According to a Microsoft blog post, Solair’s technology will be used to upgrade the company’s Azure IoT Suite, a collection of cloud services meant to help companies use the Internet of Things.
Microsoft and Solair didn’t disclose the financial terms of their deal.
Solair’s technology, which already uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud services, offers IoT services focused on a variety of markets, including home automation, smart metering, remote maintenance and inventory management.
Microsoft didn’t say specifically what it will get out of Solair’s technology, but it promised to release more details on the integration of the two companies later.
Microsoft acquired Solair for its technology, not its customer base, MachNation analyst Dima Tokar wrote in a commentary. Sam George, the partner director for Azure IoT, said in a blog post that Microsoft is excited about the technology and talent that will come with the acquisition.
Azure is a key part of Microsoft’s corporate strategy. The company is betting big on getting more customers to use its cloud offerings, and acquisitions like this one are aimed at getting more companies to buy into the Azure ecosystem, especially for new workloads like those driven by IoT.
Alphabet Inc’s Google and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV have agreed to team up and build a fleet of 100 self-driving minivans, marking the first time that a Silicon Valley firm has teamed up with a traditional carmaker to develop an autonomous vehicle.
Google and Fiat said the deal announced on Tuesday was the first time Google has worked directly with an automaker “to integrate its self-driving system, including its sensors and software, into a passenger vehicle.”
The growing use of computing power in vehicles is paving the way for intelligent, self-driving cars, creating new rivalries and business opportunities for both technology companies and automakers.
Unlike its rival premium carmakers Daimler, BMW and Volkswagen unit Audi, cash-strapped Fiat Chrysler has decided to turn to an industry outsider to develop intelligent, self-driving cars, not having the resources to do the work alone.
Fiat Chrysler has a net debt pile of 6.6 billion euros ($7.6 billion) and Chief Executive Sergio Marchionne has been trying unsuccessfully for more than a year to persuade rivals, including GM, to consider a merger to help spread the rising costs of research and development.
On Tuesday Google and Fiat Chrysler engineers said they will work together to fit Google’s autonomous driving technology into the Chrysler Pacifica minivans, working together at a facility in Southeast Michigan, where Fiat Chrysler has its major North American engineering center, the companies said.
Google has said that it does not want to build self-driving vehicles on its own and has explored alliances with auto companies, but none has been finalized. Working more closely with Fiat Chrysler could help Google refine its systems as a step towards offering them in regular production cars.
The deal does not preclude either FCA or Google from cooperating with others, and Google said it is not sharing with Fiat proprietary self-driving technology developed for another prototype vehicle.
Nonetheless Google said teaming up with Fiat Chrysler helps advance their expertise in the market for self driving cars.
“The opportunity to work closely with FCA engineers will accelerate our efforts to develop a fully self-driving car that will make our roads safer and bring everyday destinations within reach for those who cannot drive,” John Krafcik, chief executive of the Google Self-Driving Car Project, said in a statement.
Global semiconductor sales saw a slight increase in March for the first time in five months.
According to the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA) trade group March chip sales totaled $26.1 billion on a three-month average basis, up 0.3% compared with February.
Total first quarter chip sales totaled just $78.3 billion, down 5.5 per cent compared to the fourth quarter of 2015 and down 5.8 per cent compared to the first quarter of 2015.
John Neuffer, SIA president and CEO, in a statement that while global semiconductor sales increased in March for the first time in five months, soft demand, market cyclicality, and macroeconomic conditions continue to impede more robust growth.
First quarter sales declined sequentially in nearly all regions, with the Americas showing the sharpest decline.
March sales improved over February by 4.8 per cent in Japan, 2.3 per cent in the Asia-Pacific region and 0.1 per cent in Europe. Sales declined by 1.1 per cent sequentially in China and 2.8 per cent in the Americas.
Sales for March increased in Japan and compared to March 2015, but decreased significantly in Europe, the Americas and the Asia-Pacific region, the SIA said. Sales in the Americas were down nearly 16 per cent compared to March 2015.
Once a die-hard cloud holdout, Oracle has been making up for lost time by buying a foothold in specific industries through acquisitions such as this one. Last week’s Textura buy gave it a leg up in engineering and construction.
“It’s a good move on Oracle’s part, and it definitely strengthens Oracle’s cloud story,” said Frank Scavo, president of Computer Economics.
Opower’s big-data platform helps utilities improve customer service, reduce costs and meet regulatory requirements. It currently stores and analyzes more than 600 billion meter readings from 60 million end customers. Opower claims more than 100 global utilities among its clients, including PG&E, Exelon and National Grid.
Opower will continue to operate independently until the transaction closes, which is expected later this year. The union will create the largest provider of mission-critical cloud services to an industry that’s worth $2.3 trillion, Oracle said.
Oracle’s Utilities business delivers applications and cloud services that automate core operational processes and enable compliance for global electric, gas and water utilities.
“Oracle’s industry organizations maintain unique domain knowledge, specialized expertise and focused product investments,” said Rodger Smith, a senior vice president who leads the Utilities global business unit, in a letter to customers and partners. “This model has proven highly successful across several industries, and we look forward to bringing these same benefits to the customers of Opower.”
Under that banner, the pure Dell name will live on in the company’s client business, including its PCs, while its enterprise infrastructure division will be called Dell EMC, chairman and CEO Michael Dell announced on Monday at EMC World in Las Vegas.
Dell Technologies will be the only company selling everything from edge devices to core data centers and cloud infrastructure, a mission that rival HP backed away from when it split into Hewlett Packard Enterprise and HP Inc., Dell said.
He pitched the end-to-end strategy as a boon to customers who want a single partner that can do everything, letting them focus on business growth.
“You want technology made easier,” Dell said.
Dell Technologies will include all of what’s called Dell today, plus EMC’s core Information Infrastructure storage division, Pivotal, Virtustream, the partly public VMware and two security businesses: Dell’s SecureWorks and EMC’s RSA unit.
For EMC, owning a collection of semi-autonomous businesses and making them add up to something more is called federation, and it has come under attack from some investors and skeptics. On Monday, Dell called it a family and said Dell Technologies will be able to align its businesses and invest in new technologies at its own pace as a privately held company.
The acquisition is on track under its original terms and timeline, Michael Dell said. The deal still needs regulatory and shareholder approvals.
Alexa is the cloud-based system that controls the Amazon Echo, a speaker system launched by Amazon in 2014 that has emerged as a surprise hit. “Alexa” is the name the device responds to when users make requests, such as “turn on radio.”
Amazon and TrackR declined to comment on the size of the investment.
Like Apple Inc’s Siri and Google’s Google Now, Alexa is designed to answer questions or take other actions in response to simple voice queries.
Unlike its rivals, Amazon allows non-Amazon devices to integrate Alexa technology. The investment in TrackR came through Amazon’s $100 million “Alexa Fund,” which invests in and supports technologies that broaden Alexa’s abilities.
Santa Barbara, California-based TrackR uses Bluetooth technology to help track lost items. Users put a small chip on an item, such as a wallet or TV remote, and can order those products to make a sound through their phone so that they can be found.
If a TrackR customer loses an item out of Bluetooth reach, any TrackR user can connect to the device using the company’s network to alert the owner of the lost item.
The Alexa partnership will give the TrackR service a voice response capability and will also integrate in the other direction and enable people to find their lost items via the Echo.
“The ability to bring on more partners and realize that you are building an entire ecosystem – I think that is what was really important for us,” said Chris Herbert, who co-founded TrackR with friend Christian Smith in 2009.
TrackR raised $8.7 million last year in a Series A round led by Foundry Group.
Amazon has made roughly 15 investments so far through the Alexa Fund, including The Orange Chef, which helps connect kitchen prep devices, and Garageio, which makes a connected garage door opener.
Samsung Electronics is introducing a third 14-nano FinFET system semiconductor process that has lower electricity consumption and production cost than previous cost.
According to the Electronic Times, Samsung said that it will soon be completing development of Low-Power Compact (LPC) 14-nano FinFET process. Strategic partners of Samsung’s foundry business are predicting that this process will be used in anger by the end of the year.
All this is moving fast Samsung mass-produced Low Power Early (LPE) Chips, which are 1st generation chips just last year. It has just mass-produced second 2nd generation 14-nano LPP66 (Low Power Plus) chips that have 15 per cent lesser electricity consumption compared to LPE chips.
The Exynos 8 Octa Series and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 443 820 which is under the bonnet of the Galaxy S7 are mass-produced through 14-nano LPP process.
Samsung’s third generation process reduces the number of masks that are used for wafer manufacturing process. It is expected that 14 nano will be around for as long as 28 nano was.
Even when 10-nano and 7-nano processes are developed, there will be many fabless manufacturing companies will still use cost-efficient 14-nano process.
Qualcomm, Samsung and Mediatek recently introduced new 14 and 16-nano AP products that are inexpensive. They will be used for Snapdragon 443 625, Exynos 7870, and Helio P20, and this indicates that a number of chips produced by 14-nano process will increase.
Samsung’s 14-nano LPC process, will start a war with Taiwan’s TSMC in a battle to secure customers. TSMC has three types of 16-nano FinFET processes. It’s first 16-nano FinFET process arrived at the end of 2014.
Recently, Sony Computer Entertainment filed a patent with the USPTO to integrate a camera into a wearer’s contact lens, complete with the imaging sensor as well as data storage and a wireless communication module. The technology, powered wirelessly and controlled by blinking, also offers the possibility of auto-focus, zooming and image stabilization.
Sony is the second to file a patent for integrating a wearable camera into a contact lens, after it was discovered that Samsung filed a patent in South Korea for a similar concept on April 5th. Sony’s patent is filed under the name “Contact Lens and Storage Medium” and is slated to become a full-fledged camera device, complete with a lens, main CPU, imaging sensor, storage area, and a wireless communication module. The camera unit also includes support for autofocus, zooming, and image stabilization.
This isn’t the first time we’ve seen wireless sensor technology integrated into a contact lens. In January 2014, Google announced its ambitions to create a glucose-level monitoring contact lens for the diagnosis and monitoring of blood sugar levels for diabetic patients. Google’s project integrates several miniscule sensors loaded with tens of thousands of transistors that measure glucose levels from a wearer’s tear drops, along with a low-power wireless transmitter to send results to other wearable devices along with smartphones and PCs.
More recently on April 7, it was discovered that Samsung could be working on mass-marketing a CMOS imaging sensor into a contact lens thanks to a new patent discovered by SamMobile and GalaxyClub.nl. The patent application, filed in South Korea, includes a display that projects images directly into a wearer’s field of view and includes a camera, an antenna, and several sensors for detecting movement and eye blinks.
Sony’s contact lens patent could be successor to its HMZ 3D displays
Rather than placing focus solely as a healthcare solution, Sony’s patent appears to become a more biologically integrated implementation of the company’s early head-mounted displays (HMDs) with wireless video streaming. The big difference this time, however, will be the inclusion of a camera lens and near-undetectable appearance, depending on how well Sony manages to camoflauge any chips and modules into its first-generation contact lens units.
In November 2011, Sony introduced its first-generation HMZ-T1 head mounted 3D display, complete with dual 1280x720p OLED displays, support for 5.1 channel surround via earbuds and signal input from an HDMI 1.4a cable. This model weighed 420g / 0.93lbs with a launch price of $799.
In October 2012, Sony introduced the second-generation HMZ-T2 follow up in Japan. This model reduced weight by nearly 20 percent (330g / 0.73lbs) and replaced earbuds with a dedicated 3.5mm headphone jack, complete with near-latency free wireless HD viewing (dual 1280x720p displays), 24p cinema picture support, and signal input via HDMI 1.4a cable.
In November 2013, Sony introduced the HMZ-T3W, the third-generation of its head mounted 3D viewer with near-latency free, wireless HD viewing (dual 1280x720p displays) with a 32-bit DAC delivering 7.1 channel audio (5Hz – 24KHz), and signal input via MHL cable and HDMI 1.4a. This device was not available in the United States and launched in Europe for a stunning £1,300 ($2,035) and is alternatively available as an import from Japan for $1090.
Will not come cheap
Based on the initial launch prices of Sony’s previous HMZ headsets ($799 and above) and the Google Glass launch price of $1499, and depending on the company’s target market, we might expect Sony’s first-generation contact lenses to be somewhere in between these two price points when they begin mass-production within the next couple years.
The smartphone market has hit a bit of a lull. Sure, they’ve got bigger and faster (that’s what she said) but it’s been hard to get really excited about new phones recently beyond the fact that, well, they’re new.
The iPhone 7 may – or may not – change this, but it’s more likely to be a new design, a slightly faster processor and maybe a new iOS version.
But what if we look further into the future, say 2020 or 2021, and devices like the iPhone 9 or Galaxy S9? What will hit the market then to get excited about? Mind-control text capabilities? Full 360-degree video filming? Bendable screens? Week-long battery life?
Well, let’s start with the battery. Sadly, week-long battery life on a smartphone seems unlikely even by 2020, as Dr Kevin Curran, reader in Computer Science at Ulster University and a senior member of the IEEE, explained to the INQUIRER.
“On average, we only see improvements in capacity of six per cent per annum. So by 2020 we can only really expect a 25 per cent improvement in battery life,” he said.
However, while 25 per cent may sound good, Curran warned that these improvements tend to be offset by the fact the battery has to work harder as devices get more powerful and have higher density pixel displays.
Headlines proclaim major breakthroughs with battery technology, but Curran believes it’s unlikely that battery life will improve significantly, although there is work being done to change this.
“There are promising breakthroughs with regards to lithium-sulphur, supercapacitors, hydrogen fuel cells, solid state batteries and others, but history should tell us to be cautious about any new dramatic claims in having solved the problem of packing energy into a battery,” he said.
OK, so forget battery life. Surely there must be other new and exciting features to look forward to? Well, one technology is thermal imaging.
This was actually unveiled recently on the Cat S60 (pictured below), and Curran believes that other manufacturers will add this to their phones in time.
“This allows for a multitude of use cases, including detecting heat loss around windows and doors, spotting moisture and missing insulation, identifying over-heating electrical appliances and circuitry, and seeing in complete darkness,” he explained.
“This additional sensor allows much better control and depth in the photos you can take,” Curran added.
Meanwhile, analyst house CCS Insight has predicted that wireless charging will be standard by 2020, given that Apple is likely to include this technology in the iPhone 7. That should save scrabbling around for charging points.
Qatar National Bank has confirmed that its systems were hacked but said that the information released online was a combination of data picked up from the attack and from other sources such as social media.
The incident will not have a financial impact on the bank’s customers, whose accounts are secure, the bank said — without providing details of how its systems were hacked, the possible identity of the hackers and what information was harvested.
The announcement Sunday by one of the leading financial institutions in the Middle East follows the posting online last week of leaked documents. The attack targeted only a portion of Qatar-based customers, the bank said, claiming the hack attempted to target the bank’s reputation rather than specifically its customers.
“QNB Group’s Risk Team monitored abnormal activity in our system environment; this was immediately communicated to relevant authorities,” the bank said in a statement. “We also took immediate steps and our systems are fully secure and operational.”
The 1.4GB trove of documents leaked online included both financial information such as customer transaction logs, personal identification numbers and credit card data. But on closer scrutiny the data was found to have folders with detailed profiles on specific individuals, including what appeared to be files on members of the Qatari royal family, employees of media outlet Al Jazeera and people listed as working for the British MI6 and some other intelligence agencies, security firm Trend Micro said on Wednesday.
The attackers used an open-source SQL injection tool to extract all of the customer data they needed, wrote Simon Edwards, cyber security expert at Trend Micro. SQL injection is used against against websites that use SQL (structured query language) to query information from a database server.
The log file suggests that the attack could have started about nine months ago in July last year, Edwards said.
QNB said Tuesday that it would not comment on reports in social media of “an alleged data breach,” but sought to assure all concerned that there was no financial impact on the bank or its clients.
“To ensure we can deliver the integrated search experience designed for Windows 10, Microsoft Edge will be the only browser that will launch when you search from the Cortana box,” said Ryan Gavin, general manager of search marketing, in a post to a Microsoft company blog.
The Cortana search box — at the lower left of the Windows 10 desktop — relies on Microsoft’s Bing search engine.
Gavin defended the move by saying that “some software programs circumvent the design of Windows 10 and redirect you to search providers that were not designed to work with Cortana.” When that happens, Gavin said, users get a “compromised experience that is less reliable and predictable.”
While Gavin didn’t name names, Mozilla’s Firefox modified Windows 10 so that when that browser was made the operating system’s default, Firefox’s selected search provider generated results from in-Cortana queries, with the ensuing pages appearing in Firefox, not Edge. Other browsers, such as Google’s Chrome, did not go that far, but third-party extensions available in the Chrome Web Store did.
The changes won’t affect the basic functionality of non-Microsoft browsers, Gavin pledged: Chrome, Firefox, Opera and others will continue to work as before and will still default to their set search providers when queries are made from within those browsers.
But the Cortana search box is now Bing-and-Edge-only territory.
Microsoft has good reason for staking out Cortana as its exclusive turf, and not simply because of the disruption to Cortana’s delivery of personalized results that Gavin mentioned. The Redmond, Wash., company has bet that Windows 10 will generate revenue outside the traditional licensing fees that OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) pay.
Not only does Microsoft want to push users toward Edge as much as possible, but it’s expecting new revenue from increased use of Bing, which is tightly integrated with Windows 10. The Cortana-Bing scenarios that Gavin cited — buying concert tickets, clothes and pizzas — presumably produce revenue for Microsoft.
Google’s attempts to safeguard the Android app store — Google Play — are far from perfect, with malicious apps routinely slipping through its review process. Such was the case for multiple phishing applications this year that posed as client apps for popular online payment services.
Researchers from security firm PhishLabs claim that they’ve found 11 such applications since the beginning of 2016 hosted on Google Play, most of them created by the same group of attackers.
The apps are simple, yet effective. They load Web pages containing log-in forms that look like the target companies’ websites. These pages are loaded from domain names registered by the attackers, but because they are loaded inside the apps, users don’t see their actual location.
In some cases attackers registered domain names that are similar to those of the impersonated online payment services, PhishLab Security Threat Analyst Joshua Shilko said in a blog post.
More recently, attackers used domain names similar to those of cryptocurrency companies, suggesting that the cryptocurrency industry is also targeted.
PhishLabs did not name the exact payment card companies and online payment services whose users were targeted by these fake apps. However, most of those companies provide links to their official mobile applications on their websites and users should always use those links instead of manually searching for them on the Play store.
“In one case, a targeted company explicitly states on their website that no mobile application exists for their company and that users should be wary of any mobile application using their brand,” Shilko said.
The danger is that if phishers manage to routinely bypass Google’s review process and upload such apps to the Google Play store, their attacks might extend to other industries in the future.
Another problem is that even when these apps are detected by third-parties and reported, it can take several days for Google to remove them from the app store, leaving a sufficiently large window of opportunity for attackers. It’s not clear how attackers promote these fake apps or if they rely only on users finding them themselves, but in general phishing attacks are most effective during the first several hours after they’re launched.
Vevo might be the new MTV for millennials, who might not know MTV that played music a few decades ago. Vevo CEO Erik Huggers had an interview at a Hunter Walk blog talking about YouTube, subscription base and the future.
Vevo CEO, ex Intel and ex BBC executive Erik Huggers mentioned that the Vevo will get a subscription based service but for the time being the company will stay with add supported content. Huggers first worked first on the iBBC player and later at Intel OnCue, then Verizon before getting the Vevo CEO.
The company has announced a new Apple TV, iOS and Android applications for people who like to watch the content on the TV console or their tablets and phones. Huggers mentioned that Vevo was getting 17 billion unique views per month. He said that if you are musician you will prefer Spotify for audio streaming and Vevo to YouTube, and here is why.
Peter Mensch, the manager of bands including Metallica, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Muse told a BBC Radio 4 documentary on the music business:
“YouTube, they’re the devil. We don’t get paid at all.”
The BBC quoted him saying that YouTube was killing the record industry.
There is now way you can say it better than this, Mensch obviously knows what he is talking about. When we dug a bit deeper into the issue, bands have issues with complete albums being uploaded to YouTube. The big bands don’t get paid at all, at least according to Peter Mensch.
Vevo might turn its back to YouTube, despite its current business model where the company uses YouTube to distribute its videos. We see a big change coming. Artists are obviously not happy as people are ripping their stuff and not paying.
Online publishing was an area where big mistakes were made 20 + years ago. Online magazines usually rely on marketing, same as YouTube, but it seems that YouTube, Facebook and other big social based website make a lot of money and giving YouTubers and artists pennies.
Huggers believes Vevo can offer a tailored experience which is personalised for individuals who love music videos via various channels including Apple TV or mobile applications. Imagine if Vevo starts offering exclusive concert footage of your favourite bands, this would probably be worth of a few bucks a month, wouldn’t it?
Billionaire activist investor and Apple cheerleader Carl Icahn has dumped his entire stake in Apple because he thinks the writing is on the wall for the tech company.
Icahn has been a big fan of Apple since he started investing three years ago. He has also made a fortune out of his investment. But he said that Apple’s glory days could be over because the company has become too dependent on the whims of the Chinese government.
Icahn, who owned 45.8 million Apple shares at the end of last year, said China’s economic slowdown and worries about how China could become more prohibitive in doing business triggered his decision to exit his position entirely.
He said that there was nothing wrong with Apple’s management and it was still a great company, “but you worry a little bit, maybe more than a little, about China’s attitude.”
He said that the Chinese government could “come in and make it very difficult for Apple to sell there,” Icahn said.
Earlier this month, China shut down Apple’s iTunes movies and iBooks stores within the country, following Beijing’s introduction of regulations in March imposing strict curbs on online publishing, particularly for foreign firms.
Icahn said that Apple stock is still pretty cheap but China could be a shadow for it. He would have to look closely at what was happening in China before he bought another Apple share.
To be fair Icahn said that he had made $2 billion off the Apple trade and got a 48 percent to 50 percent total return which is not bad.
Apple shares have now declined more than 10 percent this week.
There more evidence that tablets were never the game-changer that Steve Jobs tried to peddle them as, and were just the keyboardless netbooks we said they were.
IDC siad that for the first quarter of 2016, overall worldwide tablet shipments fell to 39.6 million, a 14.7 percent drop from the same period a year ago, However the only part of the segment which did ok were tablets with keyboards – or as we used to call them, netbooks.
IDC said that the decline of ordinary tablets was partly due to traditional first-quarter slumps but also a complete lack of interest on the part of customers.
Traditional tablets accounted for 87.6 percent of all tablet shipments. But tablets that come with detachable keyboards increased of more than 4.9 million units last quarter. That was a gain of 120 percent from the same period last year and an all-time high for tablets with detachable keyboards.
Tablets are dying because more people are buying big-screened phones as an alternative. You remember Fablets? They were what Steve Jobs claimed would never work because they prefered smaller smartphones or bigger tablets. In fact he was talking rubbish and was trying to keep his keyboardless netbook idea going.
IDC said that the newer tablets don’t offer enough new features to entice people to upgrade. After all tablets were always looking for an app which made them useful, which never arrived.
To counteract the downturn, more manufacturers are turning to tablets with detachable keyboards that can thus serve as laptops – on otherwords returning to the netbooks that the Tablets were said to replace.
“With the PC industry in decline, the detachable market stands to benefit as consumers and enterprises seek to replace their aging PCs with detachables,” IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani said in a statement.
Apple saw its shipments and market share drop but remained in first place. Apple’s latest 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the new 256GB storage option for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro are “healthy additions” to the lineup, IDC said. Samsung also saw its shipments and market share decline. Though the Samsung Galaxy Tab lineup is still popular, its detachable TabPro S is dead in the water thanks to its $900 price tag.
Amazon has found success with its starting-at-$49 Fire, showing that consumers will still buy bargain-priced tablets. Missing from the list was Microsoft in spite of the popularity of its Surface Pro products, which start at $900.
“The Surface line is great. But it’s tough to drive volume in the first quarter. Prices of Surface products are fairly high, but Microsoft is in the top five list for tablets with detachable keyboards. The top five for tablets as a whole is a tougher nut to crack given the large slate volumes compared to detachables.”