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Will Nokia Succeed With Android Smartphones?

July 25, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Nokia is reportedly getting ready to make a smartphone comeback with two high-end Android 7.0 Nougat devices.

We already know that Nokia is plotting a return to the mobile market. The company revealed in May that it has signed an exclusive agreement with HMD Global, a new company also based in Finland, to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next 10 years.

Nokia’s comeback might happen in just a few months’ time, as NokiaPowerUser has heard that the firm is plotting the launch of two high-end Android 7.0 smartphones at the end of this year, or Q1 2017 if things don’t go exactly to plan.

The website’s “trusted sources” explained that the two unnamed devices will have premium metal designs complete with IP68 certification, which means they’ll be as water resistant as the Galaxy S7.

The report also claimed that the devices will offer “the famous Nokia feel”, which we guess points to brightly coloured options.

Expect 5.2in and 5.5in QHD screens, according to the anonymous sources, along with fingerprint scanners and “innovations” in the camera department.

“We hear that sensors on these two smartphones may be the most sensitive ever and will be based on Nokia’s extensive research on wonder material graphene,” the report said.

The two smartphones also look set to run Google’s Android 7.0 Nougat software, providing features such as split-screen mode, enhanced notifications and improved gaming thanks to support for the Vulkan API.

Nougat will reportedly come topped with Nokia’s Z-Launcher software, as seen on the Nokia N1 tablet. Improvements to the skin could bring “elements of touch and hover interaction”, hinting that the devices could offer 3D Touch-like technology.

We don’t know much else yet, but Gizmodo China reported that the smartphones will use Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 chip.

There’s no word on prices yet, but Gizmodo’s report claimed that the bigger, and presumably more expensive, model will cost around $500 SIM-free.

Courtesy-Fud

 

GE Partners With Huawei Technologies To Develop Smart Machines

July 21, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

General Electric Co announced that it would partner with Huawei Technologies Co Ltd  to develop smart machines designed to boost productivity, part of a drive to promote its “industrial internet” business in China.

The U.S. industrial giant announced the partnership as it launched an $11 million digital space in Shanghai, where it plans to incubate start-ups and have developers work on new software applications to make machines more intelligent.

The move is part of GE’s ambitious plans to lead a productivity revolution in global industry by combining machinery with analytics, after selling off its financial assets and embarking on a major restructuring.

Chief Digital Officer Bill Ruh said the world’s biggest maker of jet engines and diesel locomotives had already made $500 million in productivity savings for itself this year by using smarter machines, and he expected this to grow to $1 billion in total by 2020.

“Once we got it right for ourselves we take it to our customers … We’re bringing this to China, we’re open for business in China today to be able to do this,” he said at a company event in Shanghai.

GE is investing $500 million annually in software as part of the digital drive, and Ruh said the company expected the products to bring in about $6 billion in revenue this year.

 

Researchers Create Atomic Scale Drive

July 21, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Researchers have worked out how to create an atomic scale rewritable data-storage device capable of packing 500 terabits onto a single square inch.

That is enough to store most readers porn collections in just a couple of feet of data rather than the rooms it takes up now. Apparently you can stuff the entire contents of the US Library of Congress in a 0.1-mm wide cube — we guess that does not include the toilets and the cafe..

The atomic hard drive was developed by Delft University’s Sander Otte and his chums. It features a storage density that’s 500 times larger than state-of-the-art hard disk drives.

According to the latest issue of Nature Nanotechnology, which we get for the impossible spot the proton competition, the technology is not exactly commercial yet.

Otte and the team placed chlorine atoms on a copper surface, resulting in a perfect square grid. A hole appears on this grid whenever an atom is missing. Using a sharp needle of a scanning tunneling microscope, the researchers were able to probe the atoms one by one, and even drag individual atoms towards a hole.

When a chlorine atom is in the top position, and there’s a hole beneath it, it’s a 1. Reversed, the bit is a 0. and it becomes a hard drive.

Each chlorine atom is surrounded by other chlorine atoms, which helps keep them in place, except near the holes. This method makes it much more stable than methods that use loose atoms. Using this technique, the researchers were able to perform write, read-out, and re-write operations in a one-kilobyte device comprising 8,000 atomic bits. It is by far the largest atomic structure ever constructed by humans.

During the experiment, the researchers preserved the positions of more than 8,000 chlorine “vacancies,” or missing atoms, for more than 40 hours at 77 kelvin. After developing a binary alphabet based on the positions of the holes, the researchers stored various texts, including physicist Richard Feynman’s seminal lecture, There’s Plenty of Room at the Bottom, and Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. This data was stored atom by atom, bit by bit, on the surface of the copper sheet. The ensuing write/re-write speed was relatively slow—on the scale of minutes—but the demonstration showed that it’s possible to reliably write, store, and read data at the atomic scale.

The system cannot function in an everyday environment. In its current form, the atomic hard drive can only operate in clean vacuum conditions and at liquid nitrogen temperatures, which is -346°F (-321°C). Most readers porn collections are far too hot for it to handle.

Courtesy-Fud

 

SoftBank To Acquire ARM For $32 Billion

July 19, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Japan’s SoftBank will acquire UK chip design company ARM Holdings to take advantage of growing demand for processors and other technologies for the internet of things and mobile markets.

SoftBank is paying £24.3 billion ($32 billion) in cash for the chip company that licenses its designs to a large number of chip suppliers to smartphone makers and to the emerging IoT market.

The Japanese company will retain ARM’s headquarters in Cambridge and plans to double the number of employees in the U.K. over the next five years, when it will also increase the company’s headcount outside the U.K.

ARM, with 4,064 employees,  will be an independent business within SoftBank, which will pay for the acquisition from existing cash resources and a loan. SoftBank said it intends to retain the current ARM organization including the existing senior management team, brand, and partnership-based business model and culture.

SoftBank has invested in a number of media and technology companies, including Internet retailer Snapdeal in India and ride-hailing app company Didi Chuxing in China. It also acquired Sprint Nextel in 2013.

The acquisition of ARM would place the company in a market where it would be an upstream supplier to some of the biggest names in the tech industry as licensees of ARM’s designs like Qualcomm gear up to supply chips to the connected devices market.

“ARM will be an excellent strategic fit within the SoftBank group as we invest to capture the very significant opportunities provided by the ‘Internet of Things,’” said SoftBank chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son in a statement Monday.

 

 

 

Amazon Announces Prime Day Sale Was Best Ever

July 15, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon reported that it’s Prime Day was the biggest sales day ever for the online retail giant.

The company’s second annual sales event, which was held Tuesday, saw customer orders surpass Prime Day 2015 by more than 60% worldwide and more than 50% in the U.S., the company reported.

“It was a huge success,” said Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali, an analyst with Forrester Research. “It was a big day, by all accounts, with enormous growth. It reinforces that e-commerce continues to grow and that Amazon is a significant part of that growth.”

Amazon’s Prime Day is a one-day sales event for members of Prime, the company’s membership program. Products in nearly all of Amazon’s copious shopping categories were put on sale.

Despite some reports of customers’ having problems checking out after making their purchases, more than 90,000 TVs were sold, along with more than 2 million toys, 1 million pairs of shoes and hundreds of thousands of Kindle e-readers.

Amazon also received twice as many orders via its mobile app than it did during Prime Day last year. More than 1 million customers used the Amazon app for the first time during the sale, the company said.

For U.S. sales alone, Amazon reported that device sales were three times higher compared to Prime Day 2015. It was also the biggest sales day for Amazon’s Echo personal assistant and the company’s e-readers.

When it came to techie purchases, Amazon sold U.S. members more than 14,000 Lenovo laptops and more than 23,000 iRobot Roomba 614 Vacuum cleaning robots.

While it was a big day for the online retailer, one day does not outshine the rest of the year, especially with back-to-school sales, and then holiday sales, coming up.

“No single day is going to change the fortunes of any retailer,” said Mulpuru-Kodali. “It’s one day of 365 or 366 days in any given year.

 

 

Microsoft Teams Up With IBM To Push Enterprise Surface Tablet

July 14, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft said its Surface devices pulls in about $1 billion in revenue every quarter, and the company hopes to raise that number by putting the devices on more corporate desktops.

The company is teaming up with IBM, one of the world’s largest software makers, to write applications specifically for Surface devices. The goal is to tailor Surface devices to meet the needs of financial, consumer goods and retail organizations.

The deal is significant for Microsoft, which wants to make Surface devices more attractive to enterprises. Market research firm IDC expects enterprise PC upgrades to pick up in the second half of this year, and Surface devices with tailored software could appeal to companies.

Surface tablets are already used by organizations like the National Football League and Emirates airline. It is one of the better Windows PCs available, but it has had more success with consumers and professional buyers than enterprises.

For IBM, the deal is much like the one it struck with Apple in 2014 to develop apps for iPhones and iPads. IBM will acquire more enterprise software customers, and it won’t have to worry about supporting the hardware.

The IBM custom software will take advantage of unique Surface features, Microsoft said. The applications will revolve around analytics, reporting, employee productivity, management and forecasting.

Microsoft also struck a similar partnership with Booz-Allen Hamilton to work on Surface tablets for government, public sector and health-care organizations, with a focus on security and manageability of devices. U.S. government organizations have specific requirements in computers purchased, particularly in the area of security.

Further details about the deals weren’t shared.

 

 

Seagate Technology Slashing 6,500 Jobs

July 13, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Seagate Technology will eliminate around 6,500 jobs worldwide, or 14 percent of its workforce, with most of the cuts in manufacturing jobs,the company announced.

The data storage maker had said in June that it was aiming to cut 1,600 employees, or 3 percent of its global workforce, by the end of the September quarter to trim costs. But the more recent announcement suggests that the company feels the need to reduce costs further as its hard disk drives battle in a slowing PC market amid the emergence of flash storage in devices.

The new cuts will be in addition to those announced last month. The move by Seagate comes even as the company revised upwards its preliminary financial information for its fiscal fourth quarter and year-end 2016, which ended on July 1, citing better-than-expected demand for its hard disk drives.

The company now expects to report revenue of about $2.65 billion for the fiscal fourth quarter 2016, against an earlier forecast of $2.3 billion. Seagate said it expects to report HDD shipments of about 37 million for the quarter, which works out to approximately 62 exabytes, average capacity per drive of 1.7 terabytes and average selling price per unit of $67.

The positive results represent preliminary figures for the fourth quarter only, a company spokesman said. “As we have communicated in prior public filings and statements, we remain committed to reducing our global manufacturing footprint in line with long-term macroeconomic conditions and lower overall demand levels,” he added in an email.

The workforce cuts are expected to be completed by the end of the company’s fiscal year 2017. The focus of the new cuts is on reducing the company’s manufacturing footprint, the company spokesman said. Most of the manufacturing operations are in Asia but the company also has some manufacturing facilities in Europe and the U.S. that will be affected, he added.

 

Is Samsungs Galaxy S7 Active Really Waterproof?

July 13, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

If you look at adverts for Samsung’s new Galaxy you would be forgiven for thinking that the smartphone is waterproof. Unfortunately according to US consumer reports, it isn’t.

The Samsung advert shown in Italy ends with the dramatic placing of a Galaxy into a glass of water. Which looks impressive.

Consumer Reports performs an immersion test when a manufacturer claims that its product is water-resistant and the Galaxy S7 Active failed.

While the phone performed extremely well in other tests. Consumer Reports is refusing to recommend it because the water resistant claim is incorrect.

Samsung says its phone follows an engineering standard called IP68 that covers both dust- and water-resistance, and that the phone is designed to survive immersion in five feet of water for 30 minutes.

Consumer Reports placed a Galaxy S7 Active in a water tank pressurised to 2.12 pounds-per-square-inch, the equivalent of just under five feet of water, and set a timer for 30 minutes. When it removed the phone, the screen was obscured by green lines, and tiny bubbles were visible in the lenses of the front- and rear-facing cameras. The touchscreen was borked.

A second Galaxy S7 Active also failed the same test and neither phone worked properly again.

Samsung says it has received “very few complaints” about this problem, and that in all cases, the phones were covered under warranty. A spokes Samsung sang:

“The Samsung Galaxy S7 active device is one of the most rugged phones to date and is highly resistant to scratches and IP68 certified. There may be an off-chance that a defective device is not as watertight as it should be.”

The company says it is investigating the matter.

Courtesy-Fud

 

BMW’s i3 Electric Car Enjoys Sales Boost Thanks Subsidy

July 12, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

BMW is experiencing rising sales of the latest version of its electric car, the i3, following the Berlin government’s push to subsidize electric cars, weekly German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) said.

Citing company sources, FAS said that orders for the new i3 with a longer range battery, for deliveries from mid-July onwards, had risen “many times over” levels following the introduction of the car’s initial version in 2013.

Total orders for the new version had risen to 5,000 worldwide of which around 1,000 were placed in Germany, ahead of delivery.

BMW said last month it was overhauling its research and development to focus on self-driving cars for the future.

It also plans a sportier version of the i3 by 2018 and aims to launch the next new electric car in 2021.

The German government decided in the spring to subsidize new electric car purchases by giving a 4,000-euro ($4,400) discount to the buyer in a scheme that also pays 3,000 euros towards each purchase of a plug-in hybrid vehicle.

“The (buyers’) incentive bonus plays a positive part,” the paper quoted a BMW manager as saying.

BMW was not immediately available to comment.

 

Google Scoops Up Video Software Company Anvato

July 11, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Google has purchased Anvato, the developer of a video software platform, to beef up its cloud offering in the area of video delivery.

Anvato’s Media Content Platform, used by many large media and entertainment companies including NBCUniversal, Univision and Fox Sports, will complement the efforts of Google Cloud Platform to offer scalable media processing and workflows in the cloud, Belwadi Srikanth, senior product manager for Google Cloud Platform, wrote in a blog post.

The Mountain View, California, company offers software that automates the encoding, editing, publishing and secure distribution of video content across a variety of platforms.

The Google Cloud Platform and Anvato teams will work together to deliver cloud technologies that help “businesses in the media and entertainment industry scale their video infrastructure efforts and deliver high-quality, live video and on-demand content to consumers on any device — be it their smartphone, tablet or connected television,” Srikanth wrote.

Anvato said it will deliver on the Google Cloud Platform infrastructure the video processing software technology it already offers pay TV operators, programmers, broadcasters and live event producers.

Google’s cloud rivals, including Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, have also made investments in the area of providing services to companies offering video delivery.

AWS acquired Elemental Technologies, a Portland, Oregon-based provider of technologies for video delivery over the internet. Elemental software helps media and entertainment companies take live and on-demand video, designed for traditional networks like cable, and reformat it for distribution to PCs, phones and other devices.

 

 

Walmart Announces Mobile Payment Service Rollout Complete

July 8, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Walmart Stores Inc announced that it has completed the rollout of its Walmart Pay mobile payment service across the United States and that 88 percent of transactions on the payment app are from repeat users.

Overall transactions on the app, which the world’s largest retailer launched in December, jumped 45 percent in the last week, Daniel Eckert, senior vice-president of services at Walmart US, said on a conference call with the media.

Walmart declined to disclose the increase in transactions since the launch, or the number of the mobile app’s users in its stores.

U.S. retailers have launched many mobile payment apps in the last two years, but customers and merchants have been slow to adopt them.

U.S. mobile payments accounted for an estimated $67 billion of purchases in 2015, and are expected to grow this year to $83 billion, or 24 percent of all purchases made via smartphones, according to the latest Forrester Research data.

Eckert said Walmart Pay users have not been spending more as a result of using the app. The company is monitoring shopping patterns to see if purchases would increase.

The retailer will start advertising the app to push customer usage, he said.

Walmart Pay is available on Apple and Android devices and allows payments with any major credit, debit, pre-paid or Walmart gift cards.

Customers at a checkout counter must choose the payment option within the app and use their smartphone camera to scan the code displayed at the register. An e-receipt would be sent to the app. Apple Inc’s Apple Pay and Alphabet Inc’s Android Pay require retailers to install compatible new equipment, which has hindered wider acceptance.

Walmart does not accept external mobile wallets like Apple Pay in its stores. Discussions about accepting third party wallets are ongoing, but Walmart has no immediate plans to do so, Eckert said.

 

 

Western Digital To Launch Super Fast MicroSD

July 5, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Western Digital has announced, not for the first time, the ‘fastest ever’ 256GB microSD card under the newly acquired SanDisk brand.

It also marks the first time (that we’ve noticed, anyway) that a SanDisk product has been announced under the Western Digital banner.

There are two versions – the 256GB SanDisk Extreme microSDXC UHS-I card and the 256GB SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I Premium Edition card – which we’re informed is the first 256GB card optimised for the consumer market.

“Our microSD cards are now at the center of many consumer devices, and we’re excited to not only raise the bar with the launch of the world’s fastest microSD card, but to offer a family of 256GB microSD cards that give consumers the flexibility they need to capture life at its fullest,” said Dinesh Bahal, vice president of SanDisk product marketing at Western Digital.

“As a leading global storage provider with one of the most trusted flash brands, we take pride in transforming the way consumers capture, store and share their content.”

The new drive can handle 4K video and high-definition audio, as well as RAW photograph data, and promises read speeds of up to 100MBps and write speeds of up to 90MBps. 256GB is estimated to be about 14 hours of 4K video, or one James Cameron film.

The ‘Premium Edition’ isn’t as premium as the non-Premium Edition with transfer speeds of 95MBps, so you might want to get the non-Premium Edition instead of the Premium Edition to ensure the premium product.

Also, and let’s be frank here, none of these speeds is significantly faster than those already on the market. 10MBps isn’t really all that much. It’s like saying you have $50m and $150m. There’s only so much you can spend.

All the new cards are waterproof, temperature proof, shockproof, and X-ray proof. They are also washing machine proof. That’s not an official guarantee, but past experience at INQ tells us they will be.

The SanDisk Ultra microSDXC UHS-I card Premium Edition will arrive worldwide in Q4 for around £129.99. The non-premium Premium device will arrive in Q4 for $169.99.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

 

Cisco Systems, Thales Sign Deal On Cybersecurity

June 30, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

French electronics group Thales looking to boost its revenues by hundreds of millions of euros in the cybersecurity field through a strategic agreement it has signed with Cisco Systems, it said on Tuesday.

“We hope that with this agreement, we will add several hundred millions of euros in the next years,” said Jean-Michel Lagarde, who heads secure communications and information systems at Thales.

“It will have a multiplier effect, as this is not only about cybersecurity, but also about secure systems for cities and airports.”

The two companies have been partners since 2010 and plan to co-develop a solution to better detect and counter cyber attacks in real time, it said.

Thales generates 500 million euros ($550 million) annually in the cybersecurity business, notably in data protection thanks to the acquisition in March of Vormetric for 375 million euros.

The jointly developed solution will be aimed first at French infrastructure providers and will then be deployed globally, Cisco and Thales said in a statement.

 

 

Can Licensing Save Blackberry?

June 29, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Mobile

Blackberry is hoping to pull its nadgers out of the fire by licencing its mobile software to other outfits.

However BlackBerry CEO John Chen had to admit that there has been zero revenue from the endeavour, which he started off last month.

Chen said he’s been in discussions with some phone manufacturers and set-top box operators who have expressed interest and “anything was possible.”

He added he’s not opposed to licensing BlackBerry’s security software either if the right deal comes along. He expects BlackBerry to break even or record a slight profit in its new mobility solutions segment, which includes device and software licensing sales, during the third quarter that in November.

Making the segment profitable this fiscal year is one of the company’s top goals, Chen said.

It’s too soon to project how much revenue the software-licensing venture can garner, Chen said, so to achieve the goal by the end of November, BlackBerry will have to ensure its devices are on track for profitability as well.

The company’s newest phone, the Android-powered Priv, has moved slower than hoped. In fact it moved slower than a student who had been up all night playing counterstrike.

During BlackBerry’s first quarter — the second full quarter to include Priv sales — the smartphone segment generated US$152 million of revenue and had a US$21-million operating loss. Chen promised that loss would be significantly smaller in the next quarter.

The company sold roughly 500,000 devices at an average price of $290 each, he said, which is about 100,000 smartphones fewer than the previous quarter and about 200,000 fewer than two quarters earlier. BlackBerry previously said the company needs to sell about three million phones at an average of $300 each to break even, though Chen indicated that may change as the software licensing business starts to contribute to revenue.

Chen said the Priv has proved unaffordable to most people, except for top-level executives.

The company plans to release two mid-range, Android-powered phones before its current fiscal year ends Feb. 28, 2017, he said. More information on the devices is expected next month, but Chen said one will only have a touch screen rather than BlackBerry’s traditional keyboard.

The company is trying to reach the market in more innovative ways. It’s currently hosting a pop-up shop in New York City, and Chen said he’d consider more of them around the world if the trial is successful.

“I really, really believe that we could make money … out of our device business,” he said during a conference call with analysts Thursday morning.

Chen previously indicated the company will stop making smartphones if the device business remains unprofitable. While he said he doesn’t believe that will be necessary, the software licensing plan could help make the transition smoother if the time comes.

BlackBerry  reported a $670 million net loss in the first quarter of its 2017 financial year, but said its recovery plan for the year remains on track.

Revenue was below analyst estimates at $400 million under generally accepted accounting principles, or US$424 million with certain adjustments.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Intel May Get Rid Of Its Security Business

June 28, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Intel is contemplating shedding  its security business as the company tries to focus on delivering chips for cloud computing and connected devices, according to a news report.

The Intel Security business came largely from the company’s acquisition for $7.7 billion of security software company McAfee. Intel announced plans to bake some of the security technology into its chips to ensure higher security for its customers.

With the surge in cyberthreats, providing protection to the variety of Internet-connected devices — such as PCs, mobile devices, medical gear and cars — requires a fundamentally new approach involving software, hardware and services, the company said in February 2011, when announcing the completion of the McAfee acquisition.

Intel has been talking to bankers about the future of its cybersecurity business for a deal that would be one of the largest in the sector, reported The Financial Times, citing people close to the discussions. It said a group of private equity firms may join together to buy the security business if it is sold at the same price or higher than what Intel paid for it.

“I could see them selling a piece of the service, but not all security capabilities,” said Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy.

“Intel has a decent security play right now and security is paramount to the future of IoT,” Moorhead said. “Hardware-based security is vital to the future of computing.”

Intel is declining to comment on the report, a company spokeswoman wrote in an email.