Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

GM To Release Super Cruise Technology Next Year In The Cadillac

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

gm-supercruise-150x150Information obtained from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) communication with GM revealed some of the details about how the “Super Cruise” advanced-driver assistance system (ADAS) will function, including its ability to enable hands-free operation for extended periods.

In March, GM asked the NHTSA if its “Super Cruise” system’s ability to stop a vehicle and automatically activate hazard lights would pass safety regulations.

In a response made public Monday, the NHTSA gave GM the thumbs up for its Super Cruise system to pull the vehicle over and turn on the hazard lights. The NHTSA, however, cautioned that any defect in the technology “could present an unreasonable risk of an accident occurring or of death and injury in an accident.”

“We urge GM to fully consider the likely operation of the system it is contemplating and ensure that it will not present such a risk,” the NHTSA’s letter stated.

GM’s Super Cruise system has facial recognition technology that monitors certain cues to make sure the driver is still attentive, GM spokesman Kevin Kelly told Reuters. If the ADAS system senses the driver is sleeping or not paying attention, it sends visual warnings, including a light bar on the steering wheel, and then audio warnings. If the system determines that the driver is no longer responsive, it will activate a safety protocol to bring the vehicle to a controlled stop.

GM has been testing its Super Cruise semi-autonomous driving technology since 2012. It had initially planned to unveil the technology on the Cadillac CT6 in late 2016, but recently changed the date to 2017.

The system will have a new adaptive cruise control with lane following that controls steering, braking and acceleration in certain freeway environments.

GM stated in its letter to the NHTSA that when Super Cruise is in use, the driver must always remain attentive to the road, supervise Super Cruise’s performance, and “be ready to steer and brake at all times.”

“In some situations, Super Cruise will alert the driver to resume steering for example, when the system detects a limit or fault,” the letter stated. “If the driver is unable or unwilling to take control of the wheel (if, for example, the driver is incapacitated or unresponsive), Super Cruise may determine that the safest thing to do is to bring the vehicle slowly to a stop in or near the roadway, and the vehicle’s brakes will hold the vehicle until overridden by the driver.”

 

Is More ZEN Information Coming This Month?

December 5, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

While waiting for Zen is remarkably like waiting for Godot, we have just been told that AMD will be holding a sneak peek of its high-performance Zen CPU on 13 December.

The preview will be streamed at 1 p.m. PST on December 13. You can sign up at AMD’s website to have a shifty. The host of the event will be the video gamer hack, Geoff Keighley and it will be called “Watch New Horizon.”

According to the email the event will be an “ exclusive advance preview of our new ‘Zen’ CPU ahead of its 2017 Q1 launch”.

“See eSports & Evil Geniuses legend PPD put ‘Zen’ through its paces. There’ll be appearances from special guests and giveaways. This is the first time the public will be able to try it themselves and see its capabilities. If you’re serious about gaming, this is an event you do not want to miss.”

What we are expecting is that AMD will show off the quad-core version of Zen. AMD will have four Zen-based CPUs in the “Summit Ridge” family launching early next year.

The top end will probably include two eight-core chips with Simultaneous Multi-Threading, and an SR5 with six cores, and a quad-core SR3.

What we are curious about is if the pricing rumors are correct. The highest-end 8-core will be $500, while a second, slower eight-core chip could be as low as $350. This will really scare the bejesus out of Intel as it is promising better performance for half the price.

Other rumors say that the six-core SR5 will hit the shops for $250 and the quad-core SR3 will be $150. Intel gear will set you back $320 for its quad-core Core i7-6700K chip, and the cheapest six-core costs $380.

Courtesy-Fud

Nokia Smartphones Poised For A Comeback

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

nokia-hq-150x150Nokia smartphones are gearing up for a comeback after former managers at the Finnish company licensed the handset brand from Microsoft and struck up partnerships with Google and phone manufacturer Foxconn.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones and then chose Microsoft’s unpopular Windows operating system for its “Lumia” range.

Nokia quit smartphones in 2014 by selling its handset activities to Microsoft to focus on mobile network equipment. Microsoft continued selling Lumia smartphones under its own name but this year largely abandoned that business, too.

 HMD Global, led by Nokia veteran Arto Nummela, wants to launch its first Nokia smartphone in the early part of next year using Google’s Android operating system.

Success will require a dash for scale by stealing business from Apple, Samsung and dozens of other players in a cut-throat industry.

“Consumers may be carrying different smartphones now, but are they really in love and loyal to those brands?” said Nummela in an interview.

The Nokia consumer brand lives on as the badge on cheaper, entry-level “feature phones” sold mainly in Asia, India and Eastern Europe, though Microsoft invested little to market the name in recent years. Smartphones typically cost anywhere from ten to 30 times as much as these basic phones, which sell for as little as $20.

“For a new entrant, having an established brand provides it with an instant on-ramp,” said mobile phone analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight, who suggested that phone vendors with weaker brands should not take the new challenge lightly.

“The barriers to entry for the Android phone space are low,” said Wood. “What HMD has is the Nokia brand and management experience. The key to its success will be driving scale.”

CEO Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia’s sales and product development, does not lack ambition.

“We want to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business,” he told Reuters.

HMD President Florian Seiche previously worked at Siemens, Orange, HTC and Nokia. Chief Marketing Officer Pekka Rantala is a former CEO of Rovio, the maker of the Angry Birds game, as well as a Nokia veteran.

“We are not going to skip any markets in the long term,” Seiche said, adding that HMD had already set up offices in 40 locations around the world.

Is TSMC Going 12nm Too?

December 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

According to industry sources, TSMC is planning to introduce a 12 nanometer half-node process to enhance competition with 28nm and lower process nodes that have been adopted over the past few years.

The chip manufacturer’s 12nm process node will join its existing 16nm process portfolio as a smaller option in order to give it a competitive advantage against Samsung and GlobalFoundries. It is expected to offer improved leakage characteristics at a lower cost than its 16nm lineup. TSMC currently offers three variants of its 16nm FinFET process designed both for high-performance devices, as well as for ultra-low power situations requiring less than 0.6 volts.

Back in September, GlobalFoundries was the first to announce a 12nm process using Fully Depleted Silicon-On-Insulator (FD-SOI) planar technology. The foundry claims that 12FDX can deliver “15 percent more performance over current FinFET technologies” with “50 percent lower power consumption,” at a cost lower than existing 16nm FinFET devices.

TSMC currently supplies 16nm chips to a number of American, Chinese and Taiwanese companies including Apple, Nvidia, Xilinx, Spreadtrum and MediaTek, while GlobalFoundries provides chips using 14nm FinFET technology for AMD’s Polaris graphics cards and upcoming Zen processors. Meanwhile, Samsung provides 14nm LPP technology to Qualcomm for its Snapdragon 820 series and for use in its own mobile device lineup.

Although TSMC’s 12nm process was originally planned to be introduced as a fourth-generation 16nm optimization, it will now be introduced as an independent process technology instead. Three of the company’s partners have already received tape-outs on 10nm designs and the process is expected to start generating revenues by early 2017. Apple and MediaTek are likely to be the first with 10nm TSMC-based products, while the 12nm node should become a useful enhancement to fill the competition gap before more partners are capable of building 10nm chips.

Courtesy-Fud

Can Virtual Reality Find A Voice?

November 30, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

As we near the end of a pivotal year for virtual reality, it’s clear there is still a lot of work to be done. With the arrival of Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR, consumers finally have access to the technology that has commanded much of the industry’s attention and excitement for the past four years but only now can we gauge how popular it may become.

That’s according to Aki Järvinen, founder of research and consulting initiative Game Futures, currently working at Sheffield Hallam University. Järvinen will be speaking about trends in virtual reality development at this week’s Develop:VR conference in London. We caught up with him ahead of the event to find out his thoughts on the industry’s next step after this year’s long-awaited hardware launches.

“There is a definite need for VR to find its own voice,” he tells GamesIndustry.biz. “We know very little about user habits with the headsets, for example. How does the isolating, solitary nature of current VR tech affect the frequency of use and thus retention with games? Early data shows that game time spent on VR titles is nowhere close to PC titles in the same genres.

“Kevin Kelly, the former editor of Wired, has talked about how the Internet has proceeded to its current form as streams and flows, from its ‘newspapery’ web origins. I expect something similar to happen with VR games; currently, it’s about imitating existing genres with the added value of VR-enhanced sense of presence, but developers and designers should experiment with other paradigms.

“2016 has been the first proper year for developers to test the waters on if the market is profitable yet and learn about releasing games for the actual retail platforms. Strategic product decisions are being made as we speak, based on these early experiences.”

Many developers have said that virtual reality tears up the game design rulebook, requiring completely new theories and practices when it comes to game creation. By now, studios have poured years into experimenting with VR games and it would be fair to argue that the early pages of that rulebook have been written – but Järvinen believes the conventions and best practices established so far are largely temporary.

“There is a definite need for VR to find its own voice. We know very little about user habits with the headsets, for example.”

Aki Järvinen, Game Futures

With more changes expected from the headsets themselves, plus the accessories and controllers supporting them, Järvinen argues that the time span has been “too short for [findings] to stick” and that gameplay design solutions in use now will be almost irrelevant in just a few years.

“If one looks at games like Batman: Arkham VR, for example, the designers have clearly tried to turn the current constraints of the platform – lack of movement in particular – to their advantage, and design gameplay around the constraints,” he says. “They’ve done this with very deliberately crafted, static setpieces that leverage VR’s other strengths, such as experiencing the scope and scale of things in a more startling, life-like way. Yet, once those movement constraints go away, it’s hard to see anyone designing in that paradigm anymore. So it’s an agile rulebook in constant change.”

The future of virtual reality will, therefore, be defined by its hardware rather than its software, and the Game Futures founder predicts significant evolution from the devices people are picking up in stores this Christmas.

“VR has enough momentum now that it will go along the typical development path of similar technologies,” says Järvinen. “Headsets will become smaller, untethered, of higher resolution, trackers invisible, and so on. When these developments are able to coincide with lower production costs to the degree that retail price points become truly affordable, then we are on the cusp of a real breakthrough. Parallel to this, software has to evolve.”

It’s easy to argue that virtual reality software is already quite unevolved. With a handful of more ambitious or high-production projects being the exceptions, the vast majority of launch software for Oculus, Vive and PSVR is limited. Most current virtual reality titles offer a more immersive first-person perspective for long-established gameplay genres, with little more than the novelty of viewing the action through the headset to differentiate it from what has come before. Perhaps the most blatant examples are the waves of shooting gallery-style VR games, where players are restricted to either an on-rails experience, a gun turret or standing on the spot, blasting away at waves of enemies that appear in often scripted patterns.

Järvinen says the prominence of these games so far is “a concern” but believes that as the market evolves, both in terms of hardware and software, “the lesser formulas will wither out”.

He adds: “So far developers have benefited from the rush of early adopters who basically purchase or download everything. This might lead to vanity metrics, such as bloated download figures, or bloated revenue estimates, as there has been lots of free promotions, bundles, and so on. But the VR market cannot be sustained with spikes from early adopters and therefore the more inherently ‘VR’ titles and game design aspects will eventually prevail.

“VR in its current form still has too many disabling contexts in play, such as retail price, PC requirements, and the fact that many people experience nausea. While finding the new genres is important, they do not matter much if enough enabling contexts are not yet in place, and that means also cultural ones – such as social acceptability in a living room, or in public places with mobile VR – rather than just technical ones.”

The cultural challenges that virtual reality faces are by far the most significant. 2016 has seen VR find the audience it was originally intended for and would inevitably appeal to the most (that is, avid consumers of video games and emerging technology) but hopes remain high that the tech will grow to have mainstream appeal. Certainly, that seems to be the intention of Facebook, which acquired Oculus back in 2014 and earlier this year showed off new social communication functions such as virtual chat rooms at September’s Connect event.

“While finding the new genres is important, they do not matter much if enough enabling contexts are not yet in place, and that means also cultural ones – such as social acceptability in a living room, or in public places with mobile VR – rather than just technical ones.”

Aki Järvinen, Game Futures

Järvinen believes the social network has spent enough effort and money on virtual reality that “they’ve gone past the point of abandoning creating its mass-market appeal” but suggests future forms of the hardware will have more impact on the technology’s attractiveness than the companies backing it.

“True mainstream appeal would require technological developments, such as miniaturisation, but also use cases where users see obvious benefits. Facebook seems to bet on the social dimension being the latter. Creating accessible tools for VR content creation could be the home run.”

As such, we can expect to see more companies from beyond the games industry investing in the technology and those developing for it. While it might not reach the headline-grabbing heights of Facebook’s $2bn Oculus acquisition, there is little danger of funding for virtual reality projects drying up any time soon.

“The wow factor with VR is strong enough that, when executed innovatively by a capable team, investors will get on board,” Järvinen says. “Therefore I believe investments will stay steady but perhaps we won’t see news about the more exuberant sums before the market finds its own Supercell.”

Järvinen concludes by stressing that the non-games, even non-entertainment, applications for virtual reality will go a long way to not only broadening the technology’s appeal, but writing more pages of that agile rulebook.

“We should not forget applications of VR beyond games and entertainment,” he says. “I believe journalism can use similar aspirations for a heightened feeling of empathy, achieved by leveraging that sense of presence VR can produce. We are already seeing signs of this with 360 video pieces distributed via VR platforms.

“Lots of interesting stuff is also going on in medical applications and research, such as burn victim therapy via VR. Real estate market could benefit in a big way from virtual viewings. So VR will not have one end goal, but many.”

Courtesy-GI.biz

Will Smartphone Production Rise In 2017?

November 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Next year, smartphone production volume is expected to grow by 4.5 percent to reach 1.4 billion units, according to the latest market forecast.

Global market research firm TrendForce says the double-digit growth in smartphone shipments that once took place in previous years is not expected to happen in 2017, as smartphone manufacturers currently face innovation hurdles and a shortage of new useful applications.

The report says that around 45 percent of all smartphones produced this year belong to Chinese brands, or 634 million units, mainly owing to growth from Oppo and Vivo shipments. However, these vendors may face flat growth in 2017 as their sales efforts now hinge on developing foreign market presence. This will require obtaining necessary IP and the support of local wireless companies or risk of being confined to home markets.

Apple and Samsung attempt to salvage sales this year

Meanwhile in the US, Apple is expected to post an 11.5 percent annual decline in iPhone volume production for 2016 as sales become sluggish over an iterative product design that has some customers prolonging their smartphone upgrade cycles. Samsung has also made an effort to salvage its Galaxy S7 device from the eyes of the public by promoting a new ‘glossy black’ color option, similar to the iPhone 7 ‘Jet Black’ color option that has attracted the most sales among retailers. The report notes that these manufacturers and other international brands are facing noticeable shipment shortages that constrain growth in the market’s overall volume production.

AMOLED smartphone market to reach 28 percent next year

The forecast says that consumers now expect noteworthy advances in mobile display technology next year because market leader Apple did not equip its latest iPhone 7 with an AMOLED panel design.

Samsung currently enjoys a monopoly over small-size AMOLED panel supplies, which limits the ability of other manufacturers to offer the technology in their own devices. TrendForce predicts that the panels will have a 28 percent adoption rate in 2017, followed by a 40 percent adoption rate in 2018 after LG Display begins to manufacture and supply its own small-size AMOLED panels.

At DisplayWeek 2016 in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled a foldable 5.7-inch AMOLED display to be used in an upcoming “foldable” Galaxy smartphone lineup. Back in December 2015, we reported that the company will start using OLED screens for iPhones starting in 2018 and is expected to order them from Samsung and LG.

Courtesy-Fud

Is AMD’s ZEN Launching With Extremely Competitive Pricing?

November 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

zenOver the past few days, more information has been revealed regarding AMD’s pricing and performance configurations for its Zen desktop processors, codenamed Summit Ridge.

Four SKUs ranging between $150 and $500

A new pricing document originating from China indicates that AMD initially plans to release four Zen desktop SKUs in four, six and eight-core variants. Just like Intel’s high-end desktop lineups, none of these chips will feature integrated graphics.

At the top of the list is the Zen SR7 “Special” featuring eight cores, sixteen threads and priced at $500, followed by a standard Zen SR7 in the same core configuration for $350. In the mid-range segment is the Zen SR5, featuring six cores, twelve threads and priced at $250. In the entry-level segment is the Zen SR3, featuring four cores and eight threads and priced at $150.

Last week in a Maxsun email posted on Baidu, there were indications that high-end Zen chips would be priced up to ¥2,000 ($290), yet the latest leak now says they will go as high as ¥3,999 ($500) for the SR7 Special Edition, while the mid-range SR5 will be priced closer to the initial estimate.

As for specifications, the email also mentioned that Zen chips should have base frequencies between 3.15 to 3.30GHz with 3.5GHz Boost clocks.

Zen SR7 engineering sample runs at 3.2GHz

Now, a new engineering sample of an eight-core Zen SR7 has been spotted by reliable AMD blogger DresdenBoy, who shared that the part number (1D3201A2M88F3_35/32_N) indicates a 3.2GHz chip with 3.5GHz Boost. Back in August, two eight-core Zen engineering samples appeared in a benchmark database with part numbers ending with “32/28_N,” indicating that they were running at 2.8GHz with 3.2GHz Boost.

Performs like Core i7 6950X at half the price

Even taking these price points into consideration, an eight-core Zen SR7 at $500 may still perform similarly to Intel’s eight-core Core i7 5960X at $1,000, given Zen’s more competitively-focused IPC design. The company’s switch back to Simultaneous Multi-Threading (hyperthreading) allows each core to run two threads just like Intel chips, so even the ten-core Core i7 6950X with a 3GHz base and 3.5GHz Turbo is a benchmark to consider.

The folks at Guru3D say Zen chips should have four integer units, two address generation units and four FP units, while decoding four instructions per clock. Compared to Bulldozer, bandwidth for L1 and L2 cache should be almost twice as fast, with each Zen core featuring the same amount of L3 cache per core as Intel.

Zen Summit Ridge series processors are currently expected to launch on January 17th following a CES announcement during the first week.

Courtesy-Fud

Is HTC Jumping Out Of The Smartphone Business?

November 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Troubled maker of smartphones HTC has denied rumours that it could be about to flog off its smartphone business.

The rumours had been picked up  largely because HTC has not been doing very well, the company was not Apple and the Tame Apple Press does love to pretend that only Jobs’ Mob makes money from smartphones.
Now according to the Taiwanese media HTC has denied those rumors and is refusing to ever speak of it again. So to make up for this lack of a quote the Tame Apple Press has continued to rubbish HTC and implied that it really is going to flog off its smartphonebusiness but “the official stance”  is that isn’t.” Apparently, HTC’s alternative is to go into VR – yeah that will sort it out.

We feel sorry for HTC because it generally makes good gear, has Google’s Pixel as a contract, but does not seem to get a lucky break.

Courtesy-Fud

In Spite Of The Note 7 Disaster Samsung Still Number 1

November 25, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Samsung Electronics is still the number one global seller of smartphones in spite of the Galaxy Note 7 fiasco.

According to bean counters at the Gartner Group, Samsung sold over 71 million smartphones in the July-September period worldwide, accounting for 19.2 percent of the market.

It did lose market share (23.6 percent) from a year before and sales dropped 14.2 percent year-on-year. It is the company’s worst performance since its 12.3 percent drop in smartphone sales in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Gartner research director Anshul Gupta said:

“The decision to withdraw the Galaxy Note 7 was correct, but the damage to Samsung’s brand will make it harder for the company to increase its smartphone sales in the short term. For Samsung, it is crucial that the Galaxy S8 launches successfully, so partners and customers regain trust in its brand.”

However Apple did not benefit from Samsung’s hardships and its iPhone 7 did not pick up extra sales. Despite the launch of its iPhone 7 Plus, Apple sold 43 million smartphones, a 6.6 percent drop year-on-year.

Its market share declined from 13 percent to 11.5 percent, the lowest since the first quarter of 2009. The company’s sales fell by 8.5 percent in the U.S. and by 31 percent in China.

Gartner research director Roberta Cozza said that the withdrawal of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 may benefit sales of Apple’s iPhone 7 Plus only slightly, as Note 7 users are likely to stay with Samsung or at least with Android.

Google’s Android has captured market shares from Apple’s iOS, dominating nearly 88 percent of the total market in the smartphone operating system market.
The winners have been Chinese smartphone vendors posted significant growth, closing the gap with them.

Three Chinese vendors ? Huawei, Oppo and BBK Communication Equipment ? combined to carve out 21 percent of the global smartphone market. The trio reached 32 million, 24 million and 19 million orders, respectively.

Gartner said only the three among the global top five increased their sales and market shares during the quarter.

Meanwhile, global sales of smartphones tallied 373 million units in the third quarter this year, a 5.4 percent rise from a year earlier, according to Gartner.

Courtesy-Fud

Will The iPhone 8 Go OLED?

November 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Hopes that Apple might sex up its iPhone 8 with OLED technology could be dashed by the fact that its suppliers can’t make enough of the technology.

After producing an iPhone 7 which was more or less the same as the last one, Apple had been expected to do something special with the iPhone 8. OLED screens were being touted as a way that the tax-dodging cargo cult might pull that off.

However according to the IB Times  suppliers may not be able to meet the demand.

This could force Apple to release limited next-gen iPhone units in 2017 with the rest using the older LCD technology. In other words it will be regurgitating the same technology it has used for years meaning that the iPhone 8 will look and feel like the iPhone 7, which looked suspiciously like the iPhone 6, which was not much of an advance from the iPhone 5.

Samsung Display, LG Display, Sharp and Japan Display cannot mass produce enough units as demanded by the smartphone industry. OLED screens are difficult and time-consuming to produce and it is likely that this constraint will spill over to 2018.

Samsung is reported to be the chief supplier for iPhone’s OLED panels in 2017 but it is facing low yield rates along with its high demand. Apple ordered an initial round of 100 million units for 2017 but Samsung is likely to produce only a portion of that.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said that Apple may resort to releasing a fair amount of units featuring screens that use older LCD technology.

Courtesy-Fud

Is AMD Readying The Zen Server Line?

November 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

AMD has released the latest version of its ROCm software tools which make it easier to write and compile parallel programs for its new Zen GPUs and CPUs.

The software is designed to help put Zen under the bonnet of high-performing servers to turn GPUs and CPU combos into servers. If it all pays off AMD could be back in the server market after losing it totally to Intel.

ROCm provides a base for the company to build GPUs for large-scale servers. It is a low-level programming framework like Nvidia’s CUDA. But it’s open source and can work with a wide range of CPU architectures like ARM, Power, and x86.

According to PC World the ROCm platform is targeted at the large-scale server installations and for multiple GPUs in a cluster of racks.

It’ll work with AMD’s latest Radeon Pro GPUs and current consumer GPUs based on the Polaris architecture. It can be used to run neural networking clusters or for scientific computing.

AMD has not revealed any of its supercomputing GPU plans but said ROCm will play a big role as the company goes after the HPC space.

ROCm is based around the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) spec which is supposed to link the computing power of CPU, GPU, and other processors in a system. AMD thinks HSA specifications could replace OpenCL, which is widely used today for parallel programming.

But what is more interesting about it is that AMD is chasing open-source standards, contrary to Intel which still wants people to use its proprietary standards. This open saucy approach might be the novelty which helps AMD succeeds. The Open Source does well in the HPC area where stuff is a little more collaborative.  It might be that AMD has hit on a system that works and can get its foot in the door. 

Courtesy-Fud

Is Microsoft’s HaloLens Ready For The Consumer Market?

November 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

I had fun playing on Microsoft HoloLens this week.

That’s significant because the last time I went hands-on with the intriguing, expensive AR technology (at E3 2015) I was left palpably disappointed.

Part of that was because Kanye West had cut into the line and forced my group to wait an extra 30 minutes to play on it, but it was also because the restricted field of view meant that the ‘Halo experience’ (which is what we played) was underwhelming and only really worked well if we didn’t move our heads and stood exactly where we were meant to.

I could comfortably imagine how this device might work in the education, retail and manufacturing spaces, but it didn’t seem remotely suitable for video games. After playing HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, a piece of gaming technology where the illusion was ruined if I stood too close to an object just wasn’t good enough.

Microsoft seems to understands that. HoloLens, as it stands, is not a consumer product, it is not even a gaming device – not really. The demos we were shown at the firm’s Lift London studio last week mostly involved retail projects – the ability to dismantle a watch you might be buying, or to change the colours on a car you are interested in, or to make virtual changes to your kitchen. There were education uses, too, such as a nice demo where you can explore and analyse the human body. NASA has even invested in the tech so its engineers can wander around a virtual Mars Rover.

“It causes me great consternation every time HoloLens is shown at a gaming conference, because all journalists want to talk about is games.”

Leila Martine, Microsoft

It is here, in the commercial space, where HoloLens is most promising. We should all try to forget that Minecraft demo that over-excited the games business on stage at E3 2015.

“If you are in the gaming industry, it is things like E3 where you will have been exposed to this,” says Leila Martine, director of new device experiences in the UK.

“I am probably saying something out of turn, because I’m not sitting in the room when they’re making these decisions in Redmond, but I do know that it causes me great consternation every time they go to a gaming conference and they show HoloLens. Because when that happens, all that journalists want to talk about is games. I have Case Western University, which is one of these most phenomenal case studies [with its education product that teaches anatomy]. But they’ll get like 300,000 YouTube views, which is still great for a B2B scenario. But Minecraft… are you kidding me? Those views are in the bazillions.”

Martine says that games is ‘definitely a piece of the long-term vision’ for HoloLens, it’s just not there yet. However, Microsoft remains interested in attracting games studios. HoloLens utilises Unity technology, which means that video games developers are uniquely placed to build HoloLens applications – even if it’s not games that they end up making.

“We are definitely seeing games developers in demand,” says Martine. “Part of that is because Unity is a core way to be able to build on this right now. With their heritage in gaming and with the demand coming from these new places, it is a pretty hot place for these games developers to be. Then we are seeing who has the appetite to move outside of gaming and capture opportunities that are coming from, quite frankly, places they haven’t worked with before. It could be a power plant looking to visualise their plant, or training simulations for pilots or engineers. With the Unity capability, these opportunities are there for game makers.”

The HoloLens Minecraft demo at E3 2015 was viewed by millions

One of the key stumbling blocks for HoloLens right now, particularly for smaller independent games teams, is its price. HoloLens dev kits will set you back $3,000.

“Unlike some of the other ones that are out there on the market, you don’t need a high performance computer to go with it,” defends Martine. “Everything you need is right on that device. And that device is really unique in terms of it capabilities, and the team has done a tremendous amount to bring it to market in a very short amount of time.

“As we think about all the things that it can enable, there are a lot of companies right now that are going: “We need to be in this space”. This is not the final form factor, this is not a consumer device, there is much more on the roadmap, but right now, the focus is making sure that we’re getting it into the hands of people and doing stuff that isn’t trivial, but actually matters to companies… and we are seeing really good progress in that area.

“But this is not the end.”

Because we asked nicely, and promised not to tell people that HoloLens is anywhere close to being a consumer games product, Microsoft did let us try out one of its games it had experimented with.

The title in question was RoboRaid, which is a mixed reality demo where aliens drill through the walls in you room, and you have to shoot small flying robot invaders out of the sky. Over three levels, you’ll battle bosses, shoot around shields and dodge fireballs. It’s hardly a game that would inspire consumers to buy HoloLens, and it isn’t particularly dissimilar to the sort of experiences that you can find in VR. but it was definitely entertaining, it worked well within the device’s limitations and proved that maybe, one day, HoloLens might succeed in the world of video games.

Courtesy-GI.biz

China Asks Apple To Investigate Mysterious iPhone 6 Shutdowns

November 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

 

iphone-6-150x150A consumer protection group in China has made a request to Apple to investigate an issue with iPhone 6 and iPhone 6S units that are automatically shutting off.

Recently, iPhone customers in the country have complained about the problem to the China Consumers Association, the group said in a statement on Tuesday. The shutdowns occur when the phone’s battery charge drops to between 60 and 50 percent.

The problem will persist despite upgrading to the latest version of iOS. It will also occur in both cold environments and at room temperature.  After the automatic shutdown, the phones will also fail to turn on without connecting to a power supply.

A “considerable number” of consumers have contacted the China Consumers Association, and many have the same problem, the group said. It made the statement as the local press in the country have written stories about the shutdowns.

Apple hasn’t publicly commented on the matter.

Prior to Tuesday’s statement from the consumer association, affected iPhone users in the country also took to local social media services to express their complaints.

“When the battery is at 60 percent it shuts down,” wrote one user on Sina Weibo. “On restart, the phone will display no battery. Then when I turn it on again, it will be normal, only to automatically shut down again.”

Local Chinese media have posted the letter the China Consumers Association sent to Apple. It asks that the company reply within 10 days.

The association is asking Apple what the problem is, whether the phone’s battery is responsible, and what steps the company will take to address the issue.

Taiwan Wants Uber Booted From Apple, Google App Stores

November 17, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

uber-taxis-150x150Taiwan wants Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google to pull apps of Uber Technologies available in Taiwan on their app stores, a government official said, upping pressure on the ride-hailing firm that is locked in a dispute with the island.

Uber operates in Taiwan as an internet-based technology platform rather than a transportation company, which Taiwanese authorities have said is a mis-representation of its service and has ordered it to pay back taxes.

However, Uber has said it is communicating with Taiwan authorities and complies with local regulations.

“Uber has not done what it says it will do, so we are looking at another way by requesting its apps be removed from Apple and Google (app stores),” Liang Guo-guo, a spokesman for Taiwan’s Directorate General of Highways, which is handling the matter, told Reuters by phone on Wednesday.

Liang said the request would include the removal of UberEATS app, which Uber launched in Taiwan on Tuesday as part of its effort to expand beyond its core taxi-hailing business around the world.

It is unclear if the move would succeed in hampering Uber in Taiwan as removing the app would not prevent alternative ways to download it. It is also not clear how apps that have already been downloaded by users will be dealt with.

Uber and Apple did not immediately respond with comments.

Should 7nm Processors Be The Norm?

November 11, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

GlobalFoundry’s CTO has said that the industry needs 7nm and its recent IBM purchase is helping him build up a new cunning plan for the technology.

Talking to Digitimes, Gary Patton has the job of building up the foundry house’s 7nm manufacturing technology. He said that the acquisition of IBM’s microelectronics unit was a big help because it had been doing a lot of work in differentiated 45/30/22/14 nm process nodes and improving its algorithm technologies for use in servers. That integration between the two sides will give GlobalFoundries a clearer blueprint for technology development.

Patton said that the 5G industry, as well as mobile computing, IoT and automotive electronics will be the growth drivers for the next decade, particularly 5G products and datacentres which need support of high-performance computing.

He added that GloFo’s FinFET process was divided into two generations, including 14 nm and 7 nm.

“We cooperated with Samsung Electronics in the 14nm process previously, but we have decided to choose a different approach for the 7nm technology and, additionally, the IBM deal has significantly enhanced our resources and development capabilities allowing us to develop the 7nm process in-house,” he said.

GloFlo had decided to jump from 14nm to 7nm directly, while skipping the 10nm process because it believed that 10nm will help not much to improve power consumption and costs for clients.

“The 10nm node is more like a semi-generation process, similar to the previous the 20nm technology, which could not meet clients’ requirements,”he said.

The foundry was getting comments from clients indicating that they need the 7nm products urgently so pouring technology resources into developing the 7nm process made more sense.

GloFo’s internal roadmap has the 7nm process is expected to enter volume production in the first half of 2018 with initial clients including IBM and AMD.

“The 7nm process has a number of advantages, including multi-core, high-speed I/O capabilities, reducing power consumption by 60 per cent, upgrading performance by 30 per cent , cutting costs by 30 per cent doubling the yield rate per wafer, while providing 2.5D/3D packaging services,” he said.

Courtesy-Fud

Next Page »