

 

 

 

 

IBM Funds Researchers Who Create KiloCore Processor

June 22, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Researchers at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed 1000-core processor which will eventually be put onto the commercial market.

The team, from t developed the energy-efficient 621 million transistor “KiloCore” chip so that it could manage 1.78 trillion instructions per second and since the project has IBM’s backing it could end up in the shops soon.

Team leader Bevan Baas, professor of electrical and computer engineering said that it could be the world’s first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university.

While other multiple-processor chips have been created, none exceed about 300 processors. Most of those were created for research purposes and few are sold commercially. IBM, using its 32 nm CMOS technology, fabricated the KiloCore chip and could make a production run if required.

Because each processor is independently clocked, it can shut itself down to further save energy when not needed, said graduate student Brent Bohnenstiehl, who developed the principal architecture. Cores operate at an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 GHz, and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data.

The 1,000 processors can execute 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating only 0.7 Watts which mean it can be powered by a single AA battery. The KiloCore chip executes instructions more than 100 times more efficiently than a modern laptop processor.

The processor is already adapted for wireless coding/decoding, video processing, encryption, and others involving large amounts of parallel data such as scientific data applications and datacentre work.

Courtesy-Fud

 

UberEATS Launches In London

June 17, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Ride-hailing company Uber debuted its meal delivery service app UberEATS in London on Thursday, the second European city where users will be able to order food to their home, entering a burgeoning British market.

The service, which is currently available in 17 cities around the world including Paris, will compete with rivals such as Deliveroo and Just Eat, which have advertised heavily in the capital in recent months.

Britons will be able to download the app on their iPhone or Android handset from midday on Thursday and order meals from restaurants which will be delivered by Uber drivers.

Deliveries will be made to customers in central London from over 150 eateries between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. with plans to expand further away from the center in the coming weeks.

Uber has faced months of protests from drivers of the capital’s long-dominant black cabs but earlier this year transport bosses rejected options which could have imposed strict new restrictions on how it operates.

 

AMD Touts Zen

June 17, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD has released a short video where its lead system engineer Louis Castro running Doom on its Summit Ridge, Zen-based processor.

This means that the silicon is in good shape and the processor was taped our probably late last year with no major issues. AMD’s CEO Lisa Su has already said that the desktop version shall arrive first, and this was the CPU demonstrated in the video.

Summit Ridge is not an APU and doesn’t have a GPU core. AMD engineers were using a discreet GPU probably from one they found out the back.

The Summit Ridge is an FM4 socket processor and half dozen of them are shown in the video.

 

Courtesy-Fud

 

Will AMD’s Naples Processor Have 32 Cores?

June 16, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

AMD’s Zen chip will have as much as 32 cores, 64 threads and more L3 cache than you can poke a stick at.

Codenamed Naples, the chip uses the Zen architecture. Each Zen core has its own dedicated 512kb cache. A cluster [shurely that should be cloister.ed] of Zen cores shares a 8MB L3 cache which makes the total amount of L3 shared cache 64MB. This is a big chip and of course there will be a 16 core variant.

This will be a 14nm FinFET product manufactured in GlobalFoundries and supporting the X86 instruction set. Naples has eight independent memory channels and up to 128 lanes of gen 3 PCIe.  This makes it suitable for fast NVMO memory controllers and drives. Naples also support up to 32 SATA or NVME drives.

If you like the fast network interface, Naples supports 16x10GbE and the controller is integrated, probably in the chipset. Naples is using SP3 LGA server socket.

The first Zen based server / enterprise products will range between a modest 35W TDP to a maximum of 180W TDP for the fastest ones.

There will be dual, quad, sixteen and thirty-two core server versions of Zen, arriving at different times. Most of them will launch in 2017 with a possibility of very late 2016 introduction.

It is another one of those Fudzilla told you so moments. We have already revealed a few Zen based products last year. The Zen chip with Greenland / Vega HBM2 powered GPU with HSA support will come too, but much later.

Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO  told Fudzilla that the desktop version will come first, followed by server, notebook and finally embedded. If that 40 percent IPC happens to be across more than just a single task, AMD has a chance of giving Intel a run for its money.

 

Courtesy-Fud

 

Has The Bubble Busted For Smartphones?

June 13, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Uncategorized

After sliding its slide-rules, flicking its abacus, and counting its toes, the bean counters at Gartner have decided that the smartphone business bubble has burst splattering in the face of those who depend on it.

Big G says the market will shrink from 14.4 per cent growth in 2015 to just 7 per cent in 2016 — with only 1.5 billion smartphone units being shipped globally this year. Compair this with 2010, when Gartner notes the market grew 73 per cent.

However the signs have been obvious for about a year. Mature Western markets saturated, China’s growth engine slowing as demand has topped out and other markets unable to afford the higher margin gear. The smartphone has come to the end of its ability to provide new technology too with companies only able to offer incremental upgrades. Carriers are moving away from subsidizing upgrades which means that them wasting their own profits to prop up the likes of Apple are over.

In emerging markets it says the average lifetime of premium phone is between 2.2 and 2.5 years, while basic mobiles have an average lifetime of three years and up.

Gartner sees the biggest remaining opportunity for smartphone growth in India, noting that sales of feature phones — aka dumbphones — accounted for a majority (61 per cent) of total mobile device sales last year, leaving plenty of scope for upgrades as smartphones continue to become more affordable.

It is estimating 139 million smartphones will be sold in India this year, growing 29.5 per cent year-over-year. It notes the average selling price of mobiles in the country remains below $70, and it expects smartphones priced under $120 to continue to contribute around half of overall smartphones sales there this year.  Apple’s hope that it can save its flailing business numbers by selling into India show the complete lack of understanding of how that market is working. It is tending to favor small local smartphone makers like Intex.

China is going to offer Apple no help either Gartner is expecting “little growth” in the region in the next five years. IT says it is “saturated yet highly competitive” market. Smartphones represented 95 per cent of total mobile phones sales last year.

Gartner analyst Annette Zimmerman said that “non-traditional” vendors in China could do well and thinks that by 2018 at least one such phone maker will be among the top five smartphone brands in the country.

“Chinese internet companies are increasingly investing in mobile device hardware development, platforms and distribution as they aim to grow their user bases and increase user loyalty and engagement,” she said.

The Sub-Saharan African region is also couched as an attractive region for smartphone vendors, with smartphone sales only overtaking mobile phones sales there for the first time last year. Nokia brand licensee and newly formed smartphone OEM HMD will want to take note, given it has paid for the right to build feature phones (and smartphones) bearing the previously iconic Nokia brand name.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Apple Rolls Out A Revamped App Store

June 10, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple Inc announced a series of long anticipated enhancements to its App Store, but the new features may not ease concerns of developers and analysts who say that the App Store model – and the very idea of the single-purpose app – has seen its best days.

The revamped App Store will let developers advertise their wares in search results and give developers a bigger cut of revenues on subscription apps, while Apple said it has already dramatically sped up its app-approval process.

The goal is to sustain the virtuous cycle at the heart of the hugely lucrative iPhone business. Software developers make apps for the iPhone because its customers are willing to pay, and those customers, in turn, pay a premium for the device because it has the best apps.

The store is now more strategically important than ever for Apple as sales of the iPhone begin to level off and the company looks to software and services to fill the gap. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on a recent conference call that App Store revenues were up 35 percent over last year.

But the store is also a victim of its own success. Eight years after its launch, it is packed with more than 1.9 million apps, according to analytics firm App Annie, making it almost impossible for developers to find an audience – and increasingly difficult for customers to find what they need, as some 14,000 new apps arrive in the store each week.

“The app space has grown out of control,” said Vint Cerf, one of the inventors of the internet and now a vice president at Alphabet Inc’s Google, who was speaking at a San Francisco conference on the future of the web on Wednesday. “We need to move away from having an individual app for every individual thing you want to do.”

 

 

The IoT Move Appears To Be Short On Security

June 8, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The IOActive IoT Security Survey has shone a light on the shoddy side of connected devices and warned that all those things you’ve welcomed into your home will let you down at some point.

They are vulnerable because they connect to things, and anything that can be connected can also be interrupted and interfered with.

The one in 10 number comes from a panel of senior security professionals interviewed by IOActive about the rise of the IoT. These people are concerned that security is lacking in everything from wearables to household appliances.

Half of respondents believe that under 10 per cent of IoT products offer adequate ass coverage, while a staggering 85 per cent believe that less than half of products are secure.

Around two thirds felt that the security was probably better than you get on other products, but we don’t care about them right now.

“Consensus is that more needs to be done to improve the security of all products, but the exponential rate at which IoT products are coming to market, compounded by the expansive risk network created by their often open connectivity, makes IoT security a particular concern and priority,” said Jennifer Steffens, chief executive of IOActive.

“According to Gartner, 21 billion connected things will be in use by 2020. It’s important for the companies that develop these products to ensure security is built in. Otherwise hackers are provided with opportunities to break into not only the products, but potentially other systems and devices they’re connected to.”

The problem is that security is not considered early enough in the design process so it has to be dealt with later, or presumably not at all. Steffens explained that a security stitch in time saves nine.

“Companies often rush development to get products to market in order to gain competitive edge, and then try to engineer security in after the fact,” she said.

“This ultimately drives up costs and creates more risk than including security at the start of the development lifecycle.”

 

 

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Can MediaTek Win In The Car Space?

June 7, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek’s R&D teams are working with European-based car vendors to develop the company’s automotive electronics and virtual reality (VR) offerings.

Digitimes claims that having developed SoCs for smartphones, mobile devices, and connected home appliances, MediaTek is stepping up development of chips solutions for auto electronics and VR applications.

MediaTek is focused on in-car entertainment systems, and will be using its partnership with China-based NavInfo, a digital mapping service provider to help out.

NavInfo will sell subsidiary AutoChips (Hefei) and will also form a strategic alliance in which MediaTek will make an investment of US$100 million.
MediaTek will be developing VR for handsets and will support Google’s Daydream VR platform.

Meanwhile the team is flat out improving its IC solutions for Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable device applications. It is pretty sure that this will become the third largest segment after mobile devices and connected home appliances such as digital TVs. In fact the only two areas that MediaTek does not appear interested in is server and augmented reality (AR) applications.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Are Facebook Games All Over?

June 3, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Not so long ago it was impossible to check up on your ex without getting a Farmville invite, but since then it seems that gaming has moved away from Facebook and onto mobile phones. Speak to the Facebook games team though, and they’ll tell you that Facebook is a bigger part of the gaming industry than ever.

“To answer the broad question of ‘Where is Facebook Games today?’ the right answer is today we’re everywhere. When I say we’re everywhere what I mean is we work with developers on just about any system that they’re on. They’re on mobile devices, PCs, desktops, Macs, whatever it’s going to be, consoles as well,” says director of global games partnerships Leo Olebe, a gaming veteran who’s worked in marketing for BioWare, Kabam, Zynga and more.

“We have a very strong and overall healthy gaming business. There’s a lot of people that are participating in the Facebook Games ecosystem as a whole and we’re just really passionate about making sure that people have the power to share the stuff that they love.”

He points particularly to Facebook’s recent work with Riot and League Of Legends and the simple ability to log into your PlayStation 4 with Facebook and share screenshots and video directly to your Facebook news feed.

League Of Legends saw 4 million players connect their League of Legends account to their Facebook accounts, which resulted in 15 million new friend connections.

“Yes, we have a really incredible and thriving developer and publisher community that’s on Facebook, people playing all sorts of games from Candy Crush to social casino games but then also participating through the rest of the ecosystem as well,” Olebe says.

Facebook also shared some stats with GamesIndustry.biz: over 550 million people play games that are connected with Facebook every month on desktop, mobile and console and more than 30 million people have connected their Facebook account to either PSN or Xbox Live. Of course, Facebook is also the owner of virtual reality pioneers, Oculus VR.

With Facebook Games Arcade, the company is looking at finding new ways for people to discover and access games when they’re using Facebook on desktops. The company pointed out that users currently can choose from over 500 games including Clash of Kings, Family Guy: The Quest for Stuff and Angry Birds Friends to name but a few.

On the development side, it says developers earned over $2.5 billion on Facebook’s web platform in 2015 and 15 per cent of time spent on Facebook.com is gaming.

“What we’ve done is we’ve become even more sophisticated about how to really think about the 1.6 billion people that are on Facebook. What I mean by more sophisticated is we’ve developed a whole suite of products that developers can use to really understand the people who are playing their games and loving their games. Whether that’s Facebook Login and friend finding, analytics, sharing products, a lot of people use our mobile app install ads to do user acquisition, [so] we have audience network tools,” explains Olebe.

“The most sophisticated publishers and developers out there truly understand that Facebook is a global platform”

“There’s no one thing that everybody has to use but there’s a lot of different things that are valuable to different publishers and different developers in different ways so we really wanted to adapt all our platform products to be flexible as their businesses change as well.”

Calvin Grunewald, engineering manager for games at Facebook elaborates:

“One of the goals from an engineering team perspective is that we want to let game developers build, grow and monetize their apps,” he says.

“It’s a really cool time to be a developer and it’s a really cool time to be working in the platform business just because you get to facilitate social connections on all of these platforms and developers are hungry for them.”

So with Facebook playing such a large role on console, PC and mobile what preconceptions do people still have about Facebook and games that are just downright wrong?

“If anything I think it’s that people still have this idea that Facebook’s place in the global games industry and business is somehow limited to games that you play on the web,” says Olebe.

“The most sophisticated publishers and developers out there truly understand that Facebook is a global platform and assists not only with user acquisition but also heavily with sharing and engagement. We really operate everywhere that gamers are.

“There are misconceptions out there, but I think only because people have an old understanding of Facebook as social games on the web and haven’t spent as much time thinking about all the different avenues where we play.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

 

MediaTek To Spin-Off Virtual Reality Unit

May 26, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek is so confident about its VR plans it is going to spin off its VR division to form an independent company in June.

A recent Chinese-language Economic Daily News report claims that Mediatek wants the spun off business to drive VR sales. It all sounds pretty good but MediaTek have sort of denied the rerport.

Well we say sort of denied it. What it has told the Taiwan Stock Exchange  that it was not the report’s source, which is not quite the same thing.The spin off could go ahead, but MediaTek is denying that it told the EDN its cunning plans. But then again the EDN did not name its source either. Without a denial from the company we are none the wiser.

MediaTek’s VR unit was set up between end-2015 and early-2016 to focus on the development of the company’s VR solutions for handsets, the EDN thought.

Courtesy-Fud