“We like big, ambitious goals at Facebook,” said Chris Daniels, head of Internet.org in a discussion with several reporters at Mobile World Congress (MWC).
Facebook and several partners founded Internet.org two years ago; it is already serving 7 million customers in Colombia, Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, India and Zambia. Many of those who were originally connected for free are now paying some fee for more advanced data services.
Daniels, a vice president at Facebook in charge of Internet.org, said the conversion of free Internet users to paying customers is critical to the carriers who provide the Internet infrastructure that makes the service possible.
He sounded the same refrain that Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg offered on Monday in a keynote presentation at MWC with three onstage carriers, including Airtel Africa, which has offered Internet.org in Ghana, Kenya and Zambia. Millicom, another partner, saw a 30% increase in data users when free data data was launched in Paraguay.
While the goal of 100 countries in a year is ambitious, Daniels said it is achievable, partly because Internet.org has figured out how to work with carriers to offer online services for free that don’t cannibalize the paid services that are the lifeblood of many carriers.
“It’s ambitious to say 100 countries, but our focus is less on the number and to focus more on spreading Internet.org to added companies,” he said. “We’ve had early partners and have brought more [users] online and more are paying for data and buying voice and SMS.”
Once more countries are on board, Daniels said the free basic service model should continue. “We’d like to see it ongoing. We’d like to see free basic services always available. Operators will leave it on only if it continues to benefit their business.”
Imagination has revealed a new four-core PowerVR GPU designed to bring high-quality graphics to smaller, cheaper devices such as budget smartphones, wearables and “space-constrained” Internet of Things (IoT) devices.
The PowerVR G6020 GPU is aimed at developers looking to create devices requiring low-power displays, including smartwatches, appliances, connected radios and dashboard screens in vehicles.
“This is a tiny GPU for 720p displays on small entry-level phones and tablets,” a Imagination representative told The INQUIRER at the firm’s booth at Mobile World Congress (MWC).
“The GPU is a stripped-down version of our highest-end GPU, leaving an architecture which is optimised for costs and making it as simple as possible for devices running Android Wear, for example, or [other] IoT devices.”
It can also power mobile hotspots, routers and M2M devices, the firm said.
The PowerVR G6020 GPU has been designed for graphics efficiency in ultra-compact silicon areas, and claims to provide better device performance and compatibility “without unnecessary overhead”.
The unit has four arithmetic logic unit cores, a silicon footprint of 2.2mm2, and a 28nm process technology at 400MHz, and features an optimised universal shading cluster engine designed for better user interface experiences.
Imagination claims that the GPU’s OpenGL ES 3.0 capability gives it a smooth user experience for high-definition displays at 720p.
“PowerVR is the ideal GPU for mobile and embedded because its programmable shader- and tile-based deferred rendering architecture leads to high-performance efficiency and the lowest power consumption per frame,” the firm said.
“In addition, PowerVR maximises bandwidth efficiency with Imagination’s advanced PVRTC2 texture compression technology that ensures minimum memory footprint and superior image quality.”
Also part of the announcement were the PowerVR E5800, E5505 and E5300 video encoders based on an architecture that scales efficiently from the ultra-low power requirements of devices such as wearables.
“The PowerVR 5 series offers the same quality of streaming video at half the bitrate, which is important for video conferencing over mobile networks such as 3G or 4G connections where bandwidth is limited,” the Imagination rep told us.
These PowerVR Series5 encoders support multiple standards in a single solution which leads to area savings and simplifies system integration. For example, it’s no longer necessary to add several cores to handle multiple formats on the same chip or maintain multiple drivers.
Imagination encoded two streams using the same encoder at the same bitrate to show the boost in quality that H.265 video offers (see above).
This also features “region of interest encoding”. This technology shows how companies can build better video conferencing apps by combining PowerVR GPUs and video processors to enhance the focal point of a video stream so that it doesn’t need to work hard at improving the quality of the whole video – just the part which is important.
Lenovo’s 8-inch Tab 2 A8 will ship in June starting at $129, with a 64-bit version of Android 5.0 and a 64-bit quad-core processor from MediaTek. It was one of three tablets Lenovo announced ahead of the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona.
Sixty-four-bit tablets have a few advantages. They can support more memory and therefore make light work of multimedia-intensive apps such as games, as well as apps that use encryption for security. More 64-bit Android apps are in development, so a 64-bit tablet also provides some future-proofing.
Only a handful of 64-bit Android tablets are on sale today. One of the best known is Google’s Nexus 9, which sells for $399.99 in the Google Play store. Many more are expected as vendors deploy Android 5.0 more broadly and as more 64-bit processors become available. Lenovo’s Tab 2 A8 could prompt other vendors to drive down prices for their own 64-bit Android tablets.
The Tab 2 A8 is 9 millimeters thick, weighs 360 grams and will offer eight hours of battery life, according to Lenovo. The $129 model has Wi-Fi only, while a $179 model will have integrated LTE. It doesn’t look like the LTE model will be offered in the U.S., however.
The tablet has a 5-megapixel rear-facing camera, a 2-megapixel front-facing camera and 1GB of RAM. It has a maximum of 16GB of storage that can be expanded to 32GB with a Micro-SD card.
With a 720p screen, Lenovo has compromised on the display to keep the price low.
Tablet shipments flattened last year after years of strong growth, and the 64-bit Android tablets could spur people to upgrade from older models.
Apple had an early start in 64-bit tablets with the iPad Air, but the low-priced tablets could shift the market in Android’s favor.
Lenovo also announced the 10-inch Tab 2 A10, which has a 64-bit processor but will initially ship with a 32-bit version of Android, version 4.4. The tablet will start shipping in April and users will be able to upgrade their devices to Android 5.0 in June, Lenovo said.
AT&T Inc will link its connected car and smart home technologies to expand its reach in the fast-growing market for Internet-connected devices, a new battleground for the telecom giant and its rivals.
The wireless company’s home security and automation service “Digital Life” and connected car service “Drive” will be integrated so users can control their homes from a dashboard in their vehicles, Glenn Lurie, chief executive of AT&T Mobility told Reuters last week ahead of the company’s announcement at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
“Once you’ve told your home when the car is (for instance)within 20 feet of the house to please open the garage door, put the lights on, turn the alarm off, move the thermostat up, you can have those inanimate objects, the home and your car, really taking care of you,” Lurie said.
With the two services linked up, a “Drive” car can control devices in the home, including security cameras, air-conditioners, coffee makers, stereo systems, door locks, alarm sensors on windows and sensors that detect leaks from water pipes.
Most Americans own a mobile phone, and the $1.7 trillion U.S. wireless industry is turning for growth to connected devices.
AT&T said it had about 20 million connected devices from cars to cargo ship container sensors in 2014, up 21 percent from the year earlier. It has not yet revealed its revenue from its “Internet of Things” business.
Technology companies including Apple and Google are making their own plays. Mercedes-Benz has an application that lets drivers control thermostats from Nest, a company acquired by Google.
Analysts expect fast growth from the “Internet of Things”, or web-connected machines and gadgets. Connected car revenue is expected to be $20 billion annually by 2018 from $3 billion in 2013, and smart homes revenue is estimated to touch $71 billion by 2018, according to Juniper Research.
AT&T has deals with eight automakers from General Motors to Ford on connected car services. Lurie said it was still signing deals.
On the home front, it has partnered with home appliance makers such as Samsung and LG Electronics.
Customers will pay for the new service through AT&T’s Mobile Share Value plan. A user can add $10 to the monthly phone bill to share data across multiple connected devices such as wearables and cars, Lurie said. Or customers can opt for plans provided by their car manufacturer.
Qualcomm has unveiled what it claims is the world’s first ‘ultrasonic’ fingerprint scanner, in a bid to improve mobile security and further boost Android’s chances in the enterprise space.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon Sense ID 3D Fingerprint technology debuted during the chipmaker’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) press conference on Monday.
The firm claimed that the new feature will outperform the fingerprint scanners found on smartphones such as the iPhone 6 and Galaxy S6.
Qualcomm also claimed that, as well as “better protecting user data”, the 3D ultrasonic imaging technology is much more accurate than capacitive solutions currently available, and is not hindered by greasy or sweaty fingers.
Sense ID offers a more “innovative and elegant” design for manufacturers, the firm said, owing to its ability to scan fingerprints through any material, be it glass, metal or sapphire.
This means, in theory, that future fingerprint sensors could be included directly into a smartphone’s display.
Derek Aberle, Qualcomm president, said: “This is another industry first for Qualcomm and has the potential to revolutionise mobile security.
“It’s also another step towards the end of the password, and could mean that you’ll never have to type in a password on your smartphone again.”
No specific details or partners have yet been announced, but Qualcomm said that the Sense ID technology will arrive in devices in the second half of 2015, when the firm’s next-generation Snapdragon 820 processor is also tipped to debut.
The firm didn’t reveal many details about this chip, except that it will feature Kryo 64-bit CPU tech and a new machine learning feature dubbed Zeroth.
Qualcomm also revealed more details about LTE-U during Monday’s press conference, confirming plans to extend LTE to unused spectrum using technology integrated in its latest small-cell solutions and RF transceivers for mobile devices.
“We face many challenges as demand for data constantly grows, and we think the best way to fix this is by taking advantage of unused spectrum,” said Aberle.
Finally, the chipmaker released details about a new a partnership with Cyanogen, the open-source outfit responsible for the CyanogenMod operating system.
Qualcomm said that it will provide support for the best features and UI enhancements of CyanogenMod on Snapdragon processors, which will be available for the release of Qualcomm Reference Design in April.
The MWC announcements follow the launch of the ARM Cortex-based Snapdragon 620 and 618 chips last month, which promise to improve connectivity and user experience on high-end smartphones and tablets.
Aberle said that these chips will begin to show up in devices in mid to late 2015.
Ezchip is planning to put 100 ARM-based 64-bit cores into a processor which it thinks will fill a hole in the networking market.
Dubbed the Tile-Mx, the multi-core processors are in development, but won’t be sampling until the second half of 2016.
Company officials said the chips high core count, mesh connectivity and hardware accelerators will fix the demands on data centre and carrier networks brought on by such trends as mobility, big data, social media, the Internet of things (IoT) and the cloud.
Ezchip thinks that it will all work well with software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) and open switches and white boxes.
The Tile-Mx chip family is EZchip’s first go with ARM architecture and means it is moving away from the proprietary designs Tilera used in building out its multi-core portfolio.
Tile-Mx will be based around Cortex-A53 cores and will be targeted at white-box networking vendors, servers that run high-performance networking applications and software vendors.
The new chip family also will include smaller versions of the chip armed with 36 and 64 ARM cores, officials said.
The new chips also will include a mesh core interconnect architecture to provide a lot of bandwidth, low latency and high linear scalability.
The chips will offer 200G-bit throughput and will be able to take advantage of the growing ARM ecosystem of open-source software vendors, officials said.
Chinese PC and mobile phone maker Lenovo Group Ltd acknowledged that its website was hacked, its second security blemish days after the U.S. government advised consumers to remove software called “Superfish” pre-installed on its laptops.
Hacking group Lizard Squad claimed credit for the attacks on microblogging service Twitter. Lenovo said attackers breached the domain name system associated with Lenovo and redirected visitors to lenovo.com to another address, while also intercepting internal company emails.
Lizard Squad posted an email exchange between Lenovo employees discussing Superfish. The software was at the center of public uproar in the United States last week when security researchers said they found it allowed hackers to impersonate banking websites and steal users’ credit card information.
In a statement issued in the United States on Wednesday night, Lenovo, the world’s biggest maker of personal computers, said it had restored its site to normal operations after several hours.
“We regret any inconvenience that our users may have if they are not able to access parts of our site at this time,” the company said. “We are actively reviewing our network security and will take appropriate steps to bolster our site and to protect the integrity of our users’ information.”
Lizard Squad has taken credit for several high-profile outages, including attacks that took down Sony Corp’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft Corp’s Xbox Live network last month. Members of the group have not been identified.
Starting 4 p.m. ET on Wednesday, visitors to the Lenovo website saw a slideshow of young people looking into webcams and the song “Breaking Free” from the movie “High School Musical” playing in the background, according to technology publication The Verge, which first reported the breach.
Although consumer data was not likely compromised by the Lizard Squad attack, the breach was the second security-related black eye for Lenovo in a matter of days.
Nearly half of all security breaches come from vulnerabilities that are between two and four years old, according to this year’s HP Cyber Risk Report entitled The Past Is Prologue.
The annual report found that the most prevalent problems came as a result of server misconfiguration, and that the primary causes of commonly exploited software vulnerabilities are defects, bugs and logic flaws.
But perhaps most disturbing of all was the news that Internet of Things (IoT) devices and mobile malware have introduced a significant extra security risk.
The entire top 10 vulnerabilities exposed in 2014 came from code written years, and in some cases decades, previously.
The news comes in the same week that HP took a swipe at rival Lenovo for knowingly putting Superfish adware into its machines.
“Many of the biggest security risks are issues we’ve known about for decades, leaving organisations unnecessarily exposed,” said Art Gilliland, senior vice president and general manager for enterprise security products at HP.
“We can’t lose sight of defending against these known vulnerabilities by entrusting security to the next silver bullet technology. Rather, organisations must employ fundamental security tactics to address known vulnerabilities and, in turn, eliminate significant amounts of risk.”
The main recommendations of report are that network administrators should employ a comprehensive and timely patching strategy, perform regular penetration testing and variation of configurations, keep equipment up to date to mitigate risk, share collaboration and threat intelligence, and use complementary protection strategies.
The threat to security from the IoT is already well documented by HP, which released a study last summer revealing that 90 percent of IoT devices take at least one item of personal data and 60 percent are vulnerable to common security breaches.
A proposed class-action lawsuit was filed late last week against Lenovo and Superfish, charging both companies with “fraudulent” business practices and of making Lenovo PCs vulnerable to malware and malicious attacks by pre-loading the adware.
Plaintiff Jessica Bennett said her laptop was damaged as a result of Superfish, which was called “spyware” in court documents. She also accused Lenovo and Superfish of invading her privacy and making money by studying her Internet browsing habits.
The lawsuit was filed after Lenovo admitted to pre-loading Superfish on some consumer PCs. The laptops affected by Superfish include non-ThinkPad models such as G Series, U Series, Y Series, Z Series, S Series, Flex, Miix, Yoga and E Series.
Lenovo has since issued fixes to remove Superfish applications and certificates from PCs. Microsoft’s Windows Defender and McAfee’s security application also remove Superfish since Friday.
Lenovo earlier admitted it “messed up” by preloading Superfish on computers. The software plugs product recommendations into search results, but can hijack connections and open major security holes, thus leaving computers vulnerable to malicious attacks.
The first complaints of Superfish on Lenovo’s laptops emerged in September last year, but it became a real security issue when a hacker Marc Rogers pointed it out in a blog post.
Bennett, a blogger, purchased a Yoga 2 laptop to conduct business and communicate with clients. She noticed “spam advertisements involving scantily clad women” appearing on her client’s website when writing a blog post for the customer. After seeing pop-ups on other websites, she assumed her computer had spyware or had been hacked, but then scoured the forums to notice similar behavior on other Lenovo laptops. She then rooted out the problem to be Superfish, which could intercept secure communication and leave computers vulnerable.
Superfish also used memory resources and took up Internet bandwidth, according to the court document.
Damages from Lenovo and Superfish are being sought as part of the lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.
The free app from Google Inc’s online video service will be available for download as of today, February 23rd, and will feature kid-friendly design, with big icons and minimal scrolling, according to details seen by Reuters.
The app, which will be separate from the mainstream YouTube mobile app, will also feature parental controls such as a timer that can be used to limit a child’s screen time.
The Wall Street Journal earlier reported the launch, saying the company is planning to announce the new app today at a children’s entertainment industry conference.
A YouTube spokeswoman confirmed the information.
In December, USA Today reported that Google was planning to roll out child-friendly versions of its most popular products in a bid to be “fun and safe for children.”
Internet companies such as Google and Facebook Inc do not offer their services to children under 13.
AMD has confirmed that it is releasing new AMD A8-7650K APUs today.
The chips are based on the “Kaveri” design and are designed for overclockers on a budget.
The APU has four “Steamroller” cores (two dual-core modules) operating at 3.30GHz/3.90GHz clock-rate, 4MB L2 cache, AMD Radeon R7 graphics engine with 384 stream processors, a dual-channel DDR3 memory controller, unlocked multiplier and up to 95W thermal design power. The chip will be drop-in compatible with FM2+ mainboards.
AMD will officially start to sell its A8-7650K on the 20 February, 2015. In Japan, where prices are traditionally a bit higher than in the rest of the world, the APU will cost $117.
The new chip is slower than the company’s A8-7700K, which AMD discontinued late last year. That said, it is not completely clear why the company decided to replace an APU with a product with lower performance and did not just drop the price of the A8-7700K.
Later this year AMD plans to release a family of A-series APUs known as “Kaveri Refresh” and “Godovari” which will have higher clock-rates.
Today the company is hosting its first-ever mobile developer conference. The daylong event in San Francisco shows the company wants to develop lucrative relationships with developers and put mobile at the center of its turnaround effort.
The event will feature talks by top Yahoo executives, including CEO Marissa Mayer, and deep dives into Yahoo’s technology services for mobile apps. A critical part of those services is Flurry, a mobile analytics and advertising company Yahoo acquired last year. Flurry tracks more than 600,000 apps worldwide, providing information on app performance and users that can aid in ad targeting.
Yahoo needs that data to kickstart its sluggish ad business, especially on mobile devices.
During the show, Yahoo executives will try to sell third-party developers on the value of using Flurry. They will also promote Yahoo Gemini, the company’s platform for mobile advertising, and BrightRoll, a digital video advertising platform the company also acquired last year.
It’s a multi-pronged strategy, and the pieces are still coming together. But by encouraging more outside developers to use Yahoo’s services, Yahoo hopes to gain valuable information about how people use mobile apps.
That information could help Yahoo do its job. “We can help advertisers find the right audience they’re looking for, target the ads they want to target, using strong data from Yahoo, and find users wherever they are, on or off Yahoo,” Mayer said last week during the Goldman Sachs Technology and Internet Conference in San Francisco.
And if Yahoo can freshen its appeal to outside software developers and build new partnerships with them, then all the better.
“Yahoo is working on their own apps, but they will be able to extend their reach and their advertising inventory by getting outside developers into the fold,” said Karsten Weide, an industry analyst at IDC who studies consumer apps and platforms.
A leaked report has revealed how Intel is convincing its own staff of its Internet of Things (IoT), cloud and data analytics.
Apparently Intel wants to eat its own dog food to reduce costs, improve inefficiencies and boost performance, a major internal report has revealed.
Intel IT supports over 106,000 employees in 66 countries, and the report is an intriguing look into how a technology giant tackles the same challenges and opportunities facing the customers and markets it serves.
The report explained that the company has fitted sensors in different environments, such as production and manufacturing facilities, to improve performance and efficiency.
“Collection and analysis of pressure variation using the Intel IoT Gateway enabled yield improvement in one manufacturing operation,” the report notes.
“In another use case, predictive triggers for electromechanical parts failure in complex test equipment helped to improve output and yield.”
A third project involves using wireless IoT sensors at Intel’s data centers to gather information on humidity, power demand, water temperature and air pressure.
“Data analysis identified non-intuitive changes to our existing room power, space and cooling infrastructure, enabling us to design a free-cooling data centre with an averagepower usage effectiveness of 1.07, cutting annual power costs by hundreds of thousands of dollars,” the report said.
The report revealed that 85 percent of all new services installed for the company’s Office, Enterprise and Services divisions are hosted in the cloud.
“We attribute the success of our private cloud to implementing a provider-like cloud hosting strategy, advancing self-service infrastructure as a service and platform as a service, and enabling cloud-aware applications,” the report said.
“Our private cloud saves about $7.5m annually while supporting an increase of 17 percent in operating system instances in the environment.”
Samsung has announced an updated version of its Exynos 7 Octa processor. Last year it announced a 64-bit, ARMv8 processor based on a 20nm design, but these new chips will be 14nm processors.
The big news is that Samsung says mass production of the first chips developed with a 14nm FinFET process is underway. It looks like the Exynos 7 Octa processor will be the first to see the shift from 20nm to 14nm. Samsung says the technology will be used in additional products later in 2015.
This could be good news in terms of efficiency and performance. Samsung says the new chips could be up to 20 percent faster while using 35 percent less power. Thing better performance and longer battery life.
Intel’s Broadwell chips are also based on 14nm designs. But those processors are designed for desktops, notebooks, and tablets, while Samsung’s ARM-based chips are aimed at mobile devices, primarily smartphones.
Like we said last week, Samsung has beaten Intel, Apple and Qualcomm in the race for the first 14nm phone SoC – and now it’s in mass production to boot. We are just weeks away from Samsung shipping the Exynos 7 inside the Galaxy S6.
Mozilla has created a way of rendering Adobe Flash animations without all that pesky mucking about in Adobe Flash.
Shumway is an experiment designed to transcode .swf files into native HTML5 on the fly.
This means that users will get the experience, but won’t need to install Flash to do it, thus avoiding the clunky, slow, bug-ridden shonkbox that it has become.
Adobe has had to fix 37 zero-day vulnerabilities as a result of Project Zero research alone. But the technology, which is only months short of its 20th birthday, is proving increasingly difficult to secure, and keeping it moving is becoming reminiscent of Grommit laying out tracks in front of the runaway train.
Mozilla’s experimental but elegant solution is similar to Google’s way of securing photos in Gmail – remove the local rendering aspect of the offending plug-in.
However, at present the system works only with product demos for Amazon and using only the latest Nightly compiled version of Firefox.
However, a posting from Mozilla boffin Chris Peterson said: “The Shumway team has been improving compatibility with Flash video players and will whitelist more Flash video sites soon.”
Considering that Google’s Android and all Apple products already avoid Flash like the plague, it remains surprising how many sites still use the standard.
Google recently migrated YouTube videos to HTML5, but Flash is still available as a fallback and many older sites still render Flash, including a great number of classic internet memes which would become unplayable if everyone dropped Flash – the first digital 8-track tape player.
If you want to try it, download the Nightly desktop version of Firefox, go into the config menu and change the flag for shumway.disabled to false.
Google still embeds a Flash plug-in into the Chrome browser, while Internet Explorer continues to offer it as a separate add-on.
However, it seems that, with more and more problems and initatives like this, we’re one step closer to seeing Adobe Flash go the way of Old Yeller.