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Processors Continue Downward Trend

February 22, 2012 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Analyst over at Carnegie have said that world chip sales are likely to be only $22.7billion in January, compared to $23.8 billion in December.

Seasonally adjusted, that would be down 1-2 per cent on a monthly basis and mean that actual chip sales will likely fall 15-16 per cent on a yearly basis. The reason for the fall, the analysts say, is due to disk drive shortages in Thailand which have forced costs to rise. The PC market is likely to be more back-loaded this year, the report notes.

Handset chip sales were likely also soft in January. Chips for cars were softer after a strong December. Other quirks, such as an early Chinese New Year also contributed the low figures in January. Although several chip makers indicated the inventory problems in fourth quarter had ended, Carnegie thinks that the indicator shows that the trend will continue into this year.

PC’s are the biggest chip users, followed by cell phones. Cars, appliances, base stations, and instruments are other significant users, the analyst said.

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Courtesy-Fud

SoC To Be Used in Slim XBOX 360s

June 13, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

The latest fad of using SoC (System-o-Chip) processor will be incorporated into the new Slim Xbox 360 according to Microsoft, which cuts down on two processors. According to Microsoft the chip was designed by IBM/Global Foundries is using a 45nm process and combines the tri-core CPU, AMD/ATI GPU, dual channel memory controller, and I/O onto a single chip with a new front side bus. This technological design is similar to the methods used by AMD’s Fusion and Intel’s Sandy Bridge offerings.

As you the true reason for Microsoft to use SoC is to reduce cost.  That said, it also reduces heat and increases power efficiency; these are two areas that Microsoft has improved upon with each generation of Xbox 360 that has been released.

The new SoC will have 372 million transistors that took Microsoft development team 5 years of research to bring to life.  It is said that Microsoft wanted to pay special attention to guaranteeing compatibility, implemented precision latency and bandwidth throttling that perfectly impersonates the older Xbox systems which used separate chips to make up older XBOX 360s.  Now I wonder if Microsoft will drop the Xbox 360 price even more in the Fall.

 

Microsoft To Announce Major Windows Phone 7 Update Today

May 24, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Everyone is gathering in NYC this morning where Microsoft is scheduled to announce an update to it fledging Windows Phone 7 OS.

Originally everyone thought the update would be called Windows Phone 7.5.  However, we are hearing that it will be called Windows Phone 7.1 that will encompass a plethora of improvements. That said, the improvements will include IE 9, smoother integration with Microsoft Office, an automated Facebook sign-in feature, along with improved voice support, navigation and visual voicemail. WiFi tethering is expected to be a part of the new features.

Do not expect these major updates to your phone until the Fall at the earliest.

 

Windows Phone 7 Security Update Goes Live

May 4, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft has just released into the wild another security patch for its Windows Phone 7 OS. The patch is designed for Secure Socket Layer certificates that Comodo issued after it was compromised by an Iranian hacker last March.

Unfortunately, the patch was not included in the NoDo update 7390; the new security patch is version 7392 for the operating system.  However, the new security patch does include the NoDo update.  Therefore, the patch would only be available for those phones that have not updated to NoDo.  Keep in mind, there are a few carries that have yet to allow any updates for their Windows Phones because they are in test mode.

As with all major operating systems that are attached to many different smartphones, Microsoft is experiencing a few problems rolling out the updates to Samsung handsets. Certain users are complaining that updates had been halted because Samsung used two different suppliers to provide parts for the Focus.  Therefore there are two different models with slightly different flash memory components. Those users who had the original components are receiving the update; handsets with the alternative parts are not which can be very perplexing when issuing an update.   Word on the street is that Microsoft said the update package is nearly ready.

 

Windows Phone 7 Update Finally Arrives

April 20, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

After almost turning delays into an art form, Microsoft has finally begun to push out software updates to users of select Windows Phone 7 models including Samsung’s Focus and LG’s Quantum, following more than a month of delays.

Microsoft and AT&T are still testing updates for the HTC Surround, the last phone model that still needs the updates.

Focus and Quantum users will receive a notification indicating that the updates are ready. They can then download over the air the February update, which was designed to make the process easier, as well as the so-called NoDo update, which includes the capability to cut and paste.

The phones automatically checks for new updates every three days, said Eric Hautala, general manager of customer experience engineering for Microsoft. So users may have to wait several days for both updates. However, they can instead connect their phones to their PCs and download the updates via the Zune software manually.

Microsoft has struggled to roll out these first two updates to the Windows Phone 7 software. Shortly after it began pushing out the February update, it discovered that the new software rendered the Samsung phones unusable for some owners.

The company then delayed the NoDo update in order to try to avoid any similar problems. It has seemed to shift some of the blame for the delay in pushing out the updates to carriers, saying that some operators take longer than others to test the software before approving it.

In a blog post earlier this month, Hautala said that the delays with the first two updates shouldn’t affect a larger one scheduled for later this year.

That software update, called Mango, will include a new HTML 5-friendly version of Internet Explorer and a Twitter feature.

University Scientist Create Millimeter Computer

March 8, 2011 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Scientist at the University of Michigan have created the first of it kind millimeter-scale computing system.

The tiny computer is being called the Phoenix chip, its size is 1 cubic millimeter and was made to be used in the human eye. The little computer does not have a lot on its plate.  The Phoenix has the job of monitoring the intraocular pressure of glaucoma patients, do not be fooled by the assumed simple task,  the device is considered a computer by all technical standards.

Researcher Dennis Sylvester, a professor at the University of Michigan says the Phoenix computer comprised of an ultra-low-power microprocessor, a pressure sensor, memory, a ultra slim battery, a solar cell and a wireless radio with an antenna that can transmit data to an external device.

The Phoenix amazingly uses only 5.3 nanowatts while in use, otherwise it sleeps.  The researchers profess that such tiny computers will one day be utilized to track pollution, monitor structural integrity, perform surveillance, or make virtually any object smart and track-able.

We are always glad to see Universities lead with amazing research to make our lives better.

Sprint Begins Pre-Order Of Its First WP7 Device

February 25, 2011 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Sprint on Thursday officially began taking pre-orders for the HTC Arrive, its first mobile device to offer Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 operating system.

The phone, which runs Qualcomm’s 1GHz Snapdragon processor, contains a slide-out keyboard and a display that tilts upward for easier viewing. It also comes equipped with a 5MP camera and 720p HD camcorder and checks in at 6.5 ounces.

Like all Windows Phone 7 devices, the Arrive also features Microsoft’s Live Tiles interface, which pushes real-time updates from e-mails, social networks, and other communications tools to the forefront of the home screen. It also boasts direct integration with Microsoft other products such as Office, Zune, and Xbox Live.

MS Office integration, in particular, could be enough to lure business users to make an investment in the Arrive.

Sprint is taking pre-orders at $199 per phone, based on a two-year contract, and is promising to ship the phones on March 20. Other carriers, including AT&T with its Samsung Focus and LG Quantum, and T-Mobile with the HTC HD7, have already dropped the price of their 2-year-plan Windows Phone 7 smartphones to $99 since introducing the products late last year.

Some observers feel it’s a sign that Windows Phone 7 is losing momentum in the market after the early hype that followed its debut. Microsoft hasn’t provided many details about Windows Phone 7′s sales performance to date.

Sprint’s HTC offering will also have to compete, eventually, with Windows Phone 7 devices from Nokia.

Microsoft announced an agreement last week under which the Finnish phone maker will utilize Windows Phone 7 as the default OS for smartphones to be sold worldwide. Microsoft is betting the alliance will give Windows Phone 7 a fighting chance against Android and iOS-based devices from rivals Google and Apple.

IBM Puts Efforts Into Developing Quantum Computing

November 11, 2010 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Ramped-up research efforts at IBM and other labs in the U.S. and Europe could lead to more powerful and more available quantum computers in the near future.

IBM is breathing new life into a quantum computing research division at its Thomas J. Watson Research Center, reports New York Times. The computer giant has hired alumni from promising quantum computing programs at Yale and the University of California-Santa Barbara, both of which made quantum leaps in the past year using standard superconducting material.

Groups at both universities have been using rhenium or niobium on a semiconductor surface and cooling the system to absolute zero so that it exhibits quantum behavior. As the Times reports, the method relies on standard microelectronics manufacturing tech, which could make quantum computers easier and cheaper to make.

The Santa Barbara researchers told the Times they believe they can double the computational power of their quantum computers by next year.

Rather than using transistors to crunch the ones and zeroes of binary code, quantum computers store data as qubits, which can represent one and zero simultaneously. This superposition enables the computers to solve multiple problems at once, providing quick answers to tough questions. But observing a qubit strips it of this duality — you can only see one state at a time — so physicists must figure out how to extract data from a qubit without directly observing it. That’s where quantum entanglement comes in handy; two qubits can be connected by an invisible wave so that they share each other’s properties. You could then watch one qubit to see what its twin is computing.

None of this is simple, however; there are several competing methods for making the qubits, including laser-entangled ions, LED-powered entangled photons, and more. Google is working with a Canadian firm called D-Wave that has claimed 50-qubit computers, although skeptics have questioned that number. In most systems, the number of entangled qubits remains small, but Yale researchers believe they will increase in the next few years, the Times says.

Even better: with all this practice, physicists are getting a lot better at controlling quantum interactions. Their precision has increased a thousand-fold, one researcher said. That’s good news for anyone studying quantum mechanics.