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IBM Is Still The Patent King

January 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While the Tame Apple Press is still trying to spin Jobs’ Mob as the most innovative in the world, the crown belongs to the outfit that Steve Jobs mocked – IBM.

IBM received the most patents for the 24th year in a row and broke the US record in 2016.

It had 8,088 patents granted to its inventors over the 12 months covering areas such as artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive computing, cloud, health and cyber security.

No other company in US history has managed to get 8,000 patents in a single a single year. And to put that in perspective, that means that IBM invents 22 new things a day.

It also owns a third of the patents relating to AI, cognitive computing and cloud computing alone. The details were released by Ginni Rometty, IBM’s chairman, president and CEO who said:

“We are deeply proud of our inventors’ unique contributions to discovery, science and technology that are driving progress across business and society and opening the new era of cognitive business.”

There are nine other innovative companies in the top ten list and guess what? Apple does not even make the top ten.

The list goes IBM, Samsung, Canon, Qualcomm, Google, Intel, LG, Microsoft, TSMC and Sony.

Courtesy-Fud

Will The Snapdragon 835 Beat Its Predecessor?

January 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm shared with us a few interesting facts about the Snapdragon 835. You can expect that many high-end smartphones will end up with this chip inside, as industry players are very interested. 

Keith Kressin, senior VP of product management at Qualcomm,  mentioned that the Snapdragon 820 and 821 scores combined more than 200 design wins. It is obvious that Snapdragon 820 will get replaced by the Snapdragon 835 due to its 25 percent less power, new CPU with eight cores, divided into two clusters, as well as the new GPU that is 25 percent better.

Let’s not forget that the 25 percent better battery will result in slimmer phones, larger batteries and we care about later much more as the bigger battery means better longevity. With Quick Charge 3.0 you can get five hours of talking time with just five minutes of charging.

The Snapdragon 835 SoC with its brand new DSP, 1Gbit modem, new CPU and GPU, definitely looks great and the fact that Qualcomm did this in 10nm and packed all three billion transistors in this tiny SoC, is quite amazing.

The fact that Qualcomm got to 10nm a few quarters ahead of Intel means that there is a big shift of power in the industry. To cut Intel some slack, the company is making a chip that aims for very high TDPs while Qualcomm SoC is looking for very small TDPs and focuses on  battery life.

The Snapdragon 835 will power a lot of AR and VR HMD (Head Mounted Display) solutions and you can expect to see some notebooks based on this SoC toward the second part of the year.

Courtesy-Fud

HMD Global Debuts The New Nokia Smartphone

January 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

HMD Global, the Finnish company that owns the rights to market Nokia’s brand on mobile phones, debuted on Sunday its first smartphone, targeted for Chinese users with a price of 1,699 yuan ($246).

The launch marks the first new smartphone carrying the iconic handset name since 2014 when Nokia Oyj chose to sell its entire handset unit to Microsoft.

The new device, Nokia 6, runs on Google’s Android platform and is manufactured by Foxconn. It will be sold exclusively in China through online retailer JD.com, HMD said.

 “The decision by HMD to launch its first Android smartphone into China is a reflection of the desire to meet the real world needs of consumers in different markets around the world… it is a strategically important market,” HMD said in a statement.

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

After the 2014 deal, Microsoft continued selling cheaper basic phones under Nokia’s name and Lumia smartphones under its own name, but last year, it largely abandoned both businesses.

HMD in December took over the Nokia feature phones business and struck a licensing deal that gave it sole use of the Nokia brand on all phones and tablets for the next decade.

It will pay Nokia royalties for the brand and patents, but Nokia has no direct investment in HMD. Nokia Oyj is currently focused on telecom network equipment business and technology patents.

HMD CEO Arto Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia’s sales and product development, told Reuters last month that HMD aims to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business where it faces tough competition from Apple, Samsung and dozens of other players.

Symantec Finally Putting Security Into IoT

January 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Symantec has announced that it has come up with an IoT router which can secure your Internet of Things. 

Dubbed Norton Core, the device is a new app-enabled router that has built-in security to protect the entire home,. Symantec claims the device aims to keep safe up to 20 devices connected to it, including Windows computers, Macs, phones, tablets or any internet-of-things devices, in real time.

The router gets regular updates on cyber-crime information and protection mechanisms to keep any device connected to it safe. In case an infected device is connected to the network, it can isolate it from the rest of your devices to prevent the spreading of the malware.

Router level security is not new but it is rarely seen at for home users

Via the mobile app, you can monitor the network and see a list of online threats that the router has blocked. It even shows you the current safety level of your home network. You can also use the app to pause the internet for any connected device and set a bed time, during which the broadband connection is turned off.

Norton Core is a compact dome-shaped device that measures just 6 by 6 by 5 inches (15 by 15 by 13 cm). It has a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, 1MB of system memory and 4GB of flash memory. The router supports the latest 4×4 AC2600 Wi-Fi standard, with a top speed on the 5GHz band of 1.73 megabits per second and up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.

Symantec says the Norton Core’s Wi-Fi can cover a home of somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet. It also comes with four Gigabit LAN ports for wired clients.

The Norton Core is now available for preorder at $200, with a regular price of $280, in either titanium gold or granite gray. The price includes one year of subscription to its security protection, called Norton Core Security Plus, after which the ongoing cost is $99 per year.

Courtesy-Fud 

Was Android The Most Insecure OS Last Year?

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

While people might mock Microsoft’s security, it would appear that the least most secure operating systems this year were Android, Debian and Ubuntu.

To be fair, its method of assessing the security of operating systems is somewhat bunk. It sets a figure based on the number of vulnerabilities found rather than the importance of those vulnerabilities or whether someone fixed them quickly. You know that there is something wrong when the fruity cargo cult Apple ranks rather low in the list when its “three wise monkey” approach to security vulnerabilities is legendary.

However, the figures should wipe the smug smile off the faces of those open saucers who claim that Linux and all who sail in her are much better than iOS or Windows.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 835 A Beast In The Making?

January 5, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A new AnTuTu benchmark for Snapdragon 835 has been leaked online ahead of Qualcomm’s announcement at CES 2017.

If the figures are correct the new 10nm FinFET chip, which is being produced by Samsung will have 27 percent better performance, and 40 percent less power consumption than its predecessor.

ATuTu Benchmark gives the Snapdragon 835 scores 181,434 which is a significant jump over the existing Snapdragon 821 chip.

The unnamed device on which this benchmark score is achieved sports a 5.9-inch 2K display, with 4 GB of RAM and 64 GB of internal storage running Android 7.0 Nougat. The Snapdragon 835 is shown (below) as an octa-core processor with an Adreno 540 GPU.

But what the Tame Apple Press is not telling you is that the 835’s score has left Apple’s much quoted peak score of 172,644 for its A10 chipset for dead. This is the chip which is in the iPhone 7 Plus.

Qualcomm is expected to get many design wins for this chip and many of them will end up in phones which are much cheaper than Apple’s iPhone 7. This could mean that for most of next year, Apple will be trying to flog a phone which is slower and sucks up more battery than its lower priced rivals.

This week Apple announced that it was reducing orders for its iPhone 7 by ten percent because it had too much inventory. Given that Apple is believed to have ordered 30 per cent less iPhone’s in the first place means that it looks like the iPhone 7 will sell 40 per cent less than the iPhone 6 range.

Meanwhile Qualcomm will be sticking the new chip in the new Galaxy S8 series of phones, as well as other flagships, Microsoft recently announced that full Windows 10 would run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processors, and the firm even demoed Photoshop on a device using a Snapdragon 820.

Courtesy-Fud

Do OLED TV’s Suffer From Burn In

January 4, 2017 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Bad news for everyone who wanted to get an OLED TV soon; some industry experts have told Fudzilla that current generation OLED TVs suffer from a built in defect and that the companies are seeing a lot of TVs being returned after a year of use.

It looks like Quantum dot or Sony Backlight Master Drive LED technology might be your best bet at least for a little while because OLED TVs are still expensive, and the fact that they might get burn in after a while makes them less attractive. There is always good old LED TV, a technology that is predominantly available and manages panels larger than 55 inch at reasonable prices.  

This burn in problem could cause some major recalls at some point in the near future but our industry source, who wants to remain unnamed, did mention that there might be a solution in 2018 for the problem. Unfortunately, the solution will happen with the next generation of OLED panels.

So, getting great color levels and black that doesn’t not looked washed up have their downsides too. The same problem didn’t affect the small panels such as the ones in phones and tablets –  it occurs when on large panels only. Samsung and Sony are sticking with alternative technologies for the time being while LG has been pushing for OLEDs for a while.

Courtesy-Fud

Do The Apple Airbuds Have a Design Flaw?

December 27, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

air-budsApple’s overpriced Airbuds might have shipped before Christmas after all but they are proving to be a disaster for users and the environment.

Users have been complaining that the design of the earbuds – like two tiny devices hanging from your ear, do not appear to sit well in the human ear, which was what most Apple fanboys were equipped with. As a result, they tend to fall out, which means either finding them, or shelling out a lot of dosh to get a replacement.

The Tame Apple Press has been doing its best. The reviewer at the Verge blamed his ears for the problem. I guess it is easier to blame your parents, or God for your ears than it is to blame your favourite technology company for letting you down. At no point, did Sean O’Kane think “hang on, other headphone designs manage to stay in my ears, but something about Apple doesn’t.” Given the amount of cash you pay for the things you would think that having the ability to stay in your ear would be a key design feature, before the Apple fanboy’s wade in below and say “but Apple makes huge profits, so what do you know?” that statement does not nullify the argument, it just proves you think it is OK to be a victim and are proud of the company doing it to you.

We think we got where O’Kane was coming from when he wrote: “I’ve tested a lot of wireless earbuds so far and my biggest takeaway is that they’re only as good as the case they come with.” Yeah right, if you have a $55,000 Sennheiser Orpheus headphones you often find their sound quality is totally dictated by the box they arrived in.

Meanwhile iFixit has said that if you buy a pair of Airpads you are lowering the standards of the world and helping to kill off polar bears.

That is because Apple made sure that it was practically impossible to recycle the AirPods. Apple decided, in its wisdom to glue the tiny lithium batteries to the casing of the headphones. This means that if you recycle them in the traditional way by meshing them you will get a fire at your recycling factory.

Apple insists that the $159 AirPods can be returned to the company for recycling but what happens to them next is unclear. It is too expensive for them to be broken down by hand so it is pretty obvious they are going to end up in a landfill somewhere, probably China, where they will contribute to the generally running down of the environment and ultimately the extinction of fluffy baby polar bears.

Courtesy-Fud

ATT Introduces A Call Protect App For Mobile Devices

December 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

call-app-tLast week, AT&T introduced a new smartphone app called Call Protect that it claims will warn subscribers before answering their phones if an incoming call could be a spam dialer.

The mobile application works by applying network-level monitoring and blocking of known spam calls using the company’s voice-over-LTE (VoLTE) network data capabilities. Since the network is IP-based, it resembles a traditional email spam filter by analyzing incoming calls and labeling them as spam. Second, the app will display an on-screen message warning users before answering their phones.

The app also features a temporary call block to manually block unwanted calls for up to 30 days. When spam calls are added to a filter list, users can select callers to block and have the numbers renewed after the filters expire.

AT&T’s VoLTE network was introduced May 2014 beginning with four states in the Midwest and is now available in 96 percent of its LTE coverage area. As such, there may be a small percentage of customers who will not be able to regularly use the Call Protect service.

In addition, a user’s smartphone also need to be compatible with HD Voice in order to use Call Protect, and should include most mid-range and higher-end devices produced during or after 2012, when mainstream LTE coverage began rolling out across the US.

Courtesy-Fud

Nokia Strikes Back At Apple With Latest Patent Lawsuits

December 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

nokia-hq-150x150Nokia Corp said it has filed a number of lawsuits against Apple Inc for violating 32 technology patents, striking back at the iPhone maker’s legal action targeting the one-time cellphone industry leader a day earlier.

Nokia’s lawsuits, filed in courts in Dusseldorf, Mannheim and Munich, Germany, and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, cover patents for displays, user interfaces, software, antennas, chipsets and video coding.

“Since agreeing a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple’s products,” Nokia said in a statement.

 Apple on Tuesday had taken legal action against Acacia Research Corp  and Conversant Intellectual Property Management Inc, accusing them of colluding with Nokia to extract and extort exorbitant revenues unfairly from Apple.

“We’ve always been willing to pay a fair price to secure the rights of patents covering technology in our products,” said Apple spokesman Josh Rosenstock. “Unfortunately, Nokia has refused to license their patents on a fair basis and is now using the tactics of a patent troll to attempt to extort money from Apple by applying a royalty rate to Apple’s own inventions they had nothing to do with.”

Acacia and Conversant did not immediately respond to requests for comment, and Nokia was not immediately available to comment on the Apple lawsuit.

The legal action by Nokia and Apple appear to mark a revival of the “smartphone patent wars” that began five years ago, when Apple filed a series of patent infringement cases against Samsung Electronics  around the world, with wins and losses on both sides.

Apple’s lawsuit against Acacia, Conversant and Nokia was filed only one day after Ottawa-based Conversant named Boris Teksler as its new chief executive. He had worked as Apple’s director of patent licensing and strategy from 2009 to 2013, the latter half of his tenure overlapping with the lawsuits against Samsung.

Acacia is a publicly traded patent licensing firm based in Newport Beach, California. One of its subsidiaries sued Apple for patent infringement and was awarded $22 million by a Texas jury in September.

Similarly, Conversant, which claims to own thousands of patents, announced last week that a Silicon Valley jury had awarded one of its units a $7.3 million settlement in an infringement case against Apple involving two smartphone patents.

Nokia, once the world’s dominant cellphone maker, missed out on the transition to smartphones triggered by Apple’s introduction of the iPhone in 2007.

BlackBerry Turns Over Phone Licensing To Manufacturer TCL

December 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

blackberry-building-150x150A week after it officially exited the smartphone market, BlackBerry has agreed to license its brand to handset manufacturer TCL.

The Chinese company will make and market future BlackBerry handsets worldwide except for India, Indonesia, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal, where BlackBerry has already struck local licensing deals.

This is hardly new territory for TCL, which manufactured BlackBerry’s last two handsets, the Android-based DTEK50 and DTEK60.

 BlackBerry has taken a more direct route out of the handset manufacturing business than Nokia, another of the marquee phone brands of the early years of this century. When Nokia sold its smartphone business to Microsoft, it also gave that company the right to use the Nokia brand for a transitional period. When Nokia got its name back earlier this year, it promptly granted a 10-year license to HMD Global, a Finnish company, to use its name on new phones.

Nokia and BlackBerry both failed to keep up with changes in the mobile market, Nokia belatedly realizing the importance of touch in smartphones then betting on the wrong operating system, and BlackBerry recognizing, too late, that its OS, although more secure than Android, could never compete without the support of app developers.

Unsurprisingly, both HMD and TCL are now betting on Android rather than BlackBerry OS or Windows Phone.

TCL has experience when it comes to resurrecting other companies’ brands. It bought the smartphone business that once belonged to French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel, and says it is now the number four phone brand in North America. It is on track to ship around 70 million phones this year, well over half of them smartphones.

BlackBerry isn’t just going to sit back and cash TCS’s royalty checks. While it is handing over responsibility for design, manufacturing, marketing, and supporting the phones to TCL, it will continue to develop its suite of security software and services for use in future phones.

TCL is keeping quiet about what comes after the DTEK50 and DTEK60 for now: It will announce its plans in the next few months.

Samsung First Adds 64-bit Chip To Gear S3 Smartwatch

December 19, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

samsung-gear-3-smartwatch-150x150Samsung  can celebrate being among the first to bring 64-bit chip technology to smartwatches.

The recently launched Samsung Gear S3 has some of the most advanced circuitry found in wearables, according to a teardown of the device by Linley Group.

Inside, engineers found a dual-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 processor running at 1.0GHz combined with high-definition graphics, memory, power management and LTE connectivity. That makes it roughly equivalent to a low-cost smartphone.

That’s notable because engineers typically fit much lower performance components into phones to keep power consumption down and battery life long.

Even with these components, the Gear S3 Frontier and Classic models offer a battery life of up to 3 days.

But what does this mean for consumers?

One advantage comes in image processing, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research. Paired with a good graphics processor, a 64-bit chip can get more processing done within fewer clock cycles, which means longer battery life.

The chip will also allow a more modern operating system to run, and that opens the way to new uses and applications that weren’t possible in the past. The Gear S3 has Tizen OS, which can now work with ARM-based 64-bit chips.

The teardown also found the Gear S3 has a Mali-T720 graphics processor, which is an interesting choice. The chip can handle high-definition video far beyond what’s required on the small 1.3-inch circular AMOLED display on Gear S3.

“Watching a movie on one’s wrist seems unlikely,” said Linley Gwennap, an analyst at Linley Group, but he noted the display processing in the watch could conceivably support higher resolution displays.

Additionally, the smartwatch has separate chips for LTE Cat 4 mode, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and NFC. It has a satellite navigation chip that works with the U.S. GPS, Russian Glonass, and Chinese Beidou systems.

Samsung used the 14-nm process to make the chipset for the Gear S3. It achieved high levels of integration that allowed it to shrink a 64-bit processor and 720p-capable GPU into a smartwatch.

 

Apple’s Postponed AirPod Headphones Finally Go On Sale

December 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

airpods-1-150x150Apple finally began selling the delayed AirPods, but the wireless headphones almost immediately predicted  a 2017 ship date.

The Cupertino, Calif. company warned customers that the product would be available in “limited quantities at launch.”

The $159 headphones — which resemble enlarged ear buds sans wires — debuted on Apple’s online store earlier Tuesday. Within minutes, the estimated ship date shifted from Dec. 21 to mid-January 2017.

 Apple introduced the AirPods in September, alongside the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus. At the time, executives said that the headphones would be available in October. Late in October, however, Apple confirmed that the AirPods were delayed, saying, “We need a little more time before AirPods are ready for our customers.”
Apple’s Tuesday press release did not offer a reason for the two-month delay, but added that the headphones will be available in Apple’s retail stores next week.

Today’s launch came just four days after a report by the Wall Street Journal, which claimed that the AirPods would miss the holiday selling season.

 

Will The U.S. IoT Have A Market Value Of One Half Billion By 2020?

December 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

A report by a research company is predicting that the internet of things (IoT) revenues will soar to be worth $500 million in 2020 in the USA alone.

Navigant Research which created the forecast, said that the IoT market covers not just only devices but includes secure data networks, software and services. Casey Talon, a principal research analyst at Navigant said: “If utilities seize the opportunity, they can leverage this to enhance customer offerings and increase customer engagement.”

By this, Talon is suggesting that utilities haven’t got their act together yet and should get on with developing, acquiring or making partnerships so that they can provide IoT enabled managed services.

He said that IoT in the utility field has the ability to give customers manage their energy independent from their utility company and that means re-thinking of business models to grab market share.

Talon estimates too that by 2020 there will be 1.7 million customers for IoT offerings.

Courtesy-Fud

New Nokia Phones Debut

December 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

nokia-logo-150x150HMD Global, the Finland-based firm that owns the rights to market the Nokia brand on mobile phones, announced its first new products on Tuesday – two basic handsets without internet access priced at $26 before local taxes and subsidies.

HMD said the Nokia 150 and Nokia 150 Dual SIM would go on sale in selected markets early next year.

The company, led by former Nokia executives, earlier this month took over the Nokia basic phone business from Microsoft and has struck a licensing deal with Nokia Oyj to bring the brand back to the smartphone market next year.

The basic phone business currently makes most of its sales in India, elsewhere in Asia and eastern Europe.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones. It sold all the handset activities to Microsoft in 2014 and is now focused on telecom network equipment.

Microsoft struggled to compete with the likes of Apple and Samsung in smartphones and has largely quit the phones business.

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