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Dell Said To Be Pursuing Purchase Of EMC

October 9, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Dell Inc, the world’s third largest personal computer maker, is holding discussions to acquire data storage company EMC Corp, a person familiar with the matter said, in what could be one of the biggest technology deals ever.

A deal could be an option for EMC, under pressure from activist investor Elliott Management Corp to spin off majority-owned VMware Inc.

The terms being discussed were not known, but if the deal goes through it would top Avago Technologies’ $37 billion offer for Broadcom. EMC has a market value of about $50 billion.

Dell is also in talks with banks to finance an all-cash offer for EMC, the person told Reuters on condition of anonymity as the talks were confidential.

Dell spokesman David Flink and EMC spokesman Dave Farmer declined to comment.

A deal could further strengthen Dell’s presence among corporate clients at a time when founder Michael Dell has been trying to transform the company he founded in 1984 into a complete provider of enterprise computing services such as Hewlett-Packard Co and IBM.

The talks come two years after Michael Dell and private-equity firm Silver Lake took Dell private for $24.9 billion, ending its decades-long run as one of the world’s largest publicly traded PC makers.

In August, Re/code reported that EMC was contemplating a takeover by VMware. The Wall Street Journal reported last year that EMC was exploring options and had held talks with Dell and HP.




Is The Tablet Space Drying Up?

October 9, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Demand for Tablets is getting so weak that more chip suppliers plan to phase out their tablet-IC businesses.

The so-called “game-changing technology” when Apple launched it, is turning out to be just another fad – much like the iPod.

Digitimes reports that its deep throats in Taiwan-based IC design houses are giving up on tablets, which have been killed off by large-size smartphones. Tablet demand worldwide will likely decline 10-20 per cent in 2016 which will probably kill the fad off.

Shipments of tablets running Android OS might be less than 160 million units in 2015, and will fall further to 120-130 million in 2016, the sources predicted.

As a result, international vendors have decided to leave the tablet-IC market because of low prices which will yield them low profits. Meanwhile weak demand, price competition among tablet chip providers remains intense.

The only one to see an increase in sales has been MediaTek. Its shipments for tablets continue to grow and it aims to ship 45 million tablet chips in 2015. It is not sure what black magic the outfit is performing to buck the trend.  We hate to say we told you so, but this was inevitable.



Big Blue Goes nVidia Inside

October 8, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Big Blue has launched a line of Power processor-based, Linux-tuned machines which are helped out by Nvidia Tegra GPUs.

The three products based around Power 8 processors offering scale-out servers in preconfigured, single-click order, and bespoke options. They are

The S812LC, consisting of a single eight-core 3.32GHz processor or 10-core 2.92GHz processor, up to 1TB of system memory.

The S822LC for commercial computing, offering the same specs but with a second identical processor for up to 20 cores.

The S822LC for high performance offers identical specs to the S822LC but incorporates multiple Nvidia Tegra GPUs for creating visual interpretations of data quickly and easily.

Nvidia and IBM are close in the OpenPower Foundation and the 822 is supposed to be a lot quicker .

IBM said that the S822LC, with its 20 cores of Power 8 performance, is 2.7x per core, with 40 percent better price-performance ratio when running PostegreSQL.”

The difference with the LC range is its ability to run out of the box and off the shelf, meaning that customers can be up and running in under 30 minutes, IBM says.

List prices range from $6,595 to $11,990 off the shelf, with a price on request for the Nvidia-enabled version.



Will Cannonlake Leap Intel Past Four Cores?

October 7, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel’s next-generation Cannonlake consumer-targeted processors could be the chip to leap from quad-core designs for the great unwashed.

An Intel engineer has been caught boasting on this Linkedin profile that he had a hand in Cannonlake system-on-chip (SoC) parts which integrated four, six, or eight processing cores with a Converged Coherent Fabric (CCF). He described this as acting like the Northbridge of an old-fashioned chipset setup.

Intel has not used this phrase before but it does explain some rather strange job adverts wanting a ‘Coherent Fabric Architecture Engineer.’ We have not met anyone in the fashion industry who was coherent let alone a fabric maker.

Intel has been making products with lots of processing cores but it seems addicted to four cores on consumer desktops (with or without the HyperThreading technology that extends it to running eight simultaneous threads.)

If the leak is right, then the 10nm Cannonlake family could be offered in hexa- and octa-core varieties.

Boosting the number of CPU cores on its next-generation products would allow the company to continue to tell software developers to concentrate on making the best use of CPU cores rather than looking to HSA and other than the general-purpose GPU  to boost performance.


GE Jumping Into Science Fiction

October 5, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

General Electric Co has decided to produce its own science fiction podcast series in an effort to raise its profile among a younger, tech-savvy audience.

GE, in partnership with The Slate Group’s podcast network Panoply, is running “The Message,” a fictional eight-episode podcast that will follow the decoding of a 70 year-old message from outer space. The cryptologists decoding the message turn to a real ultrasound technology developed by GE to decode the messages.

“It’s science fiction meets real science,” said Andy Goldberg, GE’s global creative director.

The idea for the series stemmed from the company’s historic “GE Theater” television series, which was hosted by Ronald Reagan, then an actor, in the 1950s.

GE is producing its own podcast series, rather than running ads on other podcasts because it specifically does not want the shows to come off as advertising, but rather as a way to raise brand awareness, Goldberg said. The 40-60 minute spots, which begin Oct. 4, will be advertisement-free and will be available for download for free. Goldberg declined to comment on how much GE is spending on the podcasts.

GE is among a number of firms whose interest in podcasts has increased since last year’s airing of “Serial,” the hit podcast chronicling a murder investigation.

“It flipped a switch for us that podcasting was no longer going to be informational pieces but could be entertainment,” Goldberg said.

Podcasts are a small, but growing part of the digital media marketplace. Seventeen percent of teens and adults listen to one podcast per month, up from 15 percent last year, according to Edison Research.

The medium has gotten so much initial interest, that the Interactive Advertising Bureau held its first “podcast upfronts,” for companies to promote their podcasts to advertisers in September.

While GE’s move is novel, it is likely that more advertisers will follow rather than just run ads during podcasts, said eMarketer analyst Paul Verna. It is like the next iteration of “native advertising,” where companies create sponsored content to promote their offerings, he said.



Microsoft, Google Cease Fire In Global Patent Deal

October 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft has been pursuing a more collaborative approach under CEO Satya Nadella, engaging longtime rivals like Salesforce, VMware and Apple. There hasn’t been much love between Microsoft and Google, but an announcement on Wednesday points towards an easing of those tensions.

Google and Microsoft have reached a broad agreement on patent matters, with a legal settlement ending some 20 lawsuits between the companies in the U.S. and Germany. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the deal brings a laundry list of lawsuits to a close.

“Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues,” they said in a joint statement. “As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility.”

They also agreed to collaborate on patent matters and work together “to benefit our customers.”

The suits that have been settled include those related to mobile phones, video encoding and Wi-Fi technologies. That doesn’t mean Microsoft has given up its campaign to collect royalties from Android device makers for the mobile operating system’s alleged infringement of Microsoft patents.

It’s not clear from the statement what patent matters the companies will be working on together in the future, but changes have already begun. The two companies agreed earlier this month to work together (alongside other firms like Netflix and Mozilla) on a royalty-free video codec.

It remains to be seen if the settlement will lead to more work between Microsoft and Google in other areas. A major sticking point for consumers has been the lack of a Google-made YouTube app for smartphones and tablets running Windows.



Facebook Rolled Out Updates For Mobile Profiles

October 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc introduced updates to mobile profile pages to enable users to better personalize their profiles and more easily control their privacy settings.

Facebook has been looking to improve and ease its mobile profile experience as it makes more of its $10 billion-plus in annual ad revenue off of phones. The updates also come during New York City’s 12th Advertising Week, where Facebook is courting the world’s largest advertisers and companies.

Among the new features are profile videos, or a short looping video clip that users can create in place of a static profile picture. The feature is similar to Vine, a video sharing app owned by Twitter Inc.

Users can also set a temporary profile picture that reverts to their old picture at a specified time. Those who want to support a sports team or charitable cause for a specific week, for example, can choose a picture to display for a short time period.

Facebook also introduced more ways to control privacy settings so that users can curate what pieces of information are public and which are only viewable to “friends,” or people that they have allowed to view profiles.



Google Unveils Two New Nexus Smartphones

October 1, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Google Inc has rolled out its new Nexus phones in its latest attempt to thwart Apple’s dominant share of the smartphone market.

The launch of the phones, the Nexus 6P and the Nexus 5X, comes a day after Apple Inc reported record first-weekend sales of its new iPhones.

The Nexus 5X 16 GB model will be priced at $379, while the Nexus 6P 32 GB will cost $499, Google said at an event live-streamed on YouTube.

Apple’s 6s and 6s Plus start at $199 and $299, respectively, with a two-year service-provider contract.

Nexus devices, which typically do not sell as much as iPhones or iPads, are a way for the tech giant to showcase its latest advancements in mobile hardware and software.

Google also unveiled a tablet built entirely by the company based on its Android operating system.

The latest version of Android, dubbed Marshmallow, will be available to existing Nexus customers from next week.

The Android mobile platform is a key element in Google’s strategy to maintain revenue from online advertising as people switch from Web browser searches to smartphone apps.

The Nexus 5X is made by South Korea’s LG Electronics Inc and the Nexus 6P by China’s Huawei Technologies Co Ltd . Both phones feature Google’s new fingerprint sensor, Nexus Imprint, which is located on the back.

The fingerprint sensors will help quickly authorize purchases made through Android Pay, the one-touch payment app on Android devices that competes with Apple Pay.

The phones are available for pre-order on the Google Store from a number of countries including the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Japan.

The Pixel C tablet will cost $499 for the 32 GB model and can be bought with a detachable keyboard, which will cost $149.

The tablet will be available in time for the holiday season on the Google Store.



Qualcomm Appears To Be Going To India

September 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Chipmaker Qualcomm is spending a fortune to set up shop in India by making itself the friend of the Indian government.

Qualcomm said it would invest up to $150 million in Indian startups via a venture fund. The announcement coincides with the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Silicon Valley. Modi is keen to make India a technology hub with lots of mobile resources to help the country grow.

Qualcomm wants to move into India as the China market starts to dry up and it falls foul of regulators.

Executive chairman Paul Jacobs met the Indian prime minister at the Digital Economy event in San Jose and said the venture fund was in support of the government’s Digital India and Make-in-India initiatives.

Jacobs said that Qualcomm shared Modi’s vision to transform India into a digitally empowered society and knowledge economy.

“India is at the cusp of a technology revolution and mobile technologies will lay the foundation for Digital India. We are committed to providing local innovative start-ups with the support needed to help India’s IOE ecosystem grow, increasing consumer choice and availability,” he said.

.The new venture fund, which will be advised by Qualcomm Ventures — an investment arm of the group — is expected to fuel innovation and foster promising Indian startups which are contributing to the Mobile and Internet of Everything ecosystem. It will also aim to provide startups with financial, marketing, technology and business support to help propel them forward in the competitive Indian market.


Is nVidia Preparing A New GPU?

September 30, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

According to the latest report, it appears that Nvidia is on the verge of releasing a new dual-GPU graphics card that will place two GM200 GPUs on the same PCB.

According to a report from, the upcoming dual-GPU graphics card has not only been already showcased to a couple of select members of the press at a secret briefing in New York City, but some of those have managed to score a sample and are wrapping up their reviews.

According to the same report, the upcoming flagship graphics card could bear the GTX Titan branding. Rather surprising piece of information is that the upcoming dual-GPU graphics card will not be based on the GM204 GPU, which was behind the GTX 980 and GTX 970 graphics card but rather two GM200 GPUs, the same one that is behind both the GTX 980 Ti and the GTX Titan X graphics card.

The precise specifications are still unknown as it is unclear if we are looking at two fully enabled GM200 GPUs with 3072 CUDA cores each, or the cut-down version with 2816 CUDA cores. Since the GTX 980 Ti has a TDP of 250W, it will be quite interesting to see the final TDP on such dual-GPU graphics card and the final clocks for each GPU.

It is also quite surprising that Nvidia managed to keep such graphics card a secret for so long and although it was quite obvious that Nvidia will release a dual-GPU graphics card in order to counter AMD’s upcoming dual Fiji GPU based graphics card, we did not expect it to be ready so soon.

The price of the upcoming dual-GPU graphics card from Nvidia, which is also the most important part of information, is still unknown but if these rumors are true, we should see it quite soon.


Facebook Pursuing TV Advertisers For Its Network

September 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Facebook Inc unveiled a slew of new advertising products on Sunday, most of which are aimed at luring television advertisers onto the 1.5-billion user social network.

The advertising options, most of which will also be available on Facebook-owned Instagram, are designed to take advantage of the social network’s strengths on mobile devices. It has the world’s most popular smartphone app and generates more than three-quarters of its $10 billion-plus in annual ad revenue on phones.

Facebook is trying to convince advertisers, especially those who use video, that their dollars will be better spent on mobile platforms rather than on TV as users, especially millennials, spend more time on their phones than watching television. The rollout of the new products come ahead of New York City’s 12th Advertising Week, which runs from Monday to Friday and gathers the world’s largest advertisers and companies. Facebook also announced on Sunday that it has 2.5 million active advertisers in total, up from 2 million in February.

Digital video advertising spending is growing rapidly, projected to increase 13 percent to nearly $15 billion by 2019, according to eMarketer. Television ad spending, by comparison, is expected to grow 2 percent in the same time period to $78 billion. “Facebook is listening to the ad community and giving them what they are looking for,” said Debra Aho Williamson, social media marketing analyst with eMarketer. “Does Facebook want video ad dollars? Yes.”

On television, advertisers can buy ads based on how many people they will reach, an approach Facebook has adopted to ease the transition between television spending and digital spending.

In addition, it can target highly specific audiences, such as women aged 18 to 35 years old who have shopped on a specific website, which TV cannot do.



Nearly 18M Americans Victims Of Identity Theft Last Year

September 29, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Nealy 18 million people were victims of identity theft in the United States last year, with the majority of crimes targeting credit cards and bank accounts, according to the Department of Justice.

The figure represents 7% of the U.S. population aged 16 or older and is a rise of 1 million people from 2012, the last year for which the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Statistics published a similar report.

The latest report counts instances where a person experienced misuse of a financial or other account — not simply a breach of their personal information.

Just over two in every five cases involved a credit card account and just under two in five involved a bank account.

About half of all victims first became aware of a problem when they were contacted by a financial institution with a further one in five noticing fraudulent charge in their account.

One positive finding was a drop in the average amount of money lost. The mean out-of-pocket loss per incident fell from $4,804 to $2,895, although many losses were substantially lower, with the median loss unchanged at $100.

Slightly more women then men were victims, but criminals are apparently equal opportunity thieves, with identity theft spread across all age groups, races and income levels. After all, a dollar is a dollar no matter whose account it is in.

The DOJ did note a higher than average rise in the number of victims aged 65 or older, which jumped about 20% to 2.6 million people.



Mobile Payment Service Square Planning IPO Before Year End

September 28, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Mobile payment provider Square Inc plans to file for an “imminent” initial public offering, according to a source familiar with the situation, potentially putting it an a position to be a public company by the end-of-year holiday season.

Square, which has pioneered the use of instant payments over smartphones, is one of the most richly valued companies in Silicon Valley, worth an estimated $6 billion based on its most recent round of funding.

Fortune reported that Square would file for an IPO in the next two weeks. A spokesman for Square declined comment.

Market turmoil of the type seen in August, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 588 points in a single day, could derail IPO plans.

Square has become one of the most scrutinized start-ups in Silicon Valley. Many venture capitalists have privately questioned whether it is really worth the $6 billion valuation. The doubters have cited heavy competition and tight margins in the payments business.

An IPO will provide a quick answer to that question, as well as guidance for many of the other private start-up companies dubbed “unicorns,” meaning their valuation is $1 billion or more. CB Insights, a venture-capital tracker, says more than 130 such companies now exist.

Overall, the climate for venture-backed IPOs has weakened this year, with just 44 venture-backed companies listing on public markets in the first half of the year, according to the National Venture Capital Association. That compares with 66 in the first half of 2014.

Earlier this year, Square had filed for a “confidential” IPO, which lets companies with under $1 billion in annual revenue file registration documents and go through a Securities and Exchange Commission review without public scrutiny. After the review, if the company wishes to continue with an IPO, it makes a public filing.

Goldman Sachs will serve as lead underwriter, with Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan Chase also participating, Fortune reported.



Did Intel Deliberately Slow PC Sales?

September 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel might have caused slow PC sales at the beginning of the year to boost the price of its Skylake chips later.

A recent study shows that the slump in PC sales in the first half was deliberately made to help Skylake sell better since August. Initially analysts believed that sales of the Skylake are hindered by existing stocks of previous Haswells, but it turns out this was untrue.

Tech Trader Daily has found that Intel significantly reduced shipments of its central processing units in the first half of the year, to leave PC maker inventories drained and empty.

This is normal practice since Intel needed to have all its PC makers and retailers with empty enough stocks in order to fill them up quickly with new Skylake models in August. But this year the plan worked too well. The Skylake stocks quickly evaporated and the first supply aps appeared between the months of August and September, with Intel quickly assuring its customers that new Skylake batches will return in stores as fast as possible.

Normally Chipzilla has a cycle of unit buildups in the first half of a financial year and then a controlled drain of units in the second half. This helps PC makers and retailers build systems in the first half and then sell them bundled without being compromised by stand-alone units selling alongside them at a higher pace in the second.

This time Intel launched the Skylake in the second half of the year, August onwards, so the cycle was stuffed up. Now it seems that this will mean a low supply of Skylakes in the first half of 2016. If you can find them, you might need to stock up now.

Intel is making piles from this. PC makers mainly build their systems on Skylakes and since the supply is low the price is high. Intel does not have to discount to shift the technology, the suppliers have to buy it at any price. Particularly as Intel’s only real x86 market, AMD, is having a bit of a snooze.

A full transition to Skylake will probably happen in winter, but the ongoing process at the moment gives Intel the much-needed money to financially buffer a slowdown in sales next spring.  All this gives a warning about what will happen if AMD goes under and Intel takes total control.


eBook Sales Appear To Be Falling

September 28, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

It is starting to look like the shift from hard content to digital content that killed off physical cds is not going to happen to books.

In the first five months of 2015, publishers’ revenues from e-books sales fell 10 per cent to $610.8 million, according to the Association of American Publishers, compared to a 2.3 per cent drop in print book sales in the fiction, nonfiction and religious categories (that the industry calls trade books.)

Anyone with common sense will tell you that the reason ebook sales are falling is because greedy publishers jacked up the price until people failed to see the point of ebooks. Ebook prices have risen and serious readers still prefer the tactile pleasure of a physical book and will choose that over a digital book for the same price.

Ebooks generated 24.9 per cent of publisher revenues between January and May, down from a peak of 26.5 per cent in the year earlier period.

Barnes & Noble reporting slight gains in comparable sales in its core book selling business after years of declines that had led many to wonder whether the largest remaining bookstore chain might suffer the same fate as Borders, which went out of business four years ago.

On the e-reader front, about 12 million devices industries wide were sold last year, down 40% from the nearly 20 million sold in 2011.