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Qualcomm Debuts The Snapdragon 845

December 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has just wrapped up the second Snapdragon technology event keynote and a small part of the keynote was the three year effort called the Snapdragon 845.

Alex Katouzian, a senior vice president and general manager of mobile for Qualcomm Technologies,  took the stage and announced the Snapdragon 845. He had a sample in his hand and didn’t really go into any details about the chip. Katouzian did mention that a SoC is a three year journey where the infrastructure partners play a big role. Of course, we want to know a bit more about CPU, GPU, DSP, Camera, AI and transistor count / battery life, but we were assured that we will be able to learn some of it tomorrow.

He did mention that they had six pillars when they designed the 845 SoC. They paid a lot of detail and attention to the camera and share performance and AI performance that can touch every app on the phone. VR, multimedia, and overall performance play a big role in the whole 845 SoC design as well as security and connectivity. These six pillars play a big role in shaping up the Snapdragon 845.

The chip is manufactured by Samsung, obviously its second generation 10nm design, but this is also something that we will have to wait for until tomorrow. The main announcer and the excellent host Cristiano Amon, an executive vice president of Qualcomm Technologies and president of QCT, had the Samsung fab guy on the stage. Dr. ES Joung the President and General manager of the foundry business at Samsung Electronics took the stage, which gave us a good indication which company is behind the chip.


Sprint, T-Mobile Ends Merger Talks

November 6, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc announced they have discontinued merger talks to create a stronger U.S. wireless to rival to market leaders, leaving No. 4 provider Sprint to engineer a turnaround on its own.

The announcement marks the latest failed attempt to combine the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless carriers, as Sprint parent SoftBank Group Corp, and T-Mobile parent, Deutsche Telekom AG, show an unwillingness to part with their prized U.S. telecom assets.

The companies’ unusual step of making a joint announcement on the canceled negotiations could indicate they still recognize the merits of a merger and could keep the door open for potential future talks.

The companies said they ended talks because they “were unable to find mutually agreeable terms.”

A combined company would have had more than 130 million U.S. subscribers, behind Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc.

John Legere, president and chief executive of T-Mobile, said in the statement that the prospect of combining with Sprint was compelling but “we have been clear all along that a deal with anyone will have to result in superior long-term value for T-Mobile’s shareholders compared to our outstanding stand-alone performance and track record.”

Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure said that even though the companies could not reach a deal, “we certainly recognize the benefits of scale through a potential combination.”

Claure said Sprint has agreed it is best to move forward on its own with “significant assets, including our rich spectrum holdings, and are accelerating significant investments in our network to ensure our continued growth.”

Failure to clinch an agreement leaves SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, a dealmaker who raised close to $100 billion for his Vision Fund to invest in technology companies, with the need to find another option for Sprint.

Sprint is in the middle of a turnaround plan and has sought to strengthen its balance sheet by cutting costs. But industry analysts have expressed concern that the company, weighed down with total debt of $38 billion, has few financial options. Even though its customer base has expanded under CEO Claure, growth has been driven by heavy discounting.

Claure said in August that while Sprint could sustain itself, cost savings from a transaction were significantly better than remaining a standalone entity.

Analysts said an end to talks to T-Mobile would leave debt-laden Sprint without the scale needed to invest in its network and to compete in a saturated market.

Sprint has sought to strengthen its balance sheet by cutting costs. To shore up cash over the past two years, the company has already mortgaged a portion of its airwaves and equipment through sale leaseback deals.

Mark Stodden, telecom analyst at Moody‘s, said “To really take the kind of next step from a business that has been stabilized to a business that has been growing is going to require a new more intense investment phase.”

T-Mobile is a better position than Sprint as a standalone company, analysts have said. German majority owner Deutsche Telekom, which owns roughly 65 percent of the U.S. carrier, was the first major carrier to eliminate two-year contracts, a shift quickly embraced by consumers and copied by competitors. The company has also badgered rivals with its unlimited data plans.

Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Höttges said in a statement on Saturday that T-Mobile has a “strong basis for growth in the upcoming years.”

Qualcomm To Go 10nm With 845 Processor

October 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm’s flagship SoCs are the leading-edge process and Fudzilla can now confirm that Snapdragon 845 SoC, likely to be presented this year, will be made on a 10nm FinFET manufacturing process.

Our sources believe that Samsung fabs are behind the SoC, and as some of you know, it is simply too early for 7nm. We expect to see 7nm solutions from everyone by the end of  next year. You know that Apple is pushing fabs to get the latest and greatest manufacturing process and A11 is also 10nm, so that is as good as it gets, at least in late 2017/early 2018.

Traditionally, Qualcomm announces its flagship chips in the latter part of the year and by that time, it is ready to ship it to its customers. Samsung S8 was the first with the Snapdragon 835 and we expect to see the upcoming Galaxy S9 featuring the Snapdragon 845 SoC. Of course, there is no confirmation on the 845 name, but media colleagues decided to use it and we are just playing along.

Samsung, of course, will have its own Exynos version of the Galaxy S9 phone with an updated successor to the 8895 possibly called Exynos 8900. Samsung did say that its 7 nanometer process is the first time that the company will use extreme ultraviolet (EUV) lithography and we can expect to see production in the second half of next year.

The Snapdragon 845 will feature an updated Kryo cores as well as a better Adreno GPU. The company has had quite some time to do a lot of optimisations on the 10nm process and we can expect decent gains in performance compared to the Snapdragon 835. The Adreno GPU will offer further optimisations for the VR, AR and XR as well as slightly faster clocks and gains. 

It will serve as a reminder that Nvidia’s flagship Volta chip is on 12nm and hasn’t even got to 10nm yet, while the mobile phone industry is getting ready for 7nm next year and the second generation 10nm this year. 


T-Mobile, Sprint Edge Closer To Merger

September 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

 T-Mobile US Inc is has moved closer to agreeing on tentative terms to merge with Sprint Corp, people familiar with the matter said on Friday, a major breakthrough in efforts to merge the third and fourth largest U.S. wireless carriers.

The transaction would significantly consolidate the U.S. telecommunications market and represent the first transformative U.S. merger with significant antitrust risk to be agreed since the inauguration of U.S. President Donald Trump in January.

The progress toward a deal also indicates that T-Mobile and Sprint believe that the U.S. antitrust enforcement environment has become more favorable since the companies abandoned their previous effort to combine in 2014 amid regulatory concerns.

The latest development in the talks between T-Mobile and Sprint comes as the telecommunications sector seeks ways to tackle investments in 5G technology that will greatly enhance wireless data transfer speeds.

Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, which controls Sprint, and other Sprint shareholders will own 40 to 50 percent of the combined company, while T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom and the rest of T-Mobile shareholders will own the majority, the sources said.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son met with Trump late last year and said in February that the Japanese firm should benefit from Trump’s promised deregulation.

Once terms are finalized, due diligence by the two companies will follow and a deal is expected by the end of October, though talks may still fall through, the sources said.

T-Mobile, Sprint Merger Talks Heat Up

September 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile and Sprint are a hot topic in the world of wireless.

The nation’s third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers are in active discussions for a merger, according to a person familiar with the talks. It could take anywhere between three and five weeks before the deal might be made official, although there’s no guarantee it will go through. CNBC’s David Faber was the first to report on the talks.

A merger would mark the culmination of years of flirting between T-Mobile and Sprint. The combined company would have a shot at shaking up the industry, sizable enough to compete with larger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T. But opponents of a deal say the presence of four carriers has resulted in stiffer competition, lower prices and better deals for consumers.

Both companies have made their impact felt on the industry over the last few years. T-Mobile eliminated contracts and phone subsidies and last year led the push to bring unlimited plans back to the industry in a bigger way. Sprint introduced the concept of a phone leasing plan and this year began offering a year of its service for free.

They’ve tried to merge before. Sprint’s parent, Japanese carrier SoftBank, tried to strike a deal with T-Mobile majority shareholder Deutsche Telekom back in 2014, but dropped its attempt when the government signaled that it favored four national competitors. But with a more business-friendly White House in place, the companies are attempting to get together again.

Under the proposed deal, Deutsche Telekom would be the majority shareholder, and T-Mobile CEO John Legere would run the company with his management team. SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son would have a minority stake in the combined company.

Wall Street analysts and industry players have long called for the two to combine in an effort to challenge Verizon and AT&T. A combination would mean a heftier customer base and could lead to more retail outlets across the country and greater oomph in bargaining for network equipment at a lower price.

Qualcomm Develops New Chipset For Autonomous Cars

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has introduced a new Cellular Vehicle-to-Everything (C-V2X) chipset and reference design that aims to bring automakers one step closer to deploying the communications systems necessary for fully autonomous vehicles.

Ford, Audi, the PSA Group and SAIC are all endorsing the new chipset which means that it will get out there. 

Qualcomm says that the 9150 C-V2X chipset will be available for commercial sampling in the second half of 2018, and is based on specs from the 3rd Generation Partnership Project (3GPP). This is a collaboration between groups of telecommunications associations.

Qualcomm’s C-V2X reference design will feature the 9150 C-V2X chipset, an application processor running the Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) V2X stack, as well as a Hardware Security Module (HSM). C-V2X technology encompasses two transmission modes: direct communications and network-based communications. It’s key for both safety features and for implementing autonomous driving capabilities.

Its direct communications capabilities improve a vehicle’s situational awareness by detecting and exchanging information using low latency transmissions. Relying on the globally harmonized 5.9 GHz ITS band, the 9150 C-V2X chipset can relay information on vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V), vehicle-to-infrastructure (V2I) and vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) scenarios without the need for a Subscriber Identity Module (SIM), cellular subscription or network assistance. On top of that, C-V2X network-based communications – designed for 4G and emerging 5G wireless networks – supports telematics, connected infotainment and a growing number of advanced informational safety use cases.


Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 625 Moving Into The Camera Space

September 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon enables 360-degree 4K video capture and live-streaming, spatial “surround-sound” audio recording.

When launched in 2013, the Ricoh Theta was the world’s first 360-degree, single-shot camera, which easily let users capture and express themselves in new and unique ways. 360-degree still photos and videos redefined photography by giving the viewer the ability to control what he or she sees in a scene. In addition, the resulting 360-degree images were easily shared with others, allowing them to virtually experience a scene.

Today, Ricoh Imaging announced its latest update in the 360-degree camera line, the Ricoh Theta V camera, offering 360-degree 4K video capture and live-streaming, spatial “surround-sound” audio recording and high-speed image transfer.  The Theta V can connect to and be controlled by any Android or iOS-based smartphone or tablet using the Theta S app. The first type of connection is either via Bluetooth low energy (BLE), which enables an “always on” connection between a camera and phone.  The second uses Wi-Fi.  Supporting two connections allow for  greater flexibility in how they wirelessly control the camera and upload images through the Theta S app. The processor powering the camera is the Qualcomm Snapdragon 625, and makes use of the Qualcomm Connected Camera Platform.  There is 19GB of built-in storage which allows for up to 4,800 stills and approximately 40 minutes of 4K (H.264) video to be stored.

In addition to standard features, the Ricoh Theta V is the first Street View Mobile Ready camera to be certified by Google. This distinction means that Ricoh Theta V owners will be the first to experience the all-new auto mode, which lets you create Google Street View imagery while you walk, bike or even drive.

The Ricoh Theta V is available for pre-sale today for $429.95 at and retail outlets in the USA. The 3D Microphone TA-1 is also available today for $269.99, and the Underwater Case TW-1 will be available in October for $199.95.


Virgin Mobile Expands $1 A Year Unlimited Data Deal To Existing iPhone Owners

August 25, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Virgin Mobile is ramping up its plans to woo Apple users in a big way.

Now any iPhone owner willing to switch to Virgin can get in on its deal of 12 months of unlimited data for $1.

When the deal launched in June, it was limited to those buying a new phone, which at the time was the real catch. Now, however, any iPhone owner who brings his or her number to Virgin will get the same deal.

After the first year, users are switched to the company’s standard unlimited data plan at $50 month. They’ll get an additional six months of service for $1, however, if they upgrade to a new phone.

But don’t wait too long. Virgin didn’t announce a deadline for the offer but said the deal is available for only a “short period of time.”

Virgin, one of the prepaid arms of Sprint, first announced the $1-a-year service, dubbed Inner Circle, as part of a radical transformation, including no longer selling Android phones.

By going all-in on iPhones, Virgin Mobile is trying to lift its reputation and go after wealthier customers. The move also gets Virgin Mobile into Apple’s retail stores, the first time a prepaid carrier has had a presence there.

The  $1 offer was less jaw-dropping after parent Sprint offered a year of free service. But the key difference is the Sprint offer is a low-key, limited experiment, while Virgin’s deal is considered the new norm.

T-Mobile Touts Phone Plan For Senior Citizens

August 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Over the last several years, T-Mobile has transformed itself into the rebel “un-carrier” attempting to woo a younger, hipper crowd.

Now, it’s going after their parents and grandparents.

The nation’s third-largest carrier on Monday introduced a new rate plan specifically designed for consumers who are 55 and older. The plan, which includes unlimited data, voice and text messages, costs $50 a month for an individual line and $60 for a couple. Like other T-Mobile One plans, the rates include the taxes and fees.

The normal price is $70 for a single line, and $120 for two lines (although there’s currently a limited promotion that brings it down to $100). Customers will be able to sign up for the plan starting Wednesday.

The program, coined T-Mobile ONE Unlimited 55+, marks a departure from the usual wireless promotions that go after younger customers or families. It’s another sign of the broader move by the carriers to offer more incentives to people to stick around or switch to their service. In this case, it’s targeting a segment that hasn’t gotten a lot of love.

“We’re bringing the un-carrier revolution to people who are underserved and overpriced,” Chief Commercial Officer Andrew Sherrard said in an interview on Friday ahead of the news.

Sherrard said the push to go beyond younger consumers in big markets comes from T-Mobile’s expansion of its wireless network into areas outside of major cities.

“We’ve done phenomenally well with millennials and in urban centers,” Sherrard said. “Now we have an amazing opportunity to move beyond that.”

He noted that the older age demographic represents the fastest growing group of smartphone adopters and users.

The rate includes a discount when you enroll in its auto-pay function. Customers who don’t want to sign up for auto-pay will pay $5 extra each month.

Will The Snapdragon 836 Processor Debut With The Pixel 2

July 27, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

A few chaps are implying that Note 8 might be the first phone to have an updated and faster Snapdragon 836, but we learned that Pixel 2 is more likely the one. 

This comes as hardly a surprise as Qualcomm plans to introduce the faster version of the chip and that Google wants it first. The same scenario happened last year as Pixel and Pixel XL were the first phones with the updated Snapdragon 821. The new Pixel, according to our industry friends, has a smaller chip and you can expect better quality pictures too.

Of course, Snapdragon 836 won’t be exclusive to anyone as the usual suspects such as Xiaomi and many others plan to have a refresh of the phones based on this chip. The Galaxy Note 8 is, as far as we know, going to use the Snapdragon 835.

You can expect a similar scene with the Snapdragon 836, the base clock will either change slightly or not at all, but the maximal clock speed for both GPU and CPU will increase. The result will be a slightly faster SoC with some battery life improvements.

Qualcomm had a few months to further optimize the SoC and enable slightly faster speeds at slightly lower power.   


T-Mobile Continues Winning Streak, Adds 1.3M New Customers

July 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

The nation’s third-largest mobile carrier said it added 1.3 million net new customers in the second quarter, aided largely by the 786,000 new phone customers on a post-paid plan, or who pay at the end of the month. The figure topped at least one Wall Street firm’s expectations.

The numbers underscore the fact that despite the rival carriers throwing themselves at you for your business, T-Mobile continues to win over new customers. The heightened pressure has resulted in more deals for consumers, including Sprint offering a year of service for free(excluding taxes and fees), and its prepaid arm Virgin Mobile going with an all-iPhone model with a rate of $1 for the first year of service. AT&T is throwing its DirecTV Now streaming service into its unlimited plan for $10 extra. Likewise, it was the first full quarter that Verizon offered its unlimited plan.

T-Mobile, conversely, has been relatively tame and quietly raised the price of its One Plus unlimited plan by $10, matching the price of Verizon’s $80 unlimited data plan.

Unlike in previous quarters, T-Mobile is the first of the big carriers to report results, so we won’t know for sure how well it fared relative to its competitors. The company has consistently outstripped its rivals in subscriber growth, leading the industry for 14 straight quarters.

One weak spot during the second quarter was T-Mobile’s prepaid business, which only saw 94,000 new customers, potentially because of the Virgin plan. T-Mobile sells prepaid service through its MetroPCS brand.

“MetroPCS continues to perform strongly, but we chose not to respond to irrational offers from some of our competitors during the second quarter,” T-Mobile said in its earnings report.

T-Mobile posted a second-quarter profit of $581 million, or 67 cents, compared with a year-ago profit of $225 million, or 25 cents a share. Revenue rose 10 percent to $10.2 billion.

Analysts, on average, estimated T-Mobile would earn 38 cents a share and post revenue of $9.8 billion, according to Yahoo Finance.

AT&T Offers ZTE’s Blade Spark Smartphone For Only $99

July 18, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

These days, low-cost and durable smartphones that will stretch your dollar aren’t too hard to find. Case in point is the newest offering from AT&T and ZTE: the Blade Spark.

Available as a prepaid phone, the Blade Spark features a fingerprint reader, a 1.4GHz Snapdragon processor and Android Nougat 7.1.1. Given that it only costs $99, too, the phone is a good deal for anyone looking for a budget phone.

The Blade Spark (which has a design that reminds me a lot of 2014’s Motorola Moto X from the back) also has a 5.5-inch display, a 13-megapixel camera and a 5-megapixel front-facing shooter that has its own dedicated button on the edge of the phone to fire off the shutter.

Other devices to consider around this price range is the $185 Motorola Moto G5 Plus and the Samsung Galaxy J3, which starts at $110. For more about budget phones, check out our top 10 picks for cheap phones we love.

Virgin Mobile Dropping Android Phones, Focusing On iPhones Only

June 23, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Virgin, one of the prepaid providers of Sprint, announced at an event in San Francisco that it would cease to sell Android phones and exclusively focus on iPhones. To sweeten the deal, Virgin said the first year of unlimited talk, text messages and data will cost $1, and customers will get perks like a free companion ticket for a round-trip flight to the UK on Virgin Atlantic.

The service, dubbed Inner Circle, begins next Tuesday, but preorders are being accepted immediately.

The move marks a radical shift for what had been a ho-hum prepaid carrier steamrolled by similar competitors like T-Mobile’s MetroPCS and AT&T’s Cricket Wireless. By going all-in on iPhones, Virgin Mobile is trying to lift its reputation and go after wealthier customers. The move also gets Virgin Mobile into Apple’s retail stores, the first time a prepaid carrier has had a presence there.

Virgin’s $1 offer is less jaw-dropping after parent Sprint offered a year of free service. But the key difference is the Sprint offer is a low-key, limited experiment, while Virgin’s deal is the new norm, according to Dow Draper, CEO of Virgin Mobile USA.

“It’s not often as a brand you get a chance to reposition yourself,” he said in an interview Tuesday. “We know you gotta have a compelling offer.”

To qualify for the service, you need to buy an iPhone from an Apple store or through the Virgin Mobile site. After the year is up, the service reverts to $50 a month. After two years of service, Virgin will offer six months for $1 if customers buy a new iPhone.

The iPhone-only model could be an impediment to many of Virgin’s traditionally budget-conscious customers. The iPhone SE starts at $279, while the cheapest phone previously available at Virgin was an $80 LG phone (which ended up being $50 with a discount). In the fall, Virgin will begin selling used iPhones that range from $199 to $449, Draper said.

Virgin’s national retail partners will continue to sell Android phones under an existing agreement, but Draper said he’s working to phase that out.

Sprint’s “free” offer did include a number of fees, and Virgin’s is no different. The $1 annual fee is broken up into 12 monthly payments, and there’s a tax on that amount. In addition, customers are responsible for local, state and federal taxes typically associated with phone service.

Qualcomm Looks Past Samsung

June 20, 2017 by  
Filed under Computing

Qualcomm has ended its foundry relationship with Samsung and opted for TSMC to produce its next-generation 7 nm semiconductor chips.

It has been a bad year for Samsung, it has also lost the Apple contract to produce its iPhone application processors (AP).

Samsung will not see all this impact straight away. It is entrusted to produce Qualcomm’s 10 nm APs and modem chips, but its operation rate of its factories will drop sharply starting from next year.

Qualcomm has been designing and developing its next-generation 7 nm Snapdragon AP by using chip development tool distributed by TSMC since second half of last year.

It wants to mass-produce 7 nm Snapdragon APs between end of this year and early next year after first test wafer is manufactured from TSMC in this September and after it is done with designing of package and verification process.

Samsung Electronics’ foundry business saw sales last year of $4.44 billion. Sales from producing Qualcomm’s APs and modem chips are around $1.78 billion and they take up about 40 per cent of entire sales from foundry business.

The company has suffered because its 7 nm chips were delayed. TSMC focused on developing 7 nm process while skipping over 10 nm process. Besides Apple, no one else really wanted customers with a 10 nm process, which was what Samsung wanted to make.

Samsung concentrated on 10 nm process because it thought it would last for a long time.

Samsung Electronics recently added an 8 nm process between 10nm process and 7 nm process.

However the 8nm process is a ‘minor upgraded version’ of 10nm process that has reduced width of some circuits and shares same development tool as 10nm.

The next-generation Exynos AP, which will be mass-produced by Samsung Electronics’ System LSI Business Department early next year, will be produced through 8nm process.

Mass-production of Samsung Electronics’ 7nm chips will be possible in second half of next year when next Galaxy Note series is planned to be released.

Meanwhile TSMC supplied its 7nm process kit to its customers during second half of last year, Samsung Electronics’ first beta version of 7nm process is supposed to be out in this July.


Sprint Offering A Free Year Of Service

June 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint just dropped the competition gauntlet.

With a banner headline that reads, “Stopped feeling ripped-off by Verizon,” the mobile carrier is offering one free year of service when you bring your own phone.

Now for the fine print. Hang on, something’s wrong with the fine print, because I can’t find a single major catch. According to the offer page, you get to keep your existing phone and phone number, bypass annual contracts and activation fees (the latter normally $30) and get one full year of Sprint Unlimited.

After that, regular rates apply: $60 per month — with price breaks per line if you have additional ones. (For example, $40 for the second line, $30 for the third and so on.)

What does Sprint Unlimited net you? Unlimited talk, text and 4G LTE data, including 1080p video streaming and 10GB of mobile-hotspot data (though it’s not clear whether that’s per month or over the course of the entire year).

Who’s eligible? New Sprint customers only, and you have to be migrating from AT&T, T-Mobile or Verizon. The offer ends June 30.

Upfront costs? You’ll need a SIM card ($2.99), and overnight shipping adds $10. You’ll also have to pay that $30 activation fee, but you’ll get it back after two months. Beyond that, Sprint charges a “standard $1.99 admin fee and $0.40 regulatory fee,” and “other taxes and fees apply” as well.

So, that’s the catch: This isn’t really free. It’s just very, very cheap. For a few bucks per month, you can get unlimited phone service. Wow. Just, wow.

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