Microsoft dropped a bomb on December 7th. At WinHEC it announced that the Next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon processors have full Windows 10 support. Yes, this time, they will run every Windows X86 application via an emulator.
It looks like 2017 will be a fun year. Qualcomm, all of a sudden got support for Windows 10 on its mobile computing devices. This will enable new anytime, anywhere connected device form factors. What Qualcomm and Microsoft are trying to say is that you can expect some tablet/notebook devices powered by SoCs that aren’t coming from Intel nor AMD.
This will help the synergy between mobile devices and computers and may well be the right way to do the Windows “continuum” in the right way.
The Windows 10 devices powered by Snapdragon are expected to support all aspects of Microsoft’s latest operating system including Microsoft Office, Microsoft Edge browser, Windows 10 gaming titles like Crysis 2 and World of Tanks, Windows Hello, and touchscreen features like Windows Pen. Qualcomm Snapdragon powered devices are expected to support Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps and Win32 apps through emulation, providing users with a wide selection of full featured applications. There is no label but most things should work, if not all of them.
This is definitely better than Windows RT, when Microsoft tried to develop Windows on ARM – a platform that simply confused the market as it would not run X86 applications. Now that problem is solved.
Terry Myerson, executive vice president of the Windows and Devices Group at Microsoft said:
“We are excited to bring Windows 10 to the ARM ecosystem with our partner, Qualcomm Technologies, We continue to look for ways to empower our customers to create wherever they are. Bringing Windows 10 to life with a range of thin, light, power-efficient and always-connected devices, powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform, is the next step in delivering the innovations our customers love – touch, pen, Windows Hello, and more – anytime, anywhere.”
Cristiano Amon, executive vice president, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and president, QCT said:
“Qualcomm Snapdragon processors offer one of the world’s most advanced mobile computing features, including Gigabit LTE connectivity, advanced multimedia support, machine learning and superior hardware security features, all while supporting thin, fan-less designs and long battery life. “With full compatibility with the Windows 10 ecosystem, the Qualcomm Snapdragon platform is expected to support mobility to cloud computing and redefine how people will use their compute devices.”
The first devices running the full Windows 10 experience based on Snapdragon processors are expected to be commercially available in the second half of 2017. From what we understand, this cooperation will not only include Snapdragon 835 and it looks like that all future chips might end up getting support for Windows 10. We will have to wait until the second half of next year to see which will be the first company to launch a device powered by Snapdragon.
It will be interesting to see if that incurs a performance penalty for emulating the applications written for X86 on ARM architecture as emulation always cost you some performance. But Qualcomm and Microsoft would not go to this venture if it wasn’t something they could generally contribute to. This announcement has just put a lot of fuel to a Snapdragon 835 powered Surface phone, or at least a Surface device at some point.
We have a feeling that that might be Microsoft itself of one of the big OEMs think Dell, HP, Lenovo kind of customers.
Samsung’s recall of Galaxy Note7 smartphones because of exploding batteries remains a challenging task, and some users, for example, in Canada, are still not exchanging their devices for a refund or a different phone.
The South Korean company has decided to cut these phones from the network, adopting similar measures to those taken last month in New Zealand and earlier this month in Australia.
The company said Wednesday that starting Dec. 12, functional limitations on Note7 phones, including curbs on the battery charge, and Wi-Fi and Bluetooth disablement will be introduced in Canada.
From Dec. 15, customers still using the Note7 will no longer be able to connect to any Canadian mobile network service to make calls, use data or send text messages. Samsung said it had been able to secure nearly 90 percent of the Note7 devices that were brought into the Canadian market.
When Samsung announced in September a recall of the Note7 in tandem with Health Canada, a Canadian federal government department, it was said that about 22,000 of the recalled smartphones were sold in the country.
Samsung announced a global recall of the Note7 in early September after it found a “battery cell issue.” The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission on Sept. 15 announced a recall in the U.S. of about 1 million Note7 phones as it found that the lithium-ion batteries in the devices could overheat and catch fire. By Oct. 13, the CPSC expanded the recall to include replacement Note7 phones that Samsung had supplied to customers under the first recall as they too were found to have the battery problem.
The company also stopped production of the phones. It has yet to explain in detail what caused the batteries to explode. A recent report suggested that the phone design could compress the battery even during normal operation.
Samsung said on Dec. 1 that it was working with local carriers to disconnect from Dec. 15 Note7 phones that were still being used by customers in Australia. Note7 owners in the country responded well to the recall, but a small number of affected devices are still with them, the company said. Customers in New Zealand were to be disconnected from Nov. 18.
The Note7 recall has been both a public relations and financial debacle for Samsung. The company has reported that the third quarter revenue of its IT and Mobile Communications division was down 15 percent from the same period last year to 22.5 trillion Korean won (US$19.8 billion) while operating profit fell 95 percent to 100 billion won, as a result of the discontinuation of the Galaxy Note7.
Germany is looking into whether Volkswagen’s (VW) sportscar brand Porsche used software to disguise exhaust emissions, the country’s car industry regulator said on Thursday, in a fresh blow to VW’s attempts to move on from a 15 month-old scandal.
Germany’s Motor Transport Authority, KBA, said it was examining software that can measure the angle of a car’s steering wheel.
At stake is whether Porsche used software to detect whether its cars were being subjected to laboratory tests, using this information to switch to a less polluting emissions pattern than would occur under normal driving conditions.
VW admitted in September 2015 to using illegal “defeat device” software in the United States to disguise the true level of toxic emissions from diesel engines, sparking the biggest business crisis in its history.
It has agreed a multi-billion dollar settlement with U.S. authorities and is spending billions more to refit vehicles and speed up development of electric cars.
The KBA is already conducting a similar investigation into VW’s Audi brand, which supplies engines to Porsche.
A mystery AMD GPU has been spotted in the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark database, which goes in line with previous rumors that AMD is possibly preparing a new graphics card, called the RX 490.
The Radeon RX 490 has been already spotted online a few times and there have been quite a few rumors that AMD is working on a new graphics card. According to newest benchmark results, the graphics card, with Device ID 687F:C18, is very close to the Nvidia Geforce GTX 1080.
While it is currently anyone’s guess, the mystery graphics card spotted in these benchmarks is most likely a dual-GPU Polaris graphics card and the score is in line with what you would get with two Radeon RX 480 graphics cards in Crossfire. On the other hand, the Ashes of the Singularity benchmark does detect multi-GPU configurations and it did not detect it in these results.
We have already managed to confirm that AMD Radeon Technologies Group should launch its new Vega GPU architecture, with a Vega 10 GPU, sometime in the first half of 2017 with possible briefings sometime this month. Bear in mind that some sources suggest that Vega could launch as early as Q1 2017.
The AMD Vega 10 GPU is expected to hit 24 TFLOPs of half-precision and 12 TFLOPs of single-precision compute performance. It is expected to pack 4096 Stream Processors and come with 16GB of HBM2 memory.
The aforementioned benchmark result might easily be a sample of the Vega GPU, but that would be a big surprise. Results were pulled from the benchmark data site but Techpowerup.com managed to get all the screenshots.
As you already know, AMD is hosting the big “New Horizon” event on December 13, where we expect it to preview its new Zen CPU architecture as well as new AM4+ desktop motherboards and hopefully preview or at least mention a new graphics card.
You might not be aware of it, because the Tame Apple Press is going on an offensive, but Apple is losing the wearable’s market to Fitbit.
Today the tech press was full if a bizarre story claiming that Apple was going to clean up this Christmas with its iWatch. This is news to use because we knew that sales in the iWatch were falling. Nevertheless, Tim Cook was being quoted on Reuters as saying this would be the best Christmas ever for Jobs’ Mob’s iWatch.
We wondered how the story even got printed but it turned out it was because another report came out from IDC which revealed that not only were Smartwatch shipments down 51.6 percent in the third quarter of 2016 but Apple’s iWatch sales had fallen by 71 percent.
The IDC report show that the overall wearables market is up 3.1 percent year over year, but the winner is Fitbit and not Apple.
Fitbit saw a year on year growth of 11 percent. It shipped 5.3 million units in Q3 2016, representing a 23 percent share of the market. The company looks set to acquire Pebble and eventually offer a true smartwatch of its own, cementing its position at the top of the pile.
Chinese giant Xiaomi sits in second place with a 16.5 percent market share and 3.8 million units shipped in Q3, while fitness brand Garmin is in third position with a 5.7 percent market share and device shipment volumes of 1.3 million.
Apple is in fourth place and Samsung is the last manufacturer on the list. It may only have a 4.5 percent market share thanks to its 1 million shipped units, but that still represents YoY growth of almost 90 percent.
Back in 2010 Google began signing long-term contracts to purchase renewable energy directly from solar and wind farm suppliers. The company’s first contract was to purchase all the electricity from a 114-megawatt (MW) wind farm in Iowa.
Last year, Google purchased another 842MW of renewable energy, nearly doubling the clean power it had purchased, which took it to 2 gigawatts (GW) of cumulative renewable power.
“Today, we are the world’s largest corporate buyer of renewable power, with commitments reaching 2.6 gigawatts (2,600 megawatts) of wind and solar energy. That’s bigger than many large utilities and more than twice as much as the 1.21 gigawatts it took to send Marty McFly back to the future,” Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure, stated in a blog.
Google pursued a multi-pronged approach to reach its 100% renewable energy goal, buying electricity through power purchase agreements(PPAs) that locked in contracts for carbon-free energy at a set price. The guaranteed revenue from PPAs also allowed renewable energy suppliers to invest with confidence in additional capacity, such as wind turbines and photovoltaic panels. Google also started creating more efficient facilities that would use less energy.
Google has signed onto 20 renewable energy projects around the world — about two-thirds of which are in the U.S. — amounting to more than $3.5 billion in clean energy investments.
Google also purchased its power through renewable energy credits, each one of which represents 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity sold separately from commodity power sources and fed into the general electrical grid.
“Over the last six years, the cost of wind and solar came down 60% and 80%, respectively, proving that renewables are increasingly becoming the lowest cost option,” Hölzle said. “Electricity costs are one of the largest components of our operating expenses at our data centers, and having a long-term stable cost of renewable power provides protection against price swings in energy.”
“Our ultimate goal is to create a world where everyone — not just Google — has access to clean energy,” he added.
The word on the information street is that Google wants to buy Facebook. It is entirely speculative, but could have legs.
Information leaked suggests that talks are well advanced between the two companies.
Anecdotal evidence from many Facebook users suggests that talks are well advanced and the companies are already sharing experimental data, between themselves, of user data. Other sources suggest that Microsoft (Vole) is also interested in Facebook and, conversely, that Facebook is interested in buying Microsoft.
None of the companies cared enough to comment to Fudzilla at press time.
According to the announcement made by EA earlier this week, it appears that there won’t be any new Battlefield game for a “couple of years”.
The announcement, which says that there are no plans for a new Battlefield game for another “couple of years”, was made during EA’s Investor Program by EA’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen and came as a rather big surprise, especially considering that the latest Battlefield 1 was a big success.
It appears that EA will be rather focusing on Battlefront, the Star Wars themed game, and the next one will be both “much bigger” and “much more exciting”, which was something that was a big drawback of the first Battlefront.
Of course, EA still plans to release those four expansion packs but we do not know any future plans for the franchise.
Hopefully, this also means that EA will have something special in store for future Battlefield titles as they certainly both surprised everyone and made a great hit by using the World War I.
Apple has written to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration claiming that was still interested in making self-driving cars.
Jobs’ Mob got a black eye in its self-driving car plans when it found that car makers were not the push over it expected. Jobs’ Mob arrived on the scene expecting car makers to fall over themselves to make Apple their partner. It made a list of demands about the way it was going to turn out and the car makers just laughed.
As a result, Apple appeared to give up on Project Titan, which was supposed to make the car, and reallocated all its staff to other projects or fired them.
Now this letter to the NHTS has Apple claiming to be “investing heavily in the study of machine learning and automation, and is excited about the potential of automated systems in many areas, including transportation.”
The letter is Apple’s official comment on the federal government’s automated vehicle guidelines, released last September, which has already drawn feedback from many companies working on autonomous cars like Google and Ford.
The federal government is continuing to collect feedback from tech companies and car manufacturers on its recently released automated vehicle policy. It would appear that Apple still wants into the program. Although how this will be possible without a product, or staff capable of making such a product is strange.
The letter is signed by Steven Kenner who is the man in charge of what is left of Project Titan.
“Apple agrees that companies should share de-identified scenario and dynamics data from crashes and near-misses. By sharing data, the industry will build a more comprehensive dataset than any one company could create alone.”
A cynic would suggest that Apple is hoping that other companies will share data which it can use to create its own product.
Apple also wants the government allow for “regulatory flexibility” to encourage innovation. This means that the government should keep the guidelines voluntary and avoid passing any concrete rules or mandates so Apple can do what it likes.
Startup Nikola Motor Co. took the wraps off of their hydrogen fuel-cell powered 18-wheel tractor trailer truck that will have a range of 800 to 1,200 miles on a fill-up, which is nearly double that of any other semi-truck on the road.
The custom-built, hydrogen-electric, 800-volt fuel cell 18-wheeler, a class 8 rig that will be able to haul 80,000 lbs., will be more powerful than any other production diesel truck on the road, the company said.
The Nikola One will retail for $375,000, nearly double the price for a standard diesel semi-trailer.
The Nikola One will also be offered through a leasing program that will cost from $5,000 to $7,000 a month, depending on the configuration and options a customer chooses. It will also include unlimited miles and hydrogen fuel, and a warranty and scheduled maintenance during a 72-month term. In August, the company had said the leasing program would cost from $4,000 to $5,000 a month.
At no additional cost, owners can trade in their Nikola One for a new one every 72 months or 1 million miles, whichever comes first.
To date, Nikola Motor has accepted reservations totaling nearly $3 billion in future orders, it said.
“Nikola will build a world-class advanced manufacturing facility which will create thousands of new jobs,” said Nikola founder and CEO Trevor Milton.
“Nikola is currently in discussions with several states to decide who to partner with in its effort to reduce America’s dependence on fossil fuels, advance green energy and revolutionize the trucking industry. The location of the Nikola Motor manufacturing facility will be determined in the first half of 2017,” Milton said.
Sales of the Apple Watch to consumers racked up an impressive record during the first week of holiday shopping, and the current quarter is on track to be the best ever for the product, Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook told Reuters.
Cook said the gadget’s sell-through – a measure of how many units are sold to consumers, rather than simply stocked on retailers’ shelves – reached a new high.
Cook’s comments followed a report on Monday from technology research firm IDC estimating that the tech giant sold 1.1 million units of the Apple Watch during the third quarter of 2016, down 71 percent from the year-ago quarter. The comments offer a glimpse of the gadget’s performance during the holiday quarter, which is typically Apple’s strongest.
“Sales growth is off the charts. In fact, during the first week of holiday shopping, our sell-through of Apple Watch was greater than any week in the product’s history. And as we expected, we’re on track for the best quarter ever for Apple Watch,” he said.
Cook did not respond to a request for specific sales figures for the gadget.
Apple has disclosed few details about the performance of the Apple Watch, its first new product released under Cook. The company has not broken out sales of the gadget in its earnings, instead lumping it into an “other products” category that includes devices such as the iPod and Apple TV.
Strong sales of the Apple Watch are to be expected during the holiday quarter as the gadget is a more natural gift than some of the company’s other products such as the iPhone or Mac computer, said analyst Bob O’Donnell of TECHnalysis Research. Apple also lowered the price of the gadget this year, potentially helping the holiday sales comparison, O’Donnell noted.
The Berlin-based company is backed by Li Ka-shing, one of Asia’s richest men and Peter Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal and an early investor in Facebook, along with other investors including Berlin’s Earlybird Ventures and Zurich-based Red Alpine.
The company, which received its own banking license from German financial regulator Bafin this year, offers online accounts for cash withdrawals, savings and insurance services that users manage on their mobile phones.
Without the expense of branches or legacy computer infrastructure and by relying on selective outsourcing, mobile-first banks can challenge established banks by promising lower lending rates and higher rates on savings.
Established banks have responded by plowing more money into upgrading their own computer systems, rolling out mobile apps of their own, closing retail bank branches and investing in fintech startups.
N26, which first launched in 2015 in Germany and Austria, then moved into Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Slovakia, is now adding the Benelux countries, the Baltics, Finland, Portugal and Slovenia.
“We have built Europe’s most modern mobile bank,” Number26 Chief Executive and co-founder Valentin Stalf said in a presentation at the TechCrunch Disrupt London conference.
“We are getting closer to building a truly European bank.”
While greater bandwidth in the 300GHz and above band has been known for a while it is pointless because the range makes it a chocolate teapot.
Some researchers have managed to hit 100 Gbps but when it only works for a few centimetres it is not commercially viable.
Now boffins at the Tokyo Institute of Technology have got the technology to provide a great 34 Gbps speed with a decent range.
Naoto Oshimo, one of the scientists behind this latest test, said that “device performance is almost sufficient for short-distance wireless communication such as KIOSK downloads, which might be its first application”. By that they mean that they have managed 10 metres, almost OK for home use.
Oshimo believes that this technology will scale hugely in terms of the speed as well, and we could eventually be looking at topping the 1Tbps mark.
You may have heard in the news recently about weird or mysterious radio signals coming from outer space. It doesn’t matter when you’re reading this article — mysterious radio signals from outer space are almost always in the news. About every six months or so, a flash of excitement and discussion ripples around the world as reports come in from some telescope or probe and the unexplained nature of its observations.
An unusually strong signal from a sun-like star. A repeated pattern that seems too precise to be natural. Bleeps and bloops from unknown sources with head-scratching signatures. Sure, there’s a ton of stuff in space that could potentially maybe kind-of-sort-of create those signals, but could this … be it? Could this be the key piece of evidence that answers one of the ultimate existential questions? Are we alone?
No serious astronomer ever wants to rush out and blurt, “Hey, everyone! I’ve found aliens!” But at the same time, there’s a strong desire to get your name in the history books. So when these signals pop up, you get lots of shrugging and hemming and hawing and “Look, we’re pretty sure it’s natural, but we can’t rule out aliens,” kind of talk.
In the late 1960s, astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell was working with her adviser, Antony Hewish, with his fancy new radio telescope near Cambridge, England. After scanning a particular spot in the sky, they recorded an unusual signal: A source in the sky was sending frequent, repeated bursts, separated by an eerily precise 1.33 seconds.
The signal was so regular, so exact. Not knowing what to think of it, they cheekily named their source “LGM” — for “little green men.” They didn’t think they had found an advanced E.T. civilization, but … well, you never know. Better safe than sorry. Just in case.
The LGM hypothesis started to weaken when they found another source, and another, and another. And many others. Finally, the theorists woke up, started paying attention and figured it out: The signals were not caused by little green men, but rather little white neutron stars, wrapped in incredibly strong magnetic fields, beaming jets of radiation into space like a lighthouse. Today, we call them pulsars.
In 1977, astronomer Jerry Ehman was listening with his “Big Ear,” a radio telescope operated by The Ohio State University. Finished with its scientific mission, the telescope was dedicated to SETI (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) observations. And one night, a huge, bright, continuous signal fell into the telescope’s narrow field of view. For 72 seconds, the source shouted into the Big Ear at a peculiar frequency: 1,420 megaherz, the frequency that neutral hydrogen naturally emits via a spin-flip transition of its electron. It was a very unmistakable frequency, a cosmological calling card.
Ehman was so impressed by the signal that he wrote “Wow!” on the printed output of the telescope, but unfortunately, no other telescope saw the signal, and it was never seen again.
In 1998, the Parkes radio telescope in Australia started picking up an odd signal: Little “chirps” would occasionally hop from one frequency to another, lasting just a few milliseconds and coming from seemingly nowhere. Chirp, chirp, chirp; the little signals — called “perytons” — befuddled the telescope operators and astronomers across the world for decades.
That is, until 2015, when graduate student Emily Petroff and collaborators nailed the culprit: the microwave in the visitor center. You ever get impatient and open the microwave door before it’s done? Yeah, their particular model didn’t shut down very quickly and would leak a little bit of microwave radiation that the telescope picked up.
Aliens are never the answer
In all of these cases, and many more, speculation can overrun evidence — not necessarily by the astronomers involved, but almost always in the discussions surrounding the detections. The public is primed for alien transmissions: We talk to each other with radio, and if the SETI Institute or other groups pick up a weird radio signal, maybe it’s aliens talking to us, we surmise.
Here’s the thing: The hypothesis that aliens are causing a mysterious radio signal is almost always useless, because intelligent creatures can create almost any signal they want. Hear a bleep-bleep-bloop? Maybe aliens did it. Whoops! I meant bloop-bloop-bleep. Well, aliens could have done that, too. There’s no predictive power in the “aliens did it” hypothesis. We can’t ever disprove it.
When a natural astrophysical explanation is weak or not very convincing, there’s often a temptation to wonder if aliens are behind it. After all, we can’t rule out aliens! Exactly. We can’t ever rule out aliens, because intelligent actors are capable of pretty much anything. We can’t rule them out, so it’s a scientifically useless position.
It’s a very, very, very big leap to go from “We don’t know what’s causing this signal,” to “Maybe aliens are causing this signal.”
Astronomers love their radio telescopes because they get useful science done, but there are always all sorts of unexplained phenomena in the universe. That’s kind of the reason astronomers remain employed — there’s lots of stuff we simply don’t understand. Signals, features, observations, the works. It’s a big universe out there.
Nearly all the $421 million booked by the Mozilla Foundation came from royalty payments, the bulk of which originated, as always, from search deals that set defaults in the Firefox browser.
Mozilla Foundation is the nonprofit organization that oversees Mozilla Corp., the commercial arm which builds and maintains Firefox for personal computers and smartphones.
According to a financial statement, $417 million, or 99% of all revenue, came from royalty payments. The percentage of revenue derived from royalties has never dipped below 91% — Mozilla’s fortunes have always been tightly linked to the Firefox search deals — but 2015’s portion was the highest since 2010.
Nor has it been able to monetize mobile to any extent: Its Android and iOS versions of Firefox — the latter is actually just a wrapper around Apple’s Safari browser — have never been able to collect more than a minuscule portion of the market. Mozilla’s revenues, then, largely rely on the desktop Firefox, which runs on Windows, macOS and Linux.
Search-based revenue was approximately $410 million, representing 98% of all royalty income and 97% of Mozilla’s total revenue. The $410 million was $119 million more than in 2014, representing a 41% increase.
Mozilla was able to squeeze more out of its Firefox search deals because of two decisions it made in late 2014. First, it dumped the global arrangement it had with Google — whereby Google’s search engine was the default for virtually all copies of Firefox — and instead struck country-specific or regional deals with a dozen different search and information providers. Secondly, it negotiated a lucrative deal with Yahoo, which was made the default search provider for U.S. Firefox users.
The second deal was the more important of the two. Yahoo paid Mozilla about $375 million in 2015 — and is contracted to continue payments of that size until 2019 — or approximately $100 million more than Google laid out in 2013, the last full year of its Firefox arrangement. Other search contracts contributed $35 million to Mozilla’s coffers, Computerworldcalculated from the organization’s financial statement and tax return.
Mozilla trumpeted the change in search strategy even as it declined to point out the positive impact to its bottom line. “We decided that one global default search partner was no longer the right choice for our users or the web,” the organization said in a “State of Mozilla” report. “Instead, we adopted a more local and flexible approach by country to control our own destiny and to diversify the user experience and competitive landscape of web search globally.”