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Mobile World Congress Coming To USA In 2017

June 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Mobile World Congress, considered by many experts as the most important tech trade show in the world, is coming to the U.S. Trade groups GSMA and CTIA are joining forces to bring a smaller version of the event to the U.S. in 2017.

GSMA Mobile World Congress Americas will debut Sept. 12 to 14, 2017, in San Francisco and will replace U.S. trade group CTIA’s Super Mobility conference. Super Mobility will continue this year in Las Vegas from Sept. 7 to 9.

The new conference will be the “first truly global wireless event” in the Americas, CTIA President and CEO Meredith Attwell Baker said in a statement.

The new trade show, however, will apparently be more focused, spotlighting the leading innovations from the North American mobile industry, John Hofman, CEO of GSMA, said in a statement.

The trade groups expect about 30,000 attendees and 1,000 exhibitors at the 2017 trade show, similar to the numbers from CTIA’s Super Mobility conference.

GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year drew more than 100,000 attendees and 2,200 exhibitors. The 2017 Barcelona event will take place from Feb. 27 to March 2.

The new Mobile World Congress Americas will feature C-level speakers, exhibits featuring the latest mobile technologies, and a regulatory and public policy program.

 

 

BlackBerry Says Device Business Is Top Priority

June 24, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

BlackBerry Ltd’s top priority this year is to make its devices business turn a profit, its chief executive said, even as it weighs the future of its hardware operation.

“The device business must be profitable, because we don’t want to run a business that drags onto the bottom line,” Chief Executive John Chen told investors at the company’s annual meeting. “We’ve got to get there this year.”

Chen has previously said a decision would be made by September on the future of the unit, which has suffered a sustained drop in sales in recent quarters.

But at the meeting, attended by around 100 people, he said he sees better opportunity in providing services that enable increasingly commoditized hardware to do more.

“I don’t personally believe handsets will be the future of any company,” he said.

BlackBerry, once the smartphone market leader before being displaced by Apple Inc and competitors run on Alphabet Inc’s Android platform, has worked to reposition itself as a software and service provider focused on device management for large organizations.

In its presentation to investors, the company said it expects the broader market for types of software it is producing to expand to $17.6 billion by 2019, from $525 million in 2012 and below $4 billion in 2015, powered by growth in medical, legal, financial and automotive industries.

But some of those in attendance were skeptical about BlackBerry’s ability to deliver on its strategic pivot.

“The first word that comes to mind is lackluster,” said one shareholder at the meeting who declined to give his name. “Time is running out.”

Chen reiterated that BlackBerry wants to grow its software revenue by 30 percent in this fiscal year, which he estimated would be double overall market growth, and to notch positive free cash flow.

BlackBerry is due to report first quarter results on Thursday.

Chen took up the CEO role in 2013 with a reputation as a turnaround artist. But the company’s stock has only risen modestly since then, with many investors waiting for signs the now-smaller company will be able to carve out new opportunities.

“I appreciate the strategy,” said Ken Tota, an investor in BlackBerry’s biggest shareholder, Fairfax Financial Holdings Ltd. He said he was optimistic a renewed focus on security could help reinvigorate BlackBerry over the next five years.

“It’s a niche, but it’s a worldwide niche,” he said.

 

 

Will Intel Skylake-X 10 Debut In Q2 2017?

June 24, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

There have been few details released on the new 10 core Skylake-X which will replace the Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition which has just been released.

Intel has just released its Broadwell-E generation of ten, eight and six cores with Intel Core i7-6950X Extreme Edition being the fastest end the most expensive.  But we have managed to get a few details about its replacement – the Skylake-X.

You can expect two SKUs, 140W X versions with 10 cores and the one will less cores called the K version. The new Extreme edition CPUs will have the new R4 socket. This new socket is also called LGA2066 some 55 higher than with the existing socket number.

There will be a Kaby Lake-X 4 core processor with 95+ W TDP using the same LGA 2066 R4 socket . Both Skylake-X and Kaby Lake-X support the new chipset that is known as Kaby Lake-X.

This is 200 series chipset will be the successor of the Skylake 100. The new chipset will come with up to 24 PCIe 3.0 PCI express lanes. In fact this is the only major difference in the chipset. It does support Octane storage techhonlogy, something that 100 series chipset cannot. The Kaby Lake 200 series chipset supports 6 SATA 3.0 ports, up to 10 USB 3.0 ports, DMI 3.0, up to three 4Xports for PCIe 3.0 drives.

If the Zen desktop core gives Intel some serious competition, we bet that Intel won’t charge $1700 for its highest end overclockable desktop CPU. Zen is still at least few months away, we expect it at late 2016 at best.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Twitter Moves Further Into Video With New ‘Watch Mode’ Feature

June 23, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter is looking to compete even more with Facebook. The platform is moving into video in a major way with 140-second clips in both Twitter proper and Vine, a new video section called Watch Mode, and video recommendations for other videos to watch. The network’s most popular users, like President Barack Obama and Justin Bieber, are getting a stand-alone app called Engage, which sounds a lot like Facebook Mentions.

Twitter is making video a huge priority by extending video length from 30 seconds to 140 seconds (staying on-brand, of course). Those longer videos are also coming to Vine, but don’t worry, the popular app for creating hilarious video loops isn’t changing its 6-second limit. Instead, you can post 140-second clips alongside your Vines.

You won’t have to watch these longer videos in-tweet. Now tapping on a video in your timeline will launch a new full-screen viewing mode with recommended clips surfaced just below. The same experience applies to longer videos on Vine.

The new features are rolling out soon on Twitter for iOS and Android.

Twitter Engage launched Tuesday on iOS to help video creators and other important people see metrics on their clips, including likes, retweets, mentions, and views. They can also see demographics for their videos and a feed of what their fans are talking about.

Unlike Facebook Mentions, Engage isn’t solely aimed at celebrities. But the two apps are similar in that they show mentions from so-called “influencers” and filter comments from fans.

Twitter has to try new things, especially since its user growth has stalled at 310 million monthly active users and Wall Street isn’t happy about it. To compare, Instagram just announced it has more than 500 million monthly active users, 300 million of whom check the app on a daily basis.

 

 

 

 

New ‘Godless’ Malware Infecting Android Phones

June 23, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Android phone owners take note: a new type of malware has been found in legitimate-looking apps that can “root” your phone and secretly install unwanted programs.

The malware, dubbed Godless, has been found lurking on app stores including Google Play, and it targets devices running Android 5.1 (Lollipop) and earlier, which accounts for more than 90 percent of Android devices, Trend Micro said Tuesday in a blog post.

Godless hides inside an app and uses exploits to try to root the OS on your phone. This basically creates admin access to a device, allowing unauthorized apps to be installed.

Godless contains various exploits to ensure it can root a device, and it can even install spyware, Trend Micro said.

A newer variant can also bypass security checks at app stores like Google Play. Once the malware has finished its rooting, it can be tricky to uninstall, the security firm said.

Trend Micro said it found various apps in Google Play that contain the malicious code.

“The malicious apps we’ve seen that have this new remote routine range from utility apps like flashlights and Wi-Fi apps, to copies of popular game,” the company said.

Some apps are clean but have a corresponding malicious version that shares the same developer certificate. The danger there is that users install the clean app but are then upgraded to the malicious version without them knowing.

So far, Trend says it has seen 850,000 affected devices, with almost half in India and more in other southeast Asian countries. Less than 2 percent were in the U.S.

 

 

Intel Debuts New Xeon Family Member

June 23, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel released yet another Xeon processor family designed specifically for 4 socket servers used in next-gen data centers and cloud deployments.

Intel said that servers with the Intel Xeon E5-4600 v4 family can now have up to 22 cores and 44 threads for enough processing power for most scale-out and large workloads.

Intel’s new range is claimed to be 2.6x better than previous generations Along with the performance boost and the higher core and thread count, the new E5-4600 v4 family can provide up to 55MB of last-level cache, support up to 6TB of DDR4 2400 memory, and 40 lanes of PCIe 3.0.

The new processors have AES encryption and fast public key (RSA) encryption along with a strong random number generation that enables hardened, pervasive data protection without impact to application response times. The family is supplied with Intel’s Intelligent Power technology to improve power across both the CPU and memory. The latest version of processors family supports per-core P states (PCPS) to optimize the power usage of each processor core.

The new family has what Chipzilla calls advanced multi-core, multi-threaded processing –  up to 22 cores (previously up to 18) and 44 threads (previously up to 36) per socket for running more and heavier workloads and higher density of VMs per server.

There is a larger cache: Up to 55MB (Previously up to 45MB) of last level cache for fast access to frequently used data. There is a faster memory with up to 48 DIMMS per four-socket server for memory-intensive applications and faster maximum memory speeds with DDR4 memory. Chipzilla claims that this gives higher performance for demanding workloads.

It has Optimized Intel Advanced Vector Extensions 2.0 (Intel AVX 2.0) enables applications to run at maximum “turbo” frequencies wherever possibl and IIntel Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 acceleration takes advantage of power and thermal headroom.

Flexible, high-performance hardware-enhanced virtualization: Improve overall reliability and responsiveness through new Intel Virtualization Technology features, including New Posted Interrupts, Page Modi cation Logging, and VM Enter/Exit latency reduction

It also has multiple rank sparing DDR4 recovery for command and address parity errors and the latest Intel Data Protection Technology.

Intel tells us that the new Intel Xeon E5-4600 v4 processor family is available now.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Twitter Acquires Machine Learning Company Magic Pony

June 22, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter has been quite vocal regarding its interest in machine learning in recent years, and earlier this week the company put its money where its mouth is once again by purchasing London startup Magic Pony Technology, which has focused on visual processing.

“Magic Pony’s technology — based on research by the team to create algorithms that can understand the features of imagery — will be used to enhance our strength in live [streaming] and video and opens up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter,” Twitter cofounder and CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in a blog post announcing the news.

The startup’s team includes 11 Ph.Ds with expertise across computer vision, machine learning, high-performance computing and computational neuroscience, Dorsey said. They’ll join Twitter’s Cortex group, made up of engineers, data scientists and machine-learning researchers.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The acquisition follows several related purchases by the social media giant, including Madbits in 2014 and Whetlab last year.

 

 

 

Emojis Coming To The Big Screen

June 22, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Emojis have become an important and essential communication tool for most people using any messaging application, so naturally, now there’s a movie coming.

Sony Pictures Animation has announced that it will produce an animated movie about “the secret world of our phones and the beloved characters that have become daily necessities in global interpersonal communication.”

“Emojimovie: Express Yourself” is due in August 2017. It will be written by Eric Siegel and Anthony Leondis and directed by Leondis. He previously wrote and directed “Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch” and “Igor.”

Deadline had earlier reported that Sony beat out two other movie studios bidding for the movie, paying “near seven figures” for the title.

So what emojis might make the cut and appear in the movie? The smiley seems the likely star and is the most-used emoji in every country except France, according to a SwiftKey study published in 2015. In France, the heart emoji is the favorite.

Emojis first appeared on cell phones in 1999 when NTT DoCoMo launched its i-Mode wireless Internet service in Japan. Since then, they have spread worldwide and are available on all modern smartphones, messaging systems and computers.

Emojis’ Japanese roots explain some of the stranger characters, which might mean little to people in the West but related to some important cultural festivals, food or other aspects of Japanese life.

 

 

 

Samsung Pivoting Towards 5G Mobile Technology

June 22, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Trailing its competitors after past mistakes on wireless technology standards, Samsung Electronics Co Ltd aims to become a global top-three player in 5G mobile networks by moving quickly in markets like the United States, an executive said.

The world’s top smartphone maker ranks well behind peers such as Nokia Corp, Huawei Technologies Co Ltd  and Ericsson in the networks business, after backing CDMA and WiMax wireless technologies that never caught on globally.

The South Korean giant now sees an opportunity to catch up by moving fast and early on 5G, the wireless technology that telecom equipment makers are rushing to develop as the next-generation standard.

“We plan to move quickly and want to be at least among the top three with 5G,” Kim Young-ky, Samsung’s network business chief, told Reuters in an interview.

“It’s important to get in early.”

5G wireless networks could offer data speeds tens of times faster than 4G technology, enabling futuristic products such as self-driving cars and smart-gadgets that tech firms expect to become ubiquitous in the homes of tomorrow.

Major network firms are targeting the United States as it moves rapidly ahead with plans to open spectrum for 5G wireless applications. Some U.S. officials expect to see the first large-scale commercial deployments by 2020.

Samsung is targetting more than 10 trillion won ($8.6 billion) in annual sales of 5G equipment by 2022, a spokeswoman said.

This would be a big step up for a networks business that generated less than 3 trillion won in revenue last year, compared with 100.5 trillion won in mobile device sales.

Crucial to its plans is a partnership with New York-based Verizon Communications Inc to commercialize the technology. Other firms working with Verizon on 5G include Nokia, Ericsson, Qualcomm and Intel Corp.

Verizon conducts field tests this year and aims to begin deploying 5G trials on home broadband services in 2017 in the United States, likely the first 5G application commercially available before a broader mobile network standard is agreed.

Samsung – which was a distant fifth player in the global 4G infrastructure market in January-March, according to researcher His – declined to comment on what clients it expected to receive 5G equipment orders from.

 

 

 

 

Does Qualcomm Need Apple?

June 21, 2016 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The fanboys aka the Apple Press has been running down Qualcomm since its favourite company announced it was buying chips from Intel, but there are good reasons why the American chipmaker should not care that much.

As we have been saying for ages, Jobs’ Mob is no longer exclusively going with Qualcomm to provide modem chips for the upcoming iPhone 7. The deal, while large, is tailored for some of Apple’s partnerships. Intel gets AT&T phones and Qualcomm remains the supplier for Verizon network phones and for China.

The press has been claiming that it is terrible news for Qualcomm. But it appears Qualcomm knew it was coming and had already factored in the loss of the business into its results. The reason Qualcomm is not losing any sleep over the deal is because the most Intel is going to get is a third of the iPhone modems. This is what in financial terms is considered a “pisser” but hardly a reason to jump off any buildings over.

Other good things are happening to Qualcomm which more than balance out what has been lost to Intel. Firstly its latest Snapdragons are selling extremely well and secondly the shine is starting to go off its number one rival MediaTek.

For a while, naysayers have been predicting that MediaTek was going to sink Qualcomm. In fact there was even a suggestion that Qualcomm should get out of chipmaking and become a patent troll.

MediaTek had been luring away Qualcomm customers with cheaper chips, which combined with Apple, Samsung and Huawei making their own chips was creating a perfect storm of doom.

Now there is a suggestion that MediaTek’s growth wagon might have stalled. MediaTek’s sales fell 9.4 per cent annually last quarter to $1.7 billion. Its operating margin halved from 16 per cent last year to eight per cent. The reason was due to higher expenses across the board. This meant that its net income fell to $136 million. MediaTek is still more profitable than Qualcomm’s chipmaking division has a wafer thin 5 per cent last quarter.

Analysts expect MediaTek to post double-digit sales growth fuelled by rising demand for 4G smartphone chips in China. But its margins are also expected to keep contracting due to tough competition from Qualcomm and Spreadtrum.

Another risk for MediaTek is its dependence on China. Taiwan just got rid of the pro-unification KMT party, which controlled the presidency for the past eight years, in favour of the pro-independence DPP party.

MediaTek needs direct investments from mainland China to fight off Qualcomm, but it is finding that the Taiwanese government is blocking that sort of investment cash.

All this is giving Qualcomm a fighting chance in the area where it makes a lot of its cash. Sure its margins might be lower, but it still making more money. Enough so that it does not have to worry about losing a small about of dosh to Intel.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Patent Dispute May Hamper Apple’s iPhone 6 Sales In China

June 20, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Apple’s iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus face a looming sales ban in China over a patent dispute with a little-known local company.

The phones infringe a design patent held by Chinese device maker Shenzhen Baili, a Beijing intellectual property office ruled, according to a notice posted Thursday.

The office ordered Apple and its partners to halt sales of both products, though Apple has appealed and the phones are currently still on sale there.

“We appealed an administrative order from a regional patent tribunal in Beijing last month and as a result the order has been stayed pending review by the Beijing IP Court,” Apple said Friday in an email.

The iPhone 6 models violate an “exterior design patent” held by Shenzhen Baili. The company was granted the patent in China in July 2014, shortly before Apple released the iPhone 6.

Shenzhen Baili used the patented design to make smartphones under its 100+ brand. The devices start at only 799 yuan, or about US$120, while the iPhone 6 initially sold for 5,288 yuan.

Shenzhen Baili warned Apple in 2014 that it might sue for patent infringement.

It’s not Apple’s first legal challenge in China. In 2012 the company battled a different company there which claimed ownership of the iPad trademark. Apple ended up paying US$60 to resolve that dispute – not a huge sum considering the importance of the Chinese market.

Earlier this year, in April, Chinese regulators shut down Apple’s iTunes Movies and iBooks services without publicly stating why. Those services appear to be still offline.

China is the world’s biggest smartphone market but Apple products face stiff competition there from local handset makers. In the first quarter this year, Apple ranked fifth among smartphone makers in China, according to research firm Canalys.

“‘Local vendors, such as Huawei, Vivo and Oppo, are eating into the premium segment that Samsung and Apple considered their own,” Canalys said at the time.

 

 

 

 

Napster Brand Making A Comeback

June 17, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The Napster name, once widely known for illegal music sharing, is now respectable enough to carry the flag for one of the oldest names in paid music streaming.

Rhapsody will soon change its name worldwide to Napster, the listening service has announced. It already uses the Napster brand in Europe.

“Napster is coming,” the post said. “No changes to your playlists, favorites, albums, and artists. Same music. Same service. Same price. 100% the music you love. Stay tuned!”

The name change in the U.S. could be another attempt to catch up to Spotify, which recently passed 30 million subscribers. Rhapsody said late last year it had about 3.5 million.

Napster began in the late 1990s as a service for sharing and downloading mp3 music files and quickly attracted a large following, especially among college students. The Recording Industry Association of America sued the company for copyright infringement in late 1999 and won an injunction that shut down Napster in 2001.

A series of acquisitions by companies including music publisher Bertelsmann and retailer Best Buy put Napster on a path to respectability, but it also faded amid the growth of legal music stores like iTunes and then streaming services like Spotify.

Rhapsody, which has been around since 2001, bought Napster in 2011 and set out to replace Napster’s brand with its own in the U.S. Later it bought Napster International to expand into Germany and the U.K., where it decided to keep the Napster brand.

With the latest change, that moniker has won out. A formerly infamous brand now seems to carry more clout than one that once was almost famous.

 

 

AT&T Expands Wi-Fi Calling To LG G4

June 17, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

AT&T revealed that it will support calling over a Wi-Fi network from the LG G4 phone, with other Android devices to follow.

Wi-Fi calls recently became available to customers usingiPhones and other iOS 9.3 devices on all four major U.S. carriers, which includes AT&T, Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. That iOS update first became available March 21.

Wi-Fi calling is ideal for places were there is limited or no cell coverage. Many indoor spaces don’t provide good cellular connections, so Wi-Fi calling is a suitable alternative. Travelers abroad can reduce roaming costs by using Wi-Fi calling as well.

“Wi-Fi calling is a feature that customers want, so that’s the most important reason for carriers to do it,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics.

T-Mobile advertised Wi-Fi calling as a replacement for inconsistent cellular service as early as 2007 before getting a permit from the Federal Communications Commission to do so.

AT&T explained that its Wi-Fi calling requires a compatible device and a postpaid wireless account set-up for HD Voice as well as the Wi-Fi connection.

Users on AT&T’s Wi-Fi calling system can make and receive calls and texts and keep the same phone number. The bill for a call is based on the number being called. For AT&T customers, making a call on a U.S. number to another U.S. number is free, even if the customer is overseas, according to an AT&T blog and a separate online description.

 

 

UberEATS Launches In London

June 17, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Ride-hailing company Uber debuted its meal delivery service app UberEATS in London on Thursday, the second European city where users will be able to order food to their home, entering a burgeoning British market.

The service, which is currently available in 17 cities around the world including Paris, will compete with rivals such as Deliveroo and Just Eat, which have advertised heavily in the capital in recent months.

Britons will be able to download the app on their iPhone or Android handset from midday on Thursday and order meals from restaurants which will be delivered by Uber drivers.

Deliveries will be made to customers in central London from over 150 eateries between 11 a.m. and 11 p.m. with plans to expand further away from the center in the coming weeks.

Uber has faced months of protests from drivers of the capital’s long-dominant black cabs but earlier this year transport bosses rejected options which could have imposed strict new restrictions on how it operates.

 

Apple Adds Panic App To Apple Watch

June 16, 2016 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Apple took the idea of a quick wireless call for help one step further with the announcement of the SOS feature for Apple Watches, coming this fall in the new watchOS 3.

SOS will quickly let a user call for help by pressing and holding the side button on an Apple Watch running watchOS 3 “no matter where they are in the world,”according to Apple publicity.

The call is made via cellular wireless through an iPhone connected by Bluetooth to the watch or through Wi-Fi if the watch is connected to a Wi-Fi network. The call will go to local emergency services, such as 999 when a user is in Hong Kong and 911 in the U.S., according to Kevin Lynch vice president of technology at Apple.

After the call is made, the watch will automatically send a map and a message to a user’s emergency contacts so they know where the user is. There will also be the ability to add a user’s medical ID to the watch, with information such as age and allergy information, he added.

“We’re finding people who wear an Apple Watch wear it all the time,” Lynch said, which gives the SOS feature the ability to be a quick-response app, referred to in the industry as a panic app.

Lynch and Apple certainly didn’t headline SOS in presenting the various watchOS 3 improvements, and it is mentioned only in passing on the Apple web site. The biggest and most promoted improvements to watchOS 3 include quicker interactions, such as an app launch time that’s seven times faster than before.