A report from the folks at NotebookCheck.net shows an Intel slide detailing some updates to the company’s mobile ULV processor lineup based on the Kaby Lake third-generation 14nm processor lineup.
As we mentioned in July, Intel is describing Kaby Lake mostly as a “2017 platform” and plans to launch some desktop processors in the fourth quarter of this year, but will have larger volumes planned for Q1 2017 and will probably announce them formally at next year’s CES.
Quad-core ULV chips arriving for the first time
With Skylake, Intel currently has its mobile processors separated into four categories – “Y”-series (Core M) for 2-in-1 notebooks, “U”-series for thin and light notebooks, “H”-series for gaming notebooks (with unlocked “HK” and “HQ” quad-core variants). The lineup includes some chips with Intel HD Graphics (listed as “+ 2” for “Tier 2”), while others feature upgraded Intel Iris Graphics (listed as “+ 3e” for “Tier 3”).
“U” series gets a quad-core 15W design
There will not be any new chip configurations for Core M from Skylake to Kaby Lake, as the new generation will also feature dual-core CPUs with Intel HD Graphics and a 6W TDP. According to the source, however, the Kaby Lake “U” series will be receiving a new quad-core variant with Intel HD Graphics inside a 15W TDP. This will be placed alongside two current dual-core CPUs with Intel Iris Graphics (3e) in 15W and 28W designs.
“H” gaming series gets a quad-core 18W design
The Kaby Lake “H” gaming series will also be receiving a quad-core design with Intel HD Graphics inside a remarkable 18W TDP.
Not much has been reported about Kaby Lake notebook processor lineups yet, other than that the integrated GPUs will be be capable of supporting High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, Wide Color Gamut (Rec.2020) and HDCP2.2 playback. This is a great value for consumers seeking thin and lightweight ultrabook lineups that don’t necessarily have physical room for a dedicated GPU, but who still want to experience 4K Ultra HD and similar resolutions with the benefits of a more complete color spectrum.
While we were hoping to see it bundled with some recently launched Polaris-based graphics cards, it appears that AMD wants to give some love to those that decide to buy AMD’s FX-series CPUs.
To be available in most popular retail/e-tail stores, the bundle will include a copy of the new Deus Ex: Mankind Divided game with a purchase of a 6- or 8-core AMD FX CPU. According to details provided by AMD, the promotion will run from August 23rd to November 14th or until the supply lasts.
Currently, some of the hot AMD FX-series CPUs like the 6-core FX-6300 or 8-core FX-8320 are selling for as low as US $100 and US $130, so bundling a US $60 game sounds like a really good deal.
Hopefully, AMD will decide to bundle the game with some of its Polaris-based graphics cards after Deus Ex: Mankind Divided gets its DirectX 12 patch later in early September.
Notebook vendors have largely moved to on-board memory designs and are killing off DIMMs so that they can make their Intel Apollo Lake-based notebooks as slim as possible.
According to Digitimes shipments of Intel’s 14nm Apollo Lake CPUs, which feature low-power consumption, high performance and reduced sizes is apparently on the increase and with that a move to on board memory designs. The reason is that the manufactures think an anorexic look is super fashionable.
Numbers of new notebooks using LPDDR4 has also increased as vendors have continued to make efforts to minimize power consumption, improve performance, while prolonging battery life.
Acer has two new ultra-thin notebooks, the Aspire S 15 and S 17, both featuring a thickness of less than 17mm. Other vendors, including Lenovo, Asustek Computer, HP and Dell are also expected to focus on ultra-thin notebooks and 2-in-1 models for the second half of 2016, Digitimes said.
Software King of the World Microsoft has apparently been seen in public with the PC supremo Lenovo and insiders have been told that they want something more serious.
The pair have announced that they are deepening strategic ties but have not hinted about financial details. Instead Lenovo will load Microsoft’s productivity apps, including Microsoft Office, OneDrive and Skype on select Lenovo devices that use the Android operating system.
Microsoft did not say how much gear would be involved in the deal. Lenovo expects to ship millions of these Android-based devices worldwide over the next several years.
The deal is the latest in a string of similar deals by Microsoft with more than 70 Android device makers, including Samsung, HTC, Asus, Acer and Xiaomi.
The expanded collaboration between Microsoft and Lenovo also includes a patent cross-licensing agreement that covers Lenovo and Motorola devices.
Since Microsoft launched its IP licensing program in December 2003, it has entered into more than 1,200 licensing agreements.
Nick Parker, corporate vice-president OEM division, Microsoft said that Vole was thrilled that its productivity apps will be pre-installed on Lenovo’s premium devices and was talking about marrage.
“The marriage of Microsoft’s apps and Lenovo’s Android-based devices will enable customers worldwide to be more productive and connected and achieve even more,” he said.
The five apps — Excel, OneNote, Outlook, PowerPoint and Word — will be updated to 64-bit for all customers, including those with an Office 2016 retail license, a consumer or commercial subscription to Office 365, and a volume license. Most users will be updated automatically as the suite launches an update app on its regular schedule.
Microsoft has been testing the 64-bit versions with Office Insider participants since April.
Apple has long urged developers to release 64-bit versions of applications — the Mac’s operating system has supported only 64-bit Intel processors since 2011’s OS X Lion — but Microsoft has been one of the most significant holdouts.
For users, the biggest benefit is the ability to work with much larger files — thanks to the significantly bigger swaths of memory that a 64-bit operating system can access.
Unlike the Windows edition of Office 2016, which comes in both 32- and 64-bit flavors, the Mac-specific suite will be available only in 64-bit after September. Microsoft offered users a one-month grace period during which version 15.25 will be provided in both 32- and 64-bit.
“There may be situations in which the customer has to change code that’s not 64-bit ready,” Microsoft said in a support document, referring to possible conflicts with third-party Office add-ons. “If customers can’t immediately move forward to 64-bit builds, we will make available a one-time 32-bit update for the 15.25 release in addition to the default 64-bit updates.”
That 32-bit version of 15.25 must be downloaded manually from Microsoft’s site.
The support document included instructions for reverting to 32-bit if Office 2016 had already been updated to 64-bit.
Fresh after scoring a reasonably sized contract for the iPhone, Intel is getting more excited about its mobile business and is talking about its 5G plans.
5G is a good thing to talk about as there is no standard yet and it could be years away before carriers think of moving to away from 4G. However, it does inspire confidence that companies, like Intel are busy researching it.
However the Intel Developer Forum (IDF),in San Francisco heard how Intel is not that interested in trying to create 5G modems for mobiles and will instead focus on the back-end infrastructure supporting the technology.
Intel said that while 5G will power the mobile internet, Intel believes there will be a lot of room for its processors and data centers to look after the millions of sensors, cars and internet of things devices which will all be part of it.
Intel said that 2G networks were about phones and voice, and it was rolling out 4G there were requirements that hadn’t been planned for when it was originally designed.
While 5G is expected to start appearing by 2020, it should support IoT devices, as well as broadcast-like services and lifeline communications. This means that the backbone of datacenters will need to be in place to make it go.
While Intel has been talking about this backbone, it does seem odd that it is not mentioned much about the modem front end of the technology. Our guess is that it is something that Intel cannot ignore and does not appear to be doing so, with its various Internet of Things gadgets.
Samsung Electronics Co Ltd is gearing up to launch a program to sell refurbished used versions of its premium smartphones as early as next year, a person with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters.
The South Korean technology firm is looking for ways to sustain earnings momentum after reviving its mobile profits by restructuring its product line-up. As growth in the global smartphone market hits a plateau, Samsung wants to maximize its cost efficiency and keep operating margins above 10 percent.
The world’s top smartphone maker will refurbish high-end phones returned to the company by users who signed up for one-year upgrade programs in markets such as South Korea and the United States.
Samsung would then re-sell these phones at a lower price, the person said, declining to be identified as the plan was not yet public.
The person declined to say how big a discount the refurbished phones would be sold at, which markets the phones would be sold in or how many refurbished devices Samsung could sell.
A Samsung spokeswoman said the company does not comment on speculation.
It was not clear to what extent the phones would be altered, but refurbished phones typically are fitted with parts such as a new casing or battery.
Rival Apple Inc’s iPhone has a re-sale value of around 69 percent of its original price after about one year from launch, while Samsung’s flagship Galaxy sells for 51 percent of the original price in the U.S. market, according to BNP Paribas.
Refurbished phones could help vendors such as Samsung boost their presence in emerging markets such as India, where high-end devices costing $800 or so are beyond most buyers.
Apple sells refurbished iPhones in a number of markets including the United States, but does not disclose sales figures. It is trying to sell such iPhones in India, where the average smartphone sells for less than $90.
Selling used phones could help Samsung fend off lower-cost Chinese rivals that have been eating into its market share, and free up some capital to invest elsewhere or boost marketing expenditure.
Deloitte says the used smartphone market will be worth more than $17 billion this year, with 120 million devices sold or traded in to manufacturers or carriers – around 8 percent of total smartphone sales. Some market experts expect the used market to grow fast as there are fewer technology breakthroughs.
“Some consumers may prefer to buy refurbished, used premium models in lieu of new budget brands, possibly cannibalizing sales of new devices from those budget manufacturers,” Deloitte said in a report.
Chinese tech website Coolaler posted an extensive list of Intel’s upcoming Kaby Lake desktop processors based on Socket LGA 1151 yesterday.
There are 10 processors in the list, all quad-core parts with TDPs ranging from 35W up to 95W – and only two unlocked models. The lineup is broken up into three segments – “K” series for unlocked parts, “S” series which means “standard” parts without suffixes, and “T” series which means low-power variants.
Core i7 7700K, Core i7 7700 and Core i7 7700T
At the top of the list is the first unlocked model – Core i7 7700K with a 4.2GHz core clock (4.5GHz Boost), four cores, eight threads, an 8MB cache and 95W TDP. This is followed by two variants, the Core i7 7700 3.6GHz and Core i7 7700T 2.9GHz.
Core i5 7600K, Core i5 7600 and Core i5 7600T
The next unlocked model is the Core i5 7600K with a 3.80GHz core clock (4GHz Boost), four cores, four threads, a 6MB cache and 95W TDP. This is followed by two variants, the Core i5 7600 3.5GHz and the Core i5 7600T 2.8GHz.
Core i5 7500, Core i5 7500T, Core i5 7400 and Core i5 7400T
At the bottom of the list are four more models – the Core i5 7500 with a 3.4GHz core clock, the Core i5 7500T with a 2.7GHz core clock, the Core i5 7400 with a 3GHz core clock and the Core i5 7400T with a 2.4GHz core clock.
The main difference on the surface between Kaby Lake and Skylake desktop parts is that the clockspeeds seem to be increased. Architecturally speaking, however, the new design should give at least 5 to 10 percent overall performance improvement based on benchmarks released back in May. The chips will also add native USB 3.1 support, native Thunderbolt 3 support, native HDCP 2.2 support, full fixed-function HEVC main10 and VP9 10-bit hardware decoding. In terms of a release date, the source mentions that Kaby Lake mainstream desktop parts have been slightly pushed to early Q1 2017.
As announced earlier this week at the Intel Developer Forum, the company’s current focus is to bring the new architecture to mobile form factors (4W to 15W TDP) this fall for the various shopping seasons beginning with so called “back to school”, before continuing with desktop products in the first quarter of next year.
Security researchers from Bitdefender have found an IoT smart electrical socket which leaks your Wi-Fi password, your email credentials and is so poorly coded that attackers can use it to hijack the device and use it for DDoS attacks. In the good old days all the power point could do was turn electrical equipment on and off.
Bitdefender didn’t reveal the device’s manufacturer but said the company is working on a fix, which will release in late Q3 2016.
Smart electrical sockets are small electrical socket extenders, which you can plug into a regular wall socket. In this case the device comes with a module that allows users to manage power consumption using predetermined limits and schedule the socket to allow usage only between certain hours.
Bitdefender said that there were several major problems with this unnamed smart socket. When users set up the product, they also need to install one of the accompanying iOS or Android apps. These apps allow the user to connect to the smart electrical socket’s built-in hotspot and configure it by entering the local Wi-Fi network credentials.
The IoT socket uses these credentials to connect to the local network, and contact the vendor servers, where it sends a configuration file that includes several device details, such as model, make, device name, firmware version, MAC address, and others
All this networking is done without encryption, in cleartext, which an attacker can easily pick-up if sniffing the local network at the right time.
Additionally, the device’s default admin username and password is easy to guess, even without reading the device documentation.
The device also comes with a built-in feature to send users email notifications when a device scheduled task executes successfully. For this feature to function properly, users must fill in their email account username and password in the device’s configuration panel. The device improperly stores these details.
Bitdefender researchers say that an attacker that knows the device’s MAC address and default password can take control over the device, rescheduling it, or access data on the user’s email account and password.
Only ten percent of people respond to and deal with desktop security alerts immediately, suggesting that the rest of the population simply ignores them or just lets it happen automatically.
You know the sort of warning. It might be Chrome telling you that something is untrusted, something like that. They are very easy to become blind to, like cookie warnings for example, and the study, which comes from Brigham Young University (BYU) and Google engineers, said that most people just ignore them.
The study, entitled More Harm Than Good? How Messages That Interrupt Can Make Us Vulnerable, suggests that this seeming neglect is down to the fact that people can only do so many things at once.
“System-generated alerts are ubiquitous in personal computing and, with the proliferation of mobile devices, daily activity. While these interruptions provide timely information, research shows they come at a high cost in terms of increased stress and decreased productivity,” the study said.
“This is due to dual-task interference, a cognitive limitation in which even simple tasks cannot be simultaneously performed without significant performance loss.”
Multitasking, then. People struggle to comprehend alerts because they are busy closing windows, stopping videos, typing or uploading at their desk or while mobile. Some 87 per cent showed the most disregard when “transferring information”.
The researchers explained things better in an interview with Phys.org. “We found that the brain can’t handle multitasking very well,” said co-author and BYU information systems professor Anthony Vance.
“Software developers categorically present these messages without any regard to what the user is doing. They interrupt us constantly and our research shows there’s a high penalty that comes by presenting these messages at random times.”
A better time to alert, according to the researchers, is at more passive times, for example while punters are waiting for a page to load or have finished watching a video.
“Waiting to display a warning when people are not busy doing something else increases their security behaviour substantially,” said Jeff Jenkins, lead author of the study.
Nvidia released its financial results yesterday for the second quarter of its fiscal year 2017, which ended July 31, 2016.
The company’s numbers came in slightly better than expected during a quarter fueled by consumer interest in the 4K-capable 16nm Pascal GPU product family, along with increasing enterprise investments in Nvidia’s GPU-accelerated deep learning, computer vision and AI platforms and products.
The company turned in revenues of $1.43 billion with 58.1 percent adjusted gross margin. This is up nine percent from $1.30 billion in Q1 (February 1 to May 1, 2016) and up 24 percent from $1.103 billion a year earlier in Q2 FY2016 (April 27 to July 26, 2015).
Looking ahead at a forecast for Q3 FY2017 – ending late October – the company is issuing guidance between $1.65 and $1.71 billion, or between 57.5 and 58.5 percent adjusted gross margin.
During the company’s Q2 FY2016 ending July 31, 2016, the company unveiled its flagship Geforce GTX 1080 graphics card along with the Geforce GTX 1070 and Geforce GTX 1060. Just two days later after the quarter ended, it released an even higher-performing Pascal enthusiast model – the Geforce GTX Titan X – although revenue numbers from this card will be presented in Q3 FY2017 results in a few months from now.
“Strong demand for our new Pascal-generation GPUs and surging interest in deep learning drove record results,” said Jen-Hsun Huang, co-founder and chief executive officer, NVIDIA. “Our strategy to focus on creating the future where graphics, computer vision and artificial intelligence converge is fueling growth across our specialized platforms — Gaming, Pro Visualization, Datacenter and Automotive.”
As we mentioned a few days ago, the driverless automotive market is expected to grow to $42 billion in nine years and so far the few companies that have signed on with Nvidia’s Drive PX hardware include BMW, Ford, Daimler and Audi. Nvidia is currently working closely with Audi as its primary brand but will soon move to Volkswagen, Seat, Skoda, Lamborghini and Bentley.
“We are more excited than ever about the impact of deep learning and AI, which will touch every industry and market. We have made significant investments over the past five years to evolve our entire GPU computing stack for deep learning. Now, we are well positioned to partner with researchers and developers all over the world to democratize this powerful technology and invent its future,” Jen-Hsun said.
During the quarter ending July 31st, Nvidia also launched the Quadro P6000 workstation GPU with 12 teraflops of compute power, introduced the Tesla P100 accelerator for PCI-E based servers, released its first self-created game called VR Funhouse, and introduced an ultra-high resolution screenshot capture utility called Ansel, although it is limited to a few select games for now.
The company is building a mobile device strategy around Windows 10 Mobile and is slowly cutting its reliance on Android, once high on the company’s list for tablets and PCs.
HP has discontinued low-cost Android tablets, and two remaining enterprise tablets feature aging hardware and an old version of the OS. Company executives have said future mobile devices will be built around Windows 10 unless there’s significant new demand for Android.
HP is following the lead of Dell, which has cut Android devices to focus on Windows. Lenovo, meanwhile, still sells Android tablets and smartphones but is cutting its number of Android tablets and increasing its number of Windows 2-in-1s.
The goal for HP is simple: to unify products around one OS, much like Apple. That’s a challenge facing Samsung, with its PCs on Windows, tablets and smartphones on Android, and wearables and smart TVs on Tizen. Samsung is still working to put the pieces together to ensure all devices communicate flawlessly, but the company claimed progress during the recent launch of Galaxy Note 7.
HP is re-entering the smartphone market its Elite X3 handset, which runs Windows 10 Mobile. The company is building its smartphone strategy around Windows 10 Mobile, which had just a 0.7 percent market share in the first quarter, according to Gartner.
HP says Elite X3 can be a PC replacement with help from cloud services and accessories. Users will be able to run Universal Windows apps on PCs and smartphones. HP also plans to bring augmented reality apps on HoloLens to the Elite X3.
“We’re not trying to hit the volumes and scales of Android,” Park said. “We’re going after IT shops. There are a lot of people in the commercial domain who are not using Pokemon Go.”
HP has said it doesn’t want to sell low-cost devices and has cut many Android devices in the process. But the same strategy doesn’t apply to Windows — this week it announced low-cost Stream notebooks running Windows 10 starting at US$199.
Payments will be backed by a customer’s credit or debit card, the company said.
CVS Pay is currently available in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware; a nationwide rollout at all 9,600 stores is expected to kick off later this year.
CVS doesn’t support Apple Pay or other NFC-based payment technologies, and its use of barcodes for payments is reminiscent of the way Starbucks customers pay for coffee. Working with the barcode technology was a faster way for CVS to bring forward technology for more convenient in-store payments, analysts said.
Other retailers have created in-store payments through their own apps. Walmart created Walmart Pay in December to allow payments through mobile device QR codes that can be read at checkout registers.
“There’s nothing really innovative here with CVS Pay,” said Gartner analyst Avivah Litan on Friday. “They are pretty much following the trend. It’s just mobile commerce with a credit card attached. It’s no big deal to put a credit card in a wallet.”
At one point, CVS was working with Walmart and dozens of other major retailers in the Merchant Customer Exchange, which was designed to process mobile payments electronically through bank accounts and not credit cards to cut out the card processing cost that merchants paid to banks. But MCX ended its pilot of its mobile app, CurrentC, in June. Analysts have predicted the concept will not continue.
Of course, it is that time of the year. Apple, Qualcomm, MediaTek and now Samsung will have 10nm SoCs ready for phones in early 2017. Of course Samsung wants to use its own 10nm SoC in the Galaxy S8 that is expected in late February 2017, but probably with a mix of 10nm Snapdragon too.
Samsung’s next generation Exynos’ name is very uninspired. You don’t call your much better chip just the Exynos 8895, but that might not be the final name.
The Korean giant went from Exynos 7420 for Galaxy S5 and first 14nm for Android followed a year after with Exynos 8890 still 14nm but witha custom Exynos M1 “Mongoose” plus Cortex-A53eight core combination.
The new SoC is rumored to come with a 4GHz clock. The same leak suggests that the Snapdragon 830 can reach 3.6 GHz which would be quite an increase from the 2.15Ghz that the company gets with the Snapdragon 820. Samsung’s Exynos 8890 stops at 2.6GHz with one or two cores running while it drops to 2.3 GHz when three of four cores from the main cluster run. Calls us sceptics for this 4GHz number as it sounds like quite a leap from the previous generation.
Let us remind ourselves that the clock speed is quite irrelevant as it doesn’t mean anything, and is almost as irrelevant as an Antutu score. It tells you the maximal clock of a SoC but you really want to know the performance per watt or how much TFlops you can expect in the best case. A clock speed without knowing the architecture is insufficient to make any analysis. We’ve seen in the past that 4GHz processors were slower than 2.5GHz processors.
The fact that Samsung continued to use Snapdragon 820 for its latest greatest Galaxy Note 7 means that the company still needs Qualcomm and we don’t think this is going to change anytime soon. Qualcomm traditionally has a better quality modem tailored well for USA, China, Japan and even the complex Europe or the rest of the world.
Intel has acquired artificial intelligence (AI) startup Nervana Systems in a bid to future-proof its data centre business and shift focus away from the flailing PC market.
Intel hasn’t revealed the financial details of the deal, but Recode reported that the company paid “more than $400m”, citing an anonymous source.
Nervana, a 48-person firm based in San Diego, California led by co-founder Naveen Rao, a former Qualcomm researcher, was founded in 2014 and offers a fully optimized software and hardware stack for deep learning.
The firm’s cloud-based service allows businesses to build and deploy applications that make use of deep learning, and Nervana has developed a custom processor, known as an ASIC, especially for deep learning.
Intel is looking to the firm to bolster its own deep learning credentials, betting big on the fact that AI represents the next big shift in corporate data centres. The purchase also sees the firm moving away from the PC market, which hasn’t been going too well for Intel lately.
Diane Bryant, executive vice president and general manager of Intel’s Data Centre Group, said: “I’m excited to announce that Intel signed a definitive agreement to acquire Nervana Systems, a recognized leader in deep learning.
“Their IP and expertise in accelerating deep learning algorithms will expand Intel’s capabilities in the field of AI. We will apply Nervana’s software expertise to further optimise the Intel Math Kernel Library and its integration into industry-standard frameworks.
“Nervana’s engine and silicon expertise will advance Intel’s AI portfolio and enhance the deep learning performance and TCO of Intel Xeon and Xeon Phi processors.”
Rao added: “The semiconductor integrated circuit is one of humanity’s crowning achievements and Intel has the best semiconductor technology in the world.
“Nervana’s AI expertise combined with Intel’s capabilities and huge market reach will allow us to realize our vision and create something truly special.”
Intel’s acquisition of Nervana comes just days after Apple scooped up an AI startup called Turi. The firm handed over £150m for the Seattle-based firm, according to reports.