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Is AMD Going To Rome

May 26, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has presented a long-term 7nm roadmap and the new codenames for the server products have an Italian theme.

The Zen-based server core, the product that will give a birth to the  Epyc line of data center / server products should debut next month with Naples. Naples is the first 32 core with 64 threads to launch, and this is a 14nm FinFET product. It is named after a city of very rude Italians who are sitting on a super volcano which will eventually explode and take most of southern Europe out with it.

Now Forrest Norrod, a SVP and General Manager of AMD’s enterprise, embedded and semi custom business group, has shared what will come after Zen and it appears the product names are keepting to the Italian theme.

The next in line is based on 7nm and is what the company internally calls Zen 2. Making the transistors smaller will let it put more transistors per square meter and give it a much better efficiency. In servers, it is all about the efficiency per square millimeter, or performance per watt metric.

The Zen 2 data center is codenamed Rome which is named after a city which worshipped a fire goddess and nicked most of its technology from the rest of Europe. Rome also invented exploding public toilets and Catholicism. 

GlobalFoundries said that 7nm risk production can start early next year, so we can expect to see the Zen 2 core at the end of 2018 at the earliest.

The Zen 3 based core is likely based on a 7nm+  process, whatever that might become. AMD’s client and data center group is in sync with its roadmap, at least partially. Both groups are planning to have Zen 2 and Zen 3 based products after they finally manage to ship Zen this year. AMD is using “Milan” as the codename for its Zen 3 product. It is named after a city which thinks it rules the whole of Italy. People from Milan also believe in putting blue cheese on pizzas, which makes them seen as barbarians by the rest of the country.

According to a Powerpoint deck, Milan is coming in its Blue Vein glory sometime before 2020. These time frames are not set in stone.

Forrest said that  a Zen based Epyc processor should be expected in 30+ 1S and 2S servers during 2017. 5000 Epyc CPUs are seeded with OEMs, end customers and partners and AMD is hoping that they will get to see the beauty of its Epyc platform and make some more designs.

Multiple Hypersacele providers have programs and evaluation for the Epyc processor,  hoping to score a good deal in the latter part of the year and beyond. AMD has confirmed that its Risorgimento should be on schedule to launch in June 2017. 

Courtesy-Fud

Apple Update Now Allows Mac Users To Install Windows 10 Creators Version

May 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Apple has updated macOS Sierra to version 10.12.5 with more than three dozen security patches, and a change that allows users install Microsoft’s latest version of Windows 10 on their Macs.

Sierra 10.12.5 “adds support for media-free installation of Windows 10 Creators Update using Boot Camp,” the update’s brief release notes read. Creators Update was the name Microsoft assigned to Windows 10 1703, the upgrade issued last month.

Boot Camp, which is baked into macOS, lets Mac owners run Windows on their machines. A Windows license is required. Boot Camp, while not virtualization software like VMware’s Fusion or Parallels International’s Parallels Desktop, serves the same purpose: Running Windows applications, including custom or mission-critical corporate software, on a Mac personal computer.

Previously, Mac users were forced onto a circuitous road to put Windows 10 Creators Update into Boot Camp. According to a Microsoft support document published before the upgrade was released, Mac owners first had to install an .iso of 2016’s Windows 10 Anniversary Update, aka 1607, to Boot Camp. Once 1607 was in place, they could then upgrade Windows 10 to 1703 from within Boot Camp.

Monday’s macOS update voids that workaround: Mac owners may instead directly install a disk image — in .iso format — of Windows 10 1703 into Boot Camp.

Sierra 10.12.5 also patched 37 vulnerabilities in macOS. Apple also released security updates for Sierra’s two predecessors, 2015’s macOS El Capitan and 2014’s macOS Yosemite.

Intel Kittson Really A Successor To The Itanium Line

May 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Intel has released the successors to the Itanium “Poulson” microprocessors and they are showing all the development and evolution of an Apple product.

The Itanium 9720, 9740, 9750 and 9760 CPUs are better known as “Kittson” and really are so similar to their predecessor you could not tell them apart.

In fact the only improvement in “Kittson” lineup is slightly increased operating frequency in two models.

The new range has four and eight CPU cores depending on SKU, up to 32 MB of last level cache, and 2 DDR3 memory controllers. They are clocked at up to 2.66 GHz, and support Hyper-Threading technology. Other supported features are Turbo Boost and Virtualization technologies.

They have shedloads of RAS features, such as machine check architecture with ECC and parity protection, Instruction Replay technology, hot add and removal.

Each on-chip memory controller supports two interconnects to Intel 7500 and 7510 Scalable Memory Buffers. The CPU works with DDR3-800 and DDR3-1066 memory. The Itanium 9720 is rated at 130 Watt TDP and the 9740, 9750 and 9760 SKUs have 170 Watt TDP.

Courtesy-Fud

Angry Birds Movie To Get A Sequel, Says Rovio Entertainment

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Finnish mobile games and animation studio Rovio Entertainment approved plans to proceed with a sequel to its Angry Birds movie, it said on Monday, aiming for release in September 2019.

The Angry Birds Movie 2 will be produced with Columbia Pictures and distributed by Sony Pictures, Rovio said.

The first Angry Birds movie, released last year, earned about $350 million at the box office and gave a boost to Rovio’s game sales, helping the company to swing to an annual profit after years of falling earnings, job cuts and divestments.

Rovio said the new movie will be directed by Thurop Van Orman, the creator of animated TV series “The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack”.

The original Angry Birds game — in which smartphone players use a slingshot to attack pigs who steal the birds’ eggs — became a phenomenon in 2009, but the franchise faltered in the following years amid tough competition.

Alongside the movie plan, Rovio is looking to reduce its dependence on Angry Birds — earlier this month it launched “Battle Bay”, the firm’s first multiplayer game which does not carry the Angry Birds name.

Will HTC Ever Return To Profitability

May 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

HTC, the original equipment manufacturer that designs its own mobile devices and Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, has announced net losses of $66.12 million for the first quarter of 2017. The company’s latest financials are the latest in a series – it’s had eight consecutive losses over the past two years.

Like many smartphone and VR headset manufacturing companies, HTC had hoped that 2017 would turn out to be a much better year than 2016. The Taiwanese company’s earnings report for Q1 2017 gives mixed results this quarter. Revenues were $NT14.5 billion ($480.2 million), which is down 33 percent from the NT$22.2 billion ($720.7 million) it posted in Q4 2016. However, losses of NT$2 billion ($66.2 million) aren’t as bad as the NT$3.09 billion ($102.4 million) it posted the previous quarter, or about 55 percent. These are also up from NT$2.61 billion ($86.5 million) in the previous year.

HTC plans to streamline operations, reduce operating losses

In Q1 2017, HTC says it continued to realign its organizational structure to help reduce overhead expenses by nearly 20 percent. This is similar to what Sprint has been doing since October 2015, when it announced a $2.5 billion cost cutting plan to streamline company operations. HTC’s gross margins climbed to 16.3 percent versus 10.45 percent in Q4 2016, and 9.36 percent year-over-year.

The company worked to lower its operating costs to $NT12.2 billion ($403 million) from NT$13.4 billion ($444.9 million) a year earlier. Given that the company has not turned a profit in over a year, the plan is to continue lowering operating costs to reduce its operating losses. HTC launched two smartphones in the first quarter – the HTC U Ultra and the HTC U Play – but only the first device is available in the US. Then there was a report in February stating the company plans to exit the entry-level smartphone business in 2017 as it begins to focus on “high-margin” and “high-profit” devices. The company has been notorious for announcing products at its own events that aren’t necessarily in line with usual CES and MWC unveils from manufacturers like Samsung, LG, Huawei, Motorola and others. While this strategy can work well in some circumstances, it only works when people are made aware of the announcements.

Opinion: HTC U 11, Pixel shipments may return profitability for second half of 2017

The company now wants to introduce an additional four to five high margin smartphone devices over the course of the next year, starting with the long-awaited HTC U 11 that will be announced on May 16th. The device’s flagship feature, Sense Touch, is a new concept that allows using the side frame as an input method. However, it is unclear whether the HTC U 11 will be available in the second or third quarter, and whether it will be available internationally.

Within six weeks of the HTC U Ultra’s release in the US, the company slashed its price from $749 down to $599 after reviewing outlets had a hard time recommending the device over similar Android Nougat counterparts. This move did not speak well of the device’s sales, though it has been able to make some profit from Google’s Pixel and Pixel XL sales since their October debut from much higher consumer demand. Google managed to sell an estimated 552,000 units before the end of 2016, and FierceWireless reported those devices accounting for 9.5 percent of smartphone sales at Verizon in January.

Google is not expected to announce refreshed Pixel devices until later this fall, but those sales will certainly aide HTC’s path to becoming a premium-focused smartphone brand and hopefully reduce its operating losses.

Courtesy-Fud

BlackBerry Focuses Resources On Anti-hacking Tools For Connected Cars

May 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

BlackBerry Ltd collaborating with at least two automakers to develop a security service that would remotely scan vehicles for computer viruses and advise drivers to pull over if they were in critical danger, according to a financial analyst.

The service, which would also be able to install security patches to an idle car, is being tested by luxury automakers Aston Martin and Range Rover, Macquarie analyst Gus Papageorgiou said in a note to clients sent late on Monday.

Auto security is among several areas that BlackBerry is betting will boost its revenue after the Canadian company lost its dominance of the smartphone market to Apple Inc and others over the past decade.

John Wall, the head of BlackBerry’s QNX division, and company spokeswoman Sarah McKinney both declined to comment.

Matthew Clarke, a spokesman for Aston Martin, said in an email he was not aware of the company testing such a product. Representatives with Range Rover’s parent company, Jaguar Land Rover, could not be reached for comment.

The service could be launched as early as next year, generating about $10 a month per vehicle for BlackBerry, according to Papageorgiou, who has followed BlackBerry for more than 15 years.

Vehicles increasingly rely on dozens of computers that connect to each other as well as the internet, mobile networks and Bluetooth communications systems that make them vulnerable to remote hacks.

“Although a connected, more software-centric automobile offers tremendous advantages to consumers, it also opens the doors to hackers,” Papageorgiou wrote in his note.

Automaker interest in cyber security has risen dramatically since 2015, when two hacking experts uncovered vulnerabilities in Fiat Chrysler vehicles that led to a U.S. recall of 1.4 million autos.

China Hit Hard By ‘WannaCry’ Ransomware

May 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

The WannaCry ransomware has infected tens of thousands of Windows PCs in China, where Windows XP runs one in five systems, according to local reports.

More than 23,000 IP addresses in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) show signs of infection, the country’s National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team/Coordination Center (CNCERT) told Xinhua, the state-run news agency, on Monday.

“Intranets in many industries and enterprises involving banking, education, electricity, energy, healthcare and transportation have been affected in different extents,” CNCERT said.

The Hong Kong-based Southern China Morning Post upped the ante in its report Monday, claiming that tens of thousands of businesses and organizations had been hit by the ransomware, which has been dubbed “WannaCry” by most security experts, “WannaCrypt” by a few outliers.

The China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), for example, took some 20,000 gas stations offline early Saturday, forcing customers to pay in cash as credit card purchases could not be processed. By mid-day Sunday, some 20% of the stations were still disconnected from the Internet, but efforts were continuing to restore payment options, the company said in a statement.

It shouldn’t have been a surprise that PCs in the PRC were hit hard by WannaCry: Although security experts have yet to identify the original infection vector, the ransomware spreads rapidly by exploiting Windows vulnerabilities in a baked-in file sharing protocol.

Microsoft patched the flaws in March when it issued MS17-010, one of its last-ever security bulletins. But because Microsoft only supports — patches, in other words — newer editions of its operating system, the 16-year-old Windows XP and the 5-year-old Windows 8 were not bolstered with the same fix.

China is at greater risk of attacks against unpatched Windows XP PCs than most countries because a larger percentage of the nation’s systems run the obsolete OS than the global average.

According to Baidu, the PRC’s largest search provider, 19% of all personal computers using its service last month were powered by Windows XP. That was almost double the share of Windows 10, but less than a third of the share of Windows 7.

Windows XP’s worldwide share was about 7% in April, said U.S. analytics vendor Net Applications earlier this month, about one-fourth the share of Windows 10 and a seventh the share of Windows 7.

Over the weekend, Microsoft issued security updates for Windows 8, Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP, which had had been banished from the patch list one, two and three years ago, respectively. “This decision was made based on an assessment of this situation, with the principle of protecting our customer ecosystem overall, firmly in mind,” Phillip Misner, a principal security group manager at the Microsoft Security Response Center (MSRM), said in a post to a company blog.

Will RISC-V Ever Be Utilized

May 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

The RISC-V open-source architecture, created by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, has been around since 2010.

Anyone can use it but so far no one has bothered, although there is some theoretical interest in the tech. The RISC-V Foundation, which manages and promotes the architecture, counts Google, Microsoft, Qualcomm, AMD, Huawei, and others among its 60 members.

The RISC-V design can be modified for PCs, servers, smartphones, wearables, and other devices.

Now a startup called SiFive is the first to make a business out of the RISC-V architecture.

They have converted the RISC-V instruction set architecture into actual silicon and created two new chip designs that can be licensed.

RISC-V shares the ethos of open-source software, with the community working together to share, advance, and modify the architecture.

Nvidia is expected to use the microcontroller-style RISC-V designs in its chips,

Companies like Google are developing chips in-house and could tweak RISC-V for servers, which could save them from buying Intel’s expensive chips.

SiFive’s new 32-bit E31 Coreplex processor design is targeted at IoT devices, wearables, and low-power devices. The 64-bit CorePlex E51 could be used in servers, network processors, storage devices, and edge computing devices.

Some other open-source chips like OpenSPARC have lingered around but are based on old designs. The RISC-V Foundation has aggressively promoted the architecture, especially at Hot Chips, an annual gathering of semiconductor professionals.

The RISC-V architecture is modular, meaning that independent co-processing circuits can be attached to the central RISC-V design which makes the RISC-V highly flexible.

The goal of SiFive is to monetise the RISC-V design but at a modest cost. The new chip designs can be licensed for a fixed price from SiFive, but the company will not charge royalties. That makes it attractive alternative compared to chip designs from ARM and Imagination Technologies, which charge licensing fees and royalties.

SiFive will make chips starting later this year. The company earlier released the HiFive1 low-power board based on its RISC-V chip. The boards sold in the thousands.

The company did not provide the licensing prices for the CorePlex designs, but ordering them will be straightforward, SiFive officials said.

Courtesy-Fud

Spread Of ‘WannaCry’ Ransomware Halted For Now

May 15, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Friday’s unprecedented ransomware attack may have temporarily halted spreading to new machines thanks to a “kill switch” that a security researcher has activated.

The ransomware, called Wana Decryptor or WannaCry, has been found infecting machines across the globe. It works by exploiting a Windows vulnerability that the U.S. National Security Agency may have used for spying.

The malware encrypts data on a PC and shows users a note demanding $300 in bitcoin to have their data decrypted. Images of the ransom note have been circulating on Twitter. Security experts have detected tens of thousands of attacks, apparently spreading over LANs and the internet like a computer worm.

However, the ransomware also contains a kill switch that may have backfired on its developers, according to security researchers.

Wana Decryptor infects systems through a malicious program that first tries to connect to an unregistered web domain. The kill switch appears to work like this: If the malicious program can’t connect to the domain, it’ll proceed with the infection. If the connection succeeds, the program will stop the attack.

A security researcher who goes by the name MalwareTech found that he could activate the kill switch by registering the web domain and posting a page on it.

MalwareTech’s original intention was to track the ransomware’s spread through the domain it was contacting. “It came to light that a side effect of us registering the domain stopped the spread of the infection,” he said in an email.

Security firm Malwarebytes and Cisco’s Talos security group reported the same findings and said new ransomware infections appear to have slowed since the kill switch was activated.

However, Malwarebytes researcher Jerome Segura said it’s too early to tell whether the kill switch will stop the Wana Decryptor attack for good. He warned that other versions of the same ransomware strain may be out there that have fixed the kill-switch problem or are configured to contact another web domain.

Unfortunately, computers already infected with Wana Decryptor will remain infected, he said.

Friday’s ransomware attack first spread through a massive email phishing campaign. At least some of those emails appeared to be messages from a bank about a money transfer, according to Cisco’s Talos group.

Victims who opened the attachment in the email were served with the ransomware, which takes over the computer, security researchers said.

The Wana Decryptor itself is no different from other typical ransomware strains. Once it infects the PC, it’ll encrypt all the files on the machine, and then demand the victim pay a ransom to free them.

But unlike other ransomware, Wana Decryptor has been built to spread quickly. It does so by incorporating a hacking tool that security researchers suspect came from the NSA and was leaked online last month.

Google Acquires Virtual Game Studio Owlchemy Labs

May 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Gaming

Google has purchased Owlchemy Labs, the VR game studio that behind such game titles as Job Simulator and Rick and Morty: Virtual Rick-ality.

The Austin, Texas-based game studio revealed the acquisition in a blog post Wednesday, saying it will continue to build content for the HTC Vive, Oculus Touch, and PlayStation VR after joining Google.

“We are continuing to do all of this with even more support and focus on building awesome stuff,” Owlechemy wrote. “It’s incredibly exciting that Google and Owlchemy are so well aligned on our goals and vision for the future of VR.”

Google confirmed the acquisition in a blog post that praised the company for producing “really thoughtful interactive experiences that are responsive, intuitive, and feel natural.”

The acquisition underscores the tech community’s commitment to virtual reality, which promises to transport goggle-wearing users to a computer-generated 3D environment. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, is said to be investing big money on content for the platform, much of it going toward development of video games and apps, licensing sports leagues and shooting 360-degree videos.

Google’s latest entry in the market is Daydream, a hardware and software platform unveiled late last year that runs off Google’s Android mobile operating system and helps any Android phone manufacturer create a VR headset themselves.

Terms of the acquisition of Owlchemy Labs weren’t revealed.

Will Imagination Go Against Apple

May 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple’s many attempts to strong-arm its suppliers by cutting off their money supply unless they give it huge discounts are starting to get some kick-back from its suppliers.

The fruity-cargo cult has told Imagination Technologies that it no longer needs its tech and it will be inventing its own GPUs from now on. The move left Imagination high and dry and forced its share price down the low.

The only way for Imagination to keep its contracts with Apple is to offer huge price cuts on its licencing.

Imagination has allowed itself to become rather too dependent on Apple over the years which mean that it is vulnerable to this sort of issue.

Now the company has started a “dispute resolution procedure” with Apple, its biggest customer, after not resolving a standoff over licensing between the two companies.

Imagination said in April that Apple had notified the British firm it was developing its own graphics chips and would no longer use Imagination’s processing designs in 15 months to two years’ time.

But Imagination points out that Jobs Mob has been using its tech since the days of the iPod, and it cannot really make its own gear without tripping over its patents.

The company said it been unable to make satisfactory progress with Apple on an alternative commercial arrangement for the current license and royalty agreement. In other words, Apple is either sticking to its guns and really wants to make its own chip, or Imagination is not cutting its prices enough.

Apple is expecting its iPhone sales to continue falling, and it needs to keep its margins down. Apple has taken a similar move against Qualcomm with the aim of getting cheaper licencing.

Meanwhile Imagination also said it planned to sell two businesses, its embedded processor technology MIPS and mobile connectivity unit Ensigma.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Ending Support For First Version Of Windows 10

May 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft has published the very last security update for the debut version of Windows 10.

Windows 10 1507 — Microsoft tags feature upgrades with a yymm label — will received its last security patches on May 9. The retirement date had been quietly announced last month when it appeared on several support documents.

“The time has now come to end servicing for version 1507,” one of those documents stated.

The company’s selection of May 9, as well as answers several officials gave last week during an online Q&A, signal that it will retire Windows 10’s versions on Patch Tuesdays, just as it has ended support for other OS editions on those 12 days throughout the year.

Stopping support for Windows 10 editions is as important to Microsoft’s “Windows-as-a-service” model as is its cadence of shipping two feature upgrades annually. The company has pledged to support an individual edition, such as 1507, for just 18 months, not the 10 years it provided for previous Windows editions.

The cut-off guaranteed Microsoft would not be burdened by a requirement to maintain an increasing number of versions, letting it instead focus on just two iterations of Windows 10 at a time.

In the end, Microsoft supported Windows 10 1507 for 21 months rather than the pledged 18.

Using the 18-month lifecycle, Windows 10’s second edition, version 1511 — released Nov. 12, 2015 — should also fall from support this month. But because of other arcane rules Microsoft follows, 1511 will be supported at least through October, according to Nathan Mercer, a senior product marketing manager, in a reply during last week’s Q&A.

That would provide 1511 with two years of support.

Microsoft hasn’t set end-of-support dates for Windows 10 1607 or 1703, the upgrades released in August 2016 and April 2017. Under the 18-month guideline, 1607 should head to retirement in January 2018 and 1703 shuffle off in September 2018. However, it’s likely that Microsoft will extend 1607’s date of demise, as it did to 1507 and 1511, to separate it from the latter.

Windows 10 1507 LTSB — the “Long-term Servicing Branch” version of the original release — will continue to receive security updates, Microsoft has said. The LTSB track is available only to customers running Windows 10 Enterprise.

Although Windows 10 1507 will continue to operate without restrictions after May 9th, without future bug fixes, the operating system “could become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses,” Microsoft warned. To continue to receive updates, users must upgrade to 1511 or later.

Is Microsoft’s Surface Laptop Too Expensive?

May 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft made a rather surprising move by unveiling its Surface Laptop at the #MicrosoftEDU event in New York but at that price, it faces some rather stiff competition.

Microsoft is aiming at education with Windows 10 S OS, the new Microsoft Surface Laptop starts at a rather steep price of US $999 for the base version, powered by 7th-gen Kaby Lake Core i5 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. Both HP and Acer have unveiled their notebooks powered by Windows 10 S, the HP ProBook x360 Education Edition, and the Acer TravelMate Spin B1 Convertible, which start at rather more reasonable US $299, coming with 11.6-inch screens, Intel Celeron CPUs, 4GB of RAM and 64GB of storage.

While it might be both lighter and thinner than any Apple Macbook as well as 50 percent faster than Macbook Air (like that was so hard to achieve), the Surface Laptop falls short when it comes to some serious competition.

Microsoft spent a lot of time talking about dimensions and the fact that the Surface Laptop is both lighter and thinner than any Apple Macbook. Measuring at 308.1×223.27×14.48mm (12.13×8.79×0.57 inches) and weighing in at 1,252g (2.76 lbs), the Surface Laptop is a fancy looking system with anodized chassis and Alcantara covered keyboard, but competition, like the Dell XPS 13, coming with CNC machined aluminum chassis and carbon fiber composite palm rest with soft-touch, is not far behind at all.

The Dell XPS 13 measures at 304x200x9-15mm (11.98×7.88×0.33-0.6inches) and weighs 1.22kg (2.7lbs) for the standard and 1.31kg (2.9lbs) for the touch version, which makes it smaller and pretty much the same weight as the Surface Laptop. 

When it comes to hardware, Dell also offers more bang for the buck, at least when it comes to high-end configurations. The most expensive version of Surface Laptop, one featuring an Intel Core i7 CPU, 16GB or RAM and 512GB of PCIe NVMe SSD is listed at US $2,199, whereas Dell will give you its high-end XPS 13 Touch with Intel 7th-gen Core i7-7560U, 16GB or RAM, 512GB of SSD storage and the 13.3-inch QHD (3200×1800) touch screen for US $1,974.99.

Dell also has the new XPS 13 2-in-1, which was introduced back in January, and which comes an UltraSharp QHD+ (3200×1800 resolution) screen or a standard 1920×1080 screen. It is powered by Intel’s latest Kaby Lake Y-series CPUs, including the Core i5-7Y54 clocked at 3.2GHz or i7-7Y75 clocked at 3.6GHZ. It can also be equipped with up to 16GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage, so this is a viable competition as well. 

HP has a neat offer with the Spectre 13-v151nr, offering a 13.3-inch FHD system with Intel Core i7-7500U CPU, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of PCIe NVMe SSD storage for US $1,249.99.

We are sure that Surface Laptop has its market but those in education will be looking at cheaper systems while those looking for a high-end notebook will probably look elsewhere as there is plenty of competition offering more than Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop, let alone the Apple Macbook line. Bear in mind that all of these high-end notebooks run on Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Pro OS, which offer a lot more than the locked Windows 10 S OS. 

Courtesy-Fud

Can MediaTek Boost Revenues By 8 Percent In A Crowded Industry?

May 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

MediaTek expects its second-quarter revenues to see sequential increase to $1.86 billion.

Gross margin for the quarter will be better than the prior quarter’s level thanks to a more favorable product mix.

MediaTek wants to ship more than 110 million SoC chips for smartphones and tablets in the second quarter.

Company vice chairman Ching-jiang Hsieh said at an April 28 investors’ conference that smartphone demand is picking up slowly, but should start to accelerate at the end of the second quarter when inventory in the smartphone industry supply chain drops.

MediaTek’s 10nm Helio X30 chips are already in mass production at TSMC. MediaTek’s 10nm smartphone chips will only be a insignificant portion of company revenues in 2017, when 16nm and 28nm products remain MediaTek’s major smartphone-IC product lines.

MediaTek will use TSMC’s 12nm process technology to build a new SoC solution targeted at mid-range smartphones later in 2017. The company will also move forward rolling out its next-generation product using a more-advanced 7nm process node, Hsieh noted.

Hsieh predicted that smartphone demand worldwide will come to 1.6-1.7 billion units in 2017, which will represent a single-digit increase compared to 2016. For MediaTek, it could be a challenge to post smartphone-chip shipment growth in 2017.

Digitimes claims that MediaTek’s smartphone-chip shipments for the first half of 2017 will reach just over 200 million units, which means the shipments will have to jump over 50 percent in the second half of the year in order to top the early 500 million units shipped in 2016.

Courtesy-Fud

iPhone 8 Likely To Cap Memory At 3GB

May 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Apple may reduce the capacity of DRAM in its upcoming anniversary iPhones with the rising prices of storage and memory components hitting its profit margins.

Apple acknowledged the rising DRAM and NAND prices during its second-quarter earnings call earlier this week. The company expects the pricing pressure to continue in the near term.

Those prices, in turn, could impact the memory capacity of the next iPhone. Trendforce, which tracks SSD and DRAM pricing, predicted the iPhone 8 will be capped at 3GB of DRAM.

Consumers will have to wait until the successor to the iPhone 8 to get 4GB of DRAM, TrendForce said. Those phones would be released in 2018 or 2019.

Trendforce is predicting that three iPhones will be released this year. Two iPhones — a  5.8-inch iPhone with an AMOLED display and a 5.5-inch model with an LCD screen — will have 3GB of memory. A 4.7-inch model with an LCD screen will have 2GB of DRAM, the company predicted.

The current 5.5-inch iPhone 7 Plus has 3GB of LPDDR4 memory, while the 4.7-inch iPhone 7 has 2GB of memory. The memory is supplied by Samsung, according to iFixit.com.

Smartphone makers are plugging more DRAM and flash storage into devices because users are embracing multimedia, gaming, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence. One version of Samsung’s Galaxy S8+ has 6GB of DRAM, but it is available only in South Korea.

Shortages have caused the prices of DRAM for mobile devices and PCs to spike. Trendforce says that prices for mobile DRAM like LPDDR4 will increase by more than 10 percent this year.

Last month, Gartner predicted a price decline of DRAM and flash storage would start next year and crash in 2019.

Prices of mobile devices have gone up due to DRAM and NAND flash shortages. During the earnings call, Apple noted that the average selling price of the iPhone, including all models, was up to US$655 from $642 a year ago, with those numbers including a strong mix of iPhone 7 Plus. Unfavorable foreign exchange rates also affected prices.

Apple buys DRAM and NAND flash in large quantities, and, as a result, gets favorable pricing from suppliers. The hit on iPhone margins was made up by profits from ancillary offerings like services, said Luca Maestri, chief financial officer at Apple.

At this point, adding more DRAM and NAND will make the next iPhones more expensive to manufacture and hurt Apple’s profit margins. Apple will likely avoid the temptation of adding more DRAM.

Trendforce is predicting that average memory in smartphones this year will be around 3.2GB, a revision from an earlier projection of 3.7GB.

Lowering memory capacity is one way for device makers to cut corners and maintain profit margins. It’s especially prevalent in PCs. Some new, low-cost laptops may have lower resolution screens, less memory, lower storage, or may not include a webcam.

 

 

 

 

 

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