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Does ASUS Have A New Mobile GPU In Waiting?

May 27, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Asus has dropped a bomb ahead of the Computex 2016 by teasing Nvidia’s upcoming mobile Geforce GPU which is actually faster than desktop GTX Titan X.

Teased at its Republic of Gamers website, Asus did not reveal a lot of information but it did show a screenshot of the 3DMark 11 where the new mystery GPU scores above GTX Titan X.

While it is obviously based on Nvidia’s new Pascal GPU architecture, there are few information regarding the new mystery GPU, but rumors suggest that this might be the GTX 1080m.

Nvidia might have gone the same way it did with the GTX 980 for notebooks and has released a fully-enabled GP104 GPU with 2560 CUDA cores as the score is pretty much identical to the desktop GTX 1080. The GTX 1080m could end up with a GDDR5 memory and not the GDDR5X as the desktop GTX 1080, which should make it more similar to the upcoming GTX 1070.

According to the results, the new mobile GPU scores P20811 in 3DMark 11, which is significantly higher than the GTX 980 Ti and even a higher score than GTX Titan X.

We will certainly keep an eye on this mystery GPU and hopefully Asus will reveal a bit more information before Computex 2016 show where the official announcement is expected.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Chromebook Outpacing Mac Notebook In U.S. Sales

May 25, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

More personal computers powered by Google’s Chrome OS shipped in the U.S. during the first quarter than those built on Apple’s OS X in the same period, IDC  has confirmed.

“Chrome PCs overall, including Chrome desktop units like the Chromebox, out-shipped all Apple personal computers, desktop plus notebook, in the U.S. for Q1,” said Jay Chou, one of several IDC analysts who track device shipments, in an email reply to questions.

Chromebooks, the inexpensive notebooks that run Chrome OS, also out-shipped Apple’s MacBook, MacBook Air and MacBook Pro notebooks in the U.S. The first-quarter battle wasn’t even close, according to the notebook-only shipment numbers Chou provided.

Apple shipped an estimated 1.17 million Mac notebooks in the U.S. during the first three months of 2016; IDC said 1.6 million Chrome OS notebooks shipped in the same span.

In other words, 37% more Chromebooks shipped than Mac notebooks.

Last week, Tom Warren of The Verge reported that Chrome OS hardware had out-shipped OS X-equipped Macs after speaking with one of Chou’s colleagues. Subsequently, numerous other outlets, including blogs and mainstream media websites, picked up Warren’s report.

IDC’s shipment data for Chrome OS and OS X systems were estimates generated using information from vendors and Asian component suppliers. Google, which developed Chrome OS, does not reveal shipment numbers: Most Chromebooks originate from third-party OEMs (original equipment manufacturers), including Acer, Asus, Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo. And although Apple disclosed global Mac sales in its April 26 earnings call with Wall Street, it did not break down that figure by geographic region.

That IDC’s numbers were estimates only was clear when comparing the research firm’s forecast to Apple’s stated sales for the first quarter. Prior to April 26 — when Apple said it had sold 4.03 million Macs worldwide – IDC had projected global Mac shipments at 4.47 million, or about 10% too high.

 

 

 

Are Transparent Displays On The Horizon?

May 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Almost every sci-fi telivision program has tablets and monitors which are transparent and it seems that Samsung has finally build them. The only problem is that they are not that great to use.

Samsung unveiled the first commercial installation of its cutting-edge mirror display at an upscale hair salon in Seoul, South Korea. The 55-inch display units act as a mirror while playing media over the mirrored image.

The display represents a (90%) transparent layer over an underlying mirror, and is a genuinely transparent display. The Planar LookThru OLED Series offered something similar but cost too much for the great unwashed to use.

Using Intel 3-D camera technology, Samsung’s displays can also show customers in different hair styles, colors and trends, allowing the hairdressers at the Leekaja Hairbis’ Jamsil salon to provide customized, interactive consultations with their clients. Samsung expects mirror displays to be used in retail, interior design, furniture and fashion markets in the future. Similar 55-inch Samsung mirror displays will be available for purchase worldwide in fall 2016.

The Samsung mirror display ML55E provides 90 per cent  transparency and 55 per cent reflectivity, designed to minimize visual distraction and provide clarity, both in the reflective mirror surface and in the media content overlays.   It has been suggested that the technology could be a money spinner –  one study shows the market for plastic and flexible OLED displays is expected to rise to $16 billion by 2020, with TV and industrial/professional use to make up half of the market share.

But the tech is still pretty expensive. One unbranded transparent OLED screen will set you back $1190.00. But there is another problem. Transparent OLED displays might work in sci-fi movie directors, but that is because they allow the camera to interact better with actors in a hard to film situation. Practically though see-through displays which have no touch capability are all really only useful in the exhibition sector.

Courtesy-Fud

 

In-Home Tech Support Companies HelloTech, Geekatoo Merging

May 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Los Angeles-based startup HelloTech and rival in-home tech support company Geekatoo announced that they have merged, in a sign of consolidation in the hotly competitive on-demand sector.

HelloTech will combine its network of about 150 college students who provide on-demand tech repair to Southern California consumers with Geekatoo’s U.S. network of about 5,000 technicians, the companies said in a joint statement.

The merger connects HelloTech with Geekatoo’s national market and provides Geekatoo with more access to venture capital funding, HelloTech co-founder Richard Wolpert said in an interview.

HelloTech, which launched about a year ago, has raised $17 million from investors, while 5-year-old Geekatoo has raised close to $3 million.

“You could either use capital to expand really quickly or you could merge with a company like Geekatoo that had already spent money doing this,” said Mark Suster, managing partner at Upfront Ventures, which backed HelloTech.

The new company keeps the HelloTech name and will be led by Wolpert. He said the deal was a stock transaction, rather than a cash payment, but declined to provide further details.

Both companies dispatch in-home tech support within hours of a request to fix a wonky printer, install a new TV or troubleshoot WiFi problems, among other services.

HelloTech hit a few bumps last year after launching, with some negative customer feedback that its workforce of predominantly college students was unprofessional.

Wolpert said the company has worked out the glitches. HelloTech has a five-star rating on customer review site Yelp.

Geekatoo Executive Chairman Christian Shelton saw demand for tech services rising as more people add internet-connected devices – such as the smart thermostat Nest or WiFi camera Dropcam – to their homes.

The U.S. tech support industry makes about $30 billion in annual revenue, according to research by Parks Associates, a consulting firm.

“The opportunity is massive,” Wolpert said.

The company’s main competition is Geek Squad, a tech support service founded in 1994 and owned by big-box retailer Best Buy.

HelloTech targets baby boomers with disposable income to spend on new gadgets and someone to help get them up and running.

“There is enormous wealth in the baby boomer generation,” Suster said, and their “digital lives are becoming increasingly complicated.”

 

 

UPS And SAP To Offer On-demand 3D Printing Service

May 23, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

UPS and SAP announced plans to offer a distributed, on-demand manufacturing network based on 3D printing that will be available through The UPS Store in more than 60 locations around the U.S.

3D printed goods will also be available through UPS’ Fast Radius on-demand production platform and its 3D printing factory in Louisville, KY.

“The integration into one additive manufacturing and logistics solution this summer will make 3D printing accessible to more potential users, enabling them to realize the convenience and cost-savings this technology offers,” UPS said in a statement.

Users can visit the Fast Radius website (formerly CloudDDM) to place 3D printing orders, which will be transferred to the closest 3D manufacturing or UPS Store location based on speed, geography and the product quality the customer requires.

Some orders can be completed and shipped the same day, UPS said. The service is not limited to U.S.-based customers; UPS will take orders globally.

The new service integrates SAP’s extended supply chain software with UPS’s 3D printing machines and logistics network, enabling “on-demand industrial manufacturing for companies of all sizes,” UPS said.

“SAP customers will be able to digitize and simplify the production part approval process through SAP and their orders can be seamlessly routed to UPS for production and delivery,” the company said.

Stan Deans, president, UPS Global Distribution & Logistics, said “additive manufacturing technology is still developing rapidly so manufacturing as a service is a smart approach for many companies.”

 

 

 

Hacker Offering 167 Million LinkedIn User Records For Sale

May 20, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

A hacker is attempting to sell a database dump containing account records for 167 million LinkedIn users.

The announcement was posted on a dark market website called TheRealDeal by a user who wants 5 bitcoins, or around $2,200, for the data set that supposedly contains user IDs, email addresses and SHA1 password hashes for 167,370,940 users.

According to the sale ad, the dump does not cover LinkedIn’s complete database. Indeed, LinkedIn claims on its website to have more than 433 million registered members.

Troy Hunt, the creator of Have I been pwned?, a website that lets users check if they were affected by known data breaches, said it’s highly likely for the leak to be legitimate. He had access to around 1 million records from the data set.

“I’ve seen a subset of the data and verified that it’s legit,” Hunt said.

LinkedIn suffered a data breach back in 2012, which resulted in 6.5 million user records and password hashes being posted online. It’s highly possible that the 2012 breach was actually larger than previously thought and that the rest of the stolen data is surfacing now.

LinkedIn did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Attempts to contact the seller failed, but the administrators of LeakedSource, a data leak indexing website, claim to also have a copy of the data set and they believe that the records originate from the 2012 LinkedIn breach.

When the 6.5 million LinkedIn password hashes were leaked in 2012, hackers managed to crack over 60 percent of them. The same thing is likely true for the new 117 million hashes, so they cannot be considered safe.

Worse still, it’s very likely that many LinkedIn users that were affected by this leak haven’t changed their passwords since 2012. Hunt was able to verify that for at least one HIBP subscriber whose email address and password hash was in the new data set that is now up for sale.

Many people affected by this breach are also likely to have reused their passwords in multiple places on the Web, Hunt said via email.

 

 

 

 

Apple To Open Maps Product Development Center In India

May 20, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Moving forward with his attempt to attract Indian customers and developers, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook announced that the company was setting up a new development center for its Maps product in Hyderabad in south India.

Apple earlier on Wednesday announced it would set up by early next year a facility in Bangalore to focus on helping developers on best practices and to improve the design, quality and performance of their apps on the iOS platform.

Cook is on his first visit to India, where the company saw a 56 percent year-on-year growth in iPhone sales in the first quarter even as its global iPhone sales and overall revenue dropped.

Apple’s new center will focus on the development of Maps for Apple products such as the iPhone, iPad, Mac and Apple Watch. The investment will accelerate Maps development and create up to 4,000 jobs, the company said.

The Cupertino, California, company did not disclose the size of its investment in the center though some reports have placed the figure at $25 million.

A large number of U.S. companies, including Texas Instruments, Oracle, Microsoft and IBM, have set up software, chip design and product development centers in India, to tap the country’s large pool of engineers.

“The talent here in the local area is incredible and we are looking forward to expanding our relationships and introducing more universities and partners to our platforms as we scale our operations,” Cook said in a statement.

India is the third-largest smartphone market in the world, after China and the U.S., according to Gartner research director Anshul Gupta.

 

 

Apple Goes Further With Intel

May 20, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Intel has scored a more significant chunk of the upcoming iPhone 7 which is due to be released this year.

Digitimes deep throats claim that Intel will  supply half the modem chips for use in the new iPhones slated for launch in September 2016.

Intel will itself package the modem chips for the upcoming new iPhones, but have contracted Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC) and tester King Yuan Electronics (KYEC) to manufacture the chips, the sources said.

Qualcomm is currently the supplier of LTE modem chips for the iPhone, but Apple has been keep to avoid focusing on one supplier. Still, the figure of half the iPhone 7′s is much more than many expected. It is a pity for Intel that the iPhone 7 is not expected to be a big seller – mostly because there is little new under the bonnet and it looks the same as the iPhone 6S.

Courtesy-Fud

 

ARM Acquires Computer Visual Technology Firm Apical

May 19, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

ARM has purchased Apical, a U.K. designer of embedded computer vision technology, and will incorporate that technology into future ARM microprocessor and system-on-chip designs, it has announced.

The move will open up new opportunities for designers of autonomous vehicles and security systems, among other connected things, according to ARM CEO Simon Segars. Computer vision is in its early stages, and Apical is at the forefront of embedding such technology, he said.

Apical’s technologies is already used in 1.5 billion smartphones, according to ARM, although many of those phones may be using nothing more sophisticated than a display brightness control Apical calls Assertive Display. That technology also turned up in Samsung Electronics’ new laptop, the ATIV Book 9.

Assertive Camera is another of Apical’s developments: It’s a range of software packages and silicon-based image signal processors for reducing image noise, managing color and shooting high dynamic range images.

ARM makes its money by designing chips that others manufacture, or licensing its chip modules for others to incorporate in their own designs.

In that context, Apical’s Spirit silicon building blocks are perhaps where ARM sees the most opportunity for growth. The Spirit silicon blocks process raw sensor data or video into a machine-readable representation of an image in an energy-efficient way, so ARM and its partners can use them to add computer vision capabilities to future low-power devices.

Putting image analysis and interpretation capabilities in hardware could accelerate and simplify the design of a whole host of products, including self-driving cars and security systems.

ARM paid US$350 million for Apical, closing the deal Tuesday, it said.

 

 

Microsoft Exiting Feature Phone Market, Sales Division

May 19, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Microsoft Corp has announced that it is selling its entry-level feature phone assets to FIH Mobile Ltd and HMD Global Oy for $350 million.

FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Co Ltd, would also acquire Microsoft Mobile Vietnam as a part of this deal, Microsoft said.

The company said its 4,500 employees from Vietnam will transfer to or will have an opportunity to join FIH Mobile or HMD Global Oy.

Microsoft will transfer all of its feature phone assets, including brands, software and services, care network and other assets, customer contracts, and critical supply agreements to both the companies as a part of the deal.

Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones from OEM partners, the company said.

 

 

Is There A ‘For Sale’ Sign In Pandora Music’s Future?

May 18, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Corvex Management LP disclosed that it owns 9.9 percent of Pandora Media Inc and urged the internet music streaming company to consider being sold instead of pursuing a “costly and uncertain business plan.”

Corvex, a hedge fund run by Keith Meister, a protégé of billionaire activist investor Carl Icahn, said it had met with the company’s management and had withdrawn a plan to replace some of its board members. However, it now believes Pandora should hire an investment bank to help the company explore its strategic options including a sale.

“We believe there is likely to be significant strategic interest in the company at a substantial premium to the company’s recent stock price,” Corvex said, adding that large internet companies, handset makers and media companies could be potential buyers.

Pandora’s shares are down more than 25 percent in 2016 and more than 45 percent year-over-year. Corvex owns about 22.7 million shares in the company, making the hedge fund Pandora’s largest shareholder.

Pandora said in response that it is in constant dialogue with shareholders and committed to achieving long-term value for them.

“Pandora has a profitable core business, combined with a strong balance sheet. We are confidently investing to fully capture the massive opportunity ahead of us,” the company said in a statement.

Oakland, California-based Pandora has faced tough competition from music-streaming rivals such as Spotify, Apple Inc , Alphabet Inc’s Google and Amazon.com and has failed to turn an annual profit as a public company.

Analysts have said Pandora, which had a market capitalization of $2.29 billion on Monday, could be an acquisition target for larger media or internet companies looking to beef up their online music offerings.

Pandora co-founder Tim Westergren, a former musician who spearheaded Pandora’s music algorithm technology, returned to the company March 28 to become CEO, squashing some investors’ hopes the company could be sold.

Westergren told Reuters on April 15, “If you want to sell a company, you don’t do that by spending half a billion on acquisitions and hiring a new CEO.”

 

 

Photos, Links To No Longer Count In Tweet’s 140 Character Limit

May 18, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc users will soon have more flexibility in posting tweets because the company plans to discontinue including photos and links as part of its 140-character limit, according to a Bloomberg report.

The social media platform has faced stagnant user growth. Months earlier, Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said the company would simplify its product in an effort to attract new users.

“We think there’s a lot of opportunity in our product to fix some broken windows that we know are inhibiting growth,” Dorsey said during a February earnings call.

Links currently take up to 23 characters of a tweet, limiting the amount of commentary that users can offer when sharing articles or other content.

Twitter has faced stagnant user growth, and shares have fallen more than 70 percent over the past year.

Twitter declined to comment on the report.

 

Did Microsoft Delay The Surface Book 2?

May 18, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

On Thursday, sources within Microsoft’s upstream supply chain have reported that the second-generation refresh to the company’s Surface Book is expected to be delayed. The sources cited “design issues” for the launch setback, indicating that the company could be preparing to redesign some critical areas to the final consumer product before launch.

The sources report the device will launch sometime after 2016, but do not specify whether design-related issues are hardware or software related. They they also confirm that the second-generation Surface Book will be upgraded from a 3000x2000p display to a 4K UltraHD (3840x2160p) display, perhaps in an effort to adopt a more industry-standard resolution that scales well across connected displays.

The second-gen Surface Book, or “Surface Book 2,” will also feature at least one Thunderbolt 3 port based on Intel’s Alpine Ridge controller. This will provide up to 40Gbps of bi-directional bandwidth and the ability to daisy-chain up to six devices simultaneously – including up to dual 4K displays at 60Hz or a single 5K display (5120x2880p) at 60Hz.

Microsoft’s original Surface Book design

The current Surface Book’s design was influenced by the variety of 2-in-1 convertible tablets that have hit mainstream retail shops since they emerged as an industry trend at the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Microsoft developed a special hinge on the keyboard that would maintain the device’s weight-to-balance ratio, a move that allows the device to be used similarly to a clipboard and as a traditional notebook.

The Surface Book and Surface Pro series are both constructed using a magnesium metal “glass” that is melted in an oxygen-free environment and rapidly cooled to prevent crystallization. Of course, general chemistry tells us that magnesium catches fire when exposed to air. With this design, however, some claim the devices would need to be heated to between 500 and 600C to see any real effects, and these temperatures are far outside the rated device operating specs.

Perhaps Microsoft’s reported sign issues with the second-generation Surface Book have more to do with cosmetics, hinges and weight ratios than the construction material, but this is only an educated guess.

Current Surface Book Specifications

The current Surface Book, released in October 2015, measures 12.3 x 9.14 x 0.9 inches (312.4 x 232.2 x 22.9mm) and weighs 3.34 pounds (1.51kg) as a laptop, or just 0.3 inches thick (7.62mm) and 0.76kg (1.6 pounds) as a detachable tablet.

The device features a 13.5-inch 3000x2000p display (267ppi) and includes either a 2.4GHz Core i5 6300U (Skylake) or 2.6GHz Core i7 6600U (Skylake) CPU, 8 or 16GB of LPDDR3 RAM, an optional Geforce 940M 1GB GPU, 128GB to 1TB of SSD storage, dual-band 802.11n/ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, two USB 3.0 ports, a Mini DisplayPort, an SDXC card reader, an 8-megapixel rear 1080p camera, a 5-megapixel front camera, dual microphones, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and is compatible with a variety of stylus pens.

Surface Book vs. Surface Pro sales still unknown

In January, Microsoft reported that it sold 2.5 million Surface-series devices in Q4 2015 (October through December), or $888 million dollars’ worth. However, we are unsure how many of these sales are specifically Surface Book units versus Surface Pro 3 and 4 units. In total, the company sold 6 million Surface series devices in 2015. This is compared with a previous 4 million sale estimate for the year, according to sources in the upstream supply chain.

Couresty-Fud

 

 

Is Apple In A Free Fall?

May 16, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Apple shares are continuing to fall as more investors realise that the share price is not going to go up any more.

For a while now people have been buying Apple shares with the expectation that they will always go up. This always was largely based on a fantasy created by the Tame Apple Press that assumed the company would keep coming up with new technology ideas which would always be successful.

However lately Apple has not come up with any new ideas and has taken to re-issuing its old phone designs. It has also been floundering in its key Chinese market. The company’s only new idea has been for content creation through its Apple Music streaming brand. The only problem with that is that the software has been killing off user’s iTune libraries.  It has also been banned in China which means that hopes that Apple would make money there are still thwarted.

Shares of Apple dropped below $90 on Thursday for the first time since 2014 as Wall Street worried about slow demand ahead of the anticipated launch of a new iPhone later this year. Some more reasonable analysts even think that the iPhone 7 is going to be a disaster because it lacks any new tech and has the same design as the poor performing iPhone 6S

Component suppliers in Taiwan have confirmed that they have received fewer orders from Apple in the second half of 2016 than in the same period last year.

Rosenblatt Securities analyst Jun Zhang saidt that investors were getting negative data points about component orders and production forecasts, and the features on the new iPhone do not seem to be a big change from the 6S.

Apple briefly relinquished its position as the world’s largest company by market capitalisation to Alphabet – oh the horror.

At the close, Apple and Google each had market values of about $495 billion, according to Thomson Reuters data. In the past year, Apple’s market capitalization has fallen by more than $200 billion. Which just goes to show this whole value thing was an illusion.

Suppliers of iPhone components also fell, with Skyworks Solutions off 4.54 percent, Broadcom down 1.95 percent and Qorvo declining 1.76 percent.

Revenue from China slumped 26 percent during the March quarter. Apple faces increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers like Xiaomi and Huawei selling phones priced below $200, Rosenblatt’s Zhang said.

Last week, Dialog Semiconductor, which sells chips used in iPhones and other smartphones, cut its revenue outlook due to ongoing softness in the smartphone market.

The Tame Apple press is trying to do its best to find analysts who recommend buying the stock claiming it is too cheap.However how much should you pay for an outfit which has milked its cash cow and has nothing new on the horizon.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Walmart Picks A Fight With Visa Over PIN-Based Transactions

May 11, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Wal-Mart Stores Inc filed a lawsuit against Visa Inc, accusing the payments network operator of resisting the use of personal identification numbers (PINs) by customers for purchases made on debit cards at its stores.

Wal-Mart and other U.S. retailers have pushed their payment partners to allow customers to use PINs instead of old-school signatures in a bid to prevent counterfeit card fraud.

However, banks and payment network operators are favoring the use of chip cards verified by signatures and see no need to invest further in the more expensive PIN technology.

Wal-Mart also said it pays Visa more for signature-based transactions rather than those made using PINs, according to the lawsuit.

“Walmart believes Visa’s position creates unacceptable risk to customers and its actions and rules are inconsistent with federal law,” Wal-Mart spokesman Randy Hargrove said in a statement.

Visa declined to comment.