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Intel To Add Broadwell To Its Next Unit Computing Series

December 16, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel is planning to update its rather successful NUC (Next Unit of Computing) series and as you can expect, they will come with Broadwell CPUs inside.

Intel isn’t hiding the external design of the new cases and there is a dominant yellow connector at the front of the new NUC, and this one should be providing charging power even when the device is turned off.

The board comes with either M2 storage or single SATA and there will be two different designs one exclusively for M2 drive and the second taller that will be able to take 2.5 inch SSD or HDD as well.

We will probably learn more details at CES 2015 that is about to start in less than three weeks from now, but the Broadwell in this small form factor will get a speed boost and some future prove technologies such as M2 SSD support.

We are running Core i5 4200 powered NUC with Windows 10 and it really works great powered by 240GB Kingston mS200 mSata SSD and Impact SO DIMM memory. These machines takes less than half an hour to assemble and boot into windows, including Windows 10 and make a perfect choice for the lovers of quiet computing.

The new version will obviously run at least slightly faster than the one we are testing and the marketing is excluding about “the one with the yellow USB connector”.

Courtesy-Fud

Ford Selects BlackBerry’s QNX For In-Vehicle Infotainment

December 16, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Ford has announced that it has moved from Microsoft for Blackberry’s QNX OS for its in-vehicle infotainment system known as Sync.

Like other infotainment systems, Sync allows users to make hands-free telephone calls, control music choices and perform other functions with the use of voice commands. Ford’s Sync head unit also upgraded to the latest Texas Instruments OMAP 5 processor.

As with Ford’s announcement about the new Sync rollout,Ford spokesperson Alan Hall declined to say why the automaker chose QNX over Microsoft’s Windows Embedded Automotive OS for its third-generation product.

Negative press and feedback and criticism from Consumer Reports likely spurred Ford rethink its choices, said Gartner analyst Thilo Koslowski.

“Having that automotive expertise and understanding the programs they have in place, how they work from an engineering perspective, the UI and getting applications into the head unit makes QNX very strong,” Koslowski said in an earlier interview with Computerworld.

Ford’s Sync IVI system has never been recommended by Consumer Reports magazine.

By turning to the open-source QNX platform, Ford gets a full community of developers to support and update the software. QNX also supports the ubiquitous HTML5 markup language and other native user interface toolsets.

Before being purchased by Blackberry in 2010, QNX Software Systems was owned by audio and infotainment equipment company Harman International. It’s been used in more than 200 different car models, so it has been well vetted.

Ford’s third generation, QNX-supported Sync uses a more natural language speech-recognition technology from Nuance, according to Hall.

“What we did with the data set was allow it to use a more conversational way that you’d refer to something. So P.F. Chang’s is how you’d refer to the restaurant, but the official name of the restaurant is P.F. Chang’s Chinese Bistro. In the past, you had to know the official name for the system to be able to find it,” Hall said. “That wasn’t very helpful because no one calls it P.F. Chang’s Chinese Bistro.”

 

 

 

Instagram Still Gaining Users, Surpassed Twitter

December 12, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Photo-sharing site Instagram is reporting  that its active monthly user base reached 300 million, a dramatic 50% increase in the past nine months.

Instagram, which launched in 2010, edged past 8-year-old Twitter and its reported 284 million monthly active users.

Facebook, which bought Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion, has nothing to worry about. In September, the social network reported that its own active monthly user base had hit 1.35 billion.

“Over the past four years, what began as two friends with a dream has grown into a global community that shares more than 70 million photos and videos each day,” wrote Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom in a blog post. “We’re thrilled to watch this community thrive and witness the amazing connections people make over shared passions and journeys.”

Zeus Kerravala, an analyst with ZK Research, said Instagram’s impressive growth stems from its popularity with millennials, who have a strong connection with social networking, selfies and images.

“The younger generation, in particular, is a very visually oriented group that loves selfies,” Kerravala said. “Pictures just say more — they’re fast and easy. Instead of saying, ‘What a great view of the Grand Canyon,’ snap a photo and upload it.”

He noted that Twitter users can upload photos and short videos to the micro-blogging site, but the site is mainly used for its 140-character or less messages.

“I think Twitter is more for information dissemination, where Instagram is more about sharing content,” Kerravala said.

 

 

Is The Semiconductor Industry Really Growing?

December 5, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

The World Semiconductor Trade Statistics (WSTS) organization released its autumn 2014 industry forecast on Tuesday, predicting that the semiconductor market will continue to grow next year.

The WSTS reported that the global semiconductor market will see nine percent growth year over year in 2014 to $333bn, driven mainly by double digit growth in memory shipments and supported by growth in all other product categories.

The trade group said that the highest rates of growth this year are in memory products (17.3 percent), discrete products (12.3 percent) and analogue devices (10.3 percent).

Semiconductor shipments grew in all geographical regions this year, according to the WSTS, driven largely by strong demand in the smartphone and automotive markets.

Assuming that the global economic recovery will continue into 2015 and beyond and the strong semiconductor markets will continue to mature, the WSTS forecasts continuing steady, although moderating, market growth in all product categories and regions next year.

The WSTS forecasts that the worldwide semiconductor market will increase 3.4 percent in 2015 to $345bn, and 3.1 percent in 2016 to $355bn.

The automotive and communications product categories will show stronger growth than the global market as a whole, while consumer and computer product shipments will remain almost flat in the forecast period.

Asia-Pacific, which already accounts for nearly 60 percent of the global market, will continue to show the fastest growth in 2016, reaching a value of $209bn, according to the predictions.

In June, Gartner predicted that the global semiconductor market would increase to $336bn in 2014, which it reckoned would be 6.7 percent growth for the year.

The WSTS produces semiconductor industry forecasts in May and November each year.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Luxottica, Intel Pair Up On Hi-tech Glasses

December 5, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Italy’s Luxottica teaming up with U.S. chipmaker Intel Corp to develop glasses that combine its top fashion brands with technology that could allow wearers to access information about their health or location.

The world’s biggest eyewear maker said on Wednesday the frames developed with Intel would serve very specific purposes, and would not compete with its existing deal to manufacture and distribute Google Inc’s Internet-connected glasses.

Intel is also involved in the Google Glass project as its chips will replace components from Texas Instruments in the new version of the “smart” spectacles, according to a Wall Street Journal report this week.

“We’ve started to work on sensors which can detect, say, temperature or location,” Luxottica Chief Executive Massimo Vian told Reuters, declining to give further details about the deal with Intel.

“They provide their chips, we our brands,” he added.

Luxottica’s brands include Ray Ban, Oakley and Persol, while it has licenses to use brands including Chanel and Tiffany.

Intel, which was late to the smartphone and tablet industries, is striving to be at the forefront of future trends in mobile computing and expand into new markets, including smart watches and other Internet-connected “wearables”.

Earlier this year, it teamed up with watch retailer Fossil Group and fashion brand Opening Ceremony to develop wearable devices such as fashion bracelets with communications features and wireless charging.

Intel and Luxottica gave no financial details about their agreement, which will involve people from both companies working together in joint research and development teams. The first glasses are expected to be launched in 2015.

Morgan Stanley analysts estimated last month that shipments of wearable devices would grow to 248 million units in 2017 from 6 million in 2013, more than double industry estimates.

 

 

 

AT&T Changes Its Mind Again On Fiber Roll Out

December 4, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

AT&T now says it will continue its already-announced fiber optic network expansion to 100 cities, moving away from comments by AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson after President Obama voiced support for net neutrality last month.

The move brought a strong response from critics who say the carrier’s fiber optic plans are mostly bogus and were designed as a competitive play against the ongoing Google Fiber rollout. The purported delay in AT&T’s investments was quickly seen as an empty threat.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sent Nov. 25, AT&T said won’t limit future fiber-to-the-premises deployments to 2 million homes as part of its $49 billion deal to acquire DirecTV. That contrasts with what Stephenson said Nov. 12.

“To the contrary, AT&T still plans to complete the major initiative we announced in April to expand our ultrafast GigaPower fiber network in 25 major metropolitan areas nationwide.” Robert Quinn, AT&T senior vice president for regulatory matters, said in the letter.

In his Nov. 12 appearance at a Wells Fargo investors conference, Stephenson had said AT&T would stop fiber rollouts beyond the 2 million for the DirecTV deal: adding: “We can’t go out and just invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities other than these 2 million not knowing under what rules that investment will be governed.” The 100 cities are included in the 25 metro areas AT&T cited in its letter to the FCC. Stephenson later said to Fox Business Network that it might be two to three years before AT&T starts investing again in fiber optic network rollouts to 100 cities.

Since it won’t limit its fiber deployment to 2 million homes, AT&T also told the FCC that it didn’t need to provide documents surrounding any decision to delay. AT&T also redacted from public view any details on its fiber rollout in the letter.

 

 

Americans Will Have To Wait For Fastest LTE Speeds

December 2, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

LTE’s theoretical maximum download speed will increase to 450 Mbps next year — but most users won’t be able to take advantage of it, as many mobile operators simply don’t have enough radio spectrum.

The broadband speed users get depends on a myriad of different factors, but in the network it all starts with the amount of spectrum their operator uses. Future increases will be fueled by a technology called carrier aggregation, which lets operators treat up to three radio channels in different frequency bands as if they were one.

This month, chip maker Qualcomm and network equipment manufacturer Ericsson have been doing their best to let the world know speeds at up to 450Mbps will be possible next year, with product launches, interoperability tests and a demo with Australian network operator Telstra.

The demonstration used 60MHz of spectrum made up of three separate 20 MHz LTE channels in the 2600MHz, 1800MHz and 700MHz bands. That the mobile operators need 20MHz in each of threebands to get to 450Mbps makes the technology an option for only a select few.

For example, because spectrum in the U.S. is often licensed in 10 MHz chunks, North American subscribers are unlikely to see 450Mbps anytime soon, according to Malik Saadi, practice director at ABI Research. In Europe, LTE penetration is still low, so mobile operators are more focused on migrating subscribers to regular LTE. The first to get 450Mbps will instead be users in Asia, Saadi said.

Ericsson and Qualcomm are more upbeat, and think there is potential in North America and Europe as well. But the bulk of the deployments will use carrier aggregation at slower speeds, according to Peter Carson, senior director of marketing at Qualcomm. Speeds of 300Mbps or even 375Mbps are within reach of many more mobile operators, and that’s still a big step for users.

 

 

Intel’s Cherry Trail Processor Coming In 2015

November 26, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Bay Trail was quite a big deal when it started shipping in late 2013.

It was a tablet chip that enabled great design wins such as the affordable Asus T100TA and even in late 2014 Asus used the platform to create the EeeBook X205, a $199 netbook.

Both of these designs are based on Intel’s Bay-Trail M processor, a year old 22nm quad-core processor based on the Silvermont design. Some machines that are coming with LTE, both netbooks and tablets and there will be new chip coming in 2015. It is called LTE Advanced XMM7360 chip and supports LTE Cat 10,3 CA up to 450 Mbits download and upload.

Intel will also offer Morrefield quad cores for machines with lower TDP ratings, especially tablets, and at some point in 2015 it will introduce its 14nm Airmont core based Cherry Trail processor. Cherry Trail based on 14nm Airmont core was originally expected in late 2014, but it got pushed towards middle of 2015.

Intel is clearly encountering more obstacles moving from the 22nm to the 14nm manufacturing process, but considering that most ARM competitors still have to start commercially shipping its 20nm SoCs in significant volumes, Intel still has a manufacturing node advantage. If only Intel had as many design wins to go along with its cutting edge fabs, as the company has been struggling to ship 40milion tablets in 2014, as promised.

Braxton will replace Cherry Trail in 2016. Braxton is a tock architecture, another 14nm design based on the quad-core Goldmont core. When it comes to the Performance Media Internet Device (MID) market Intel has another chip planned in 2016. It calls it SoFIA MID and the chip comes in intels 14nm manufacturing process.

Value and Entry markets for Media Internet Device (MID) and phones includes four new SoFIA parts, but with all these new and exciting chips Intel has to compete against some advanced chips coming on line in 2015, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 20nm, Nvidia Erista and more affordable Mediatek solutions such as the MT6795 A53-based octa-core and its successor.

Courtesy-Fud

Intel Shows New Processor Roadmap

November 25, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Intel has revealed an update to its CPU roadmap and some things have changed in 2015 and beyond. Let’s start with the Broadwell 14nm architecture. The first processors based on this technology are starting to show up in razor thin laptops and ultra-fast tablets. Intel should add ultra-expensive, as the first SKUs cost an arm and leg.

However, the Core M is excellent performer considering its 4.5W TDP envelope and this is the first time that Intel has made such as energy efficient Core processor. There will be some machines based on Core M vPro for business users and they should be available right now, depending on the market.

It almost feels like Intel launched Broadwell 14nm products just to please investors, as we don’t see too many people spending $999 or more on an ultra-thin notebook. It is reminiscent of the Ultrabook push, at least for now. Intel claims that there are 70 hybrids and two-in-one designs on the market right now. We will have to look into this number as it looks quite optimistic to us. We have to trust what Intel’s SVP Kirk Skaugen, the leader of the chipmaker’s PC group, is telling investors.

Intel has mentioned the 5th generation Core architecture and future notebooks and 2-in-1 PCs slated to launch next spring. This is a rather wide definition as spring starts in late March and ends in late June, so an educated guess would be mid- to late-Q2 2015, with rollouts at Computex 2015. Intel continues the tradition of launching Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 processors for customers and two processors for business users, namely Core i5 vPro and Core i7 vPro products. We suspect that Intel will call them Core I 5000 generation.

It looks like Braswell, the next generation Atom core, has been delayed. Intel now tells its investors that there will be a Braswell-based core coming branded as Pentium and Celeron in the second half of 2015. On some roadmaps leaked earlier this year Braswell was originally supposed to come in Q4 2014, then it got pushed to Q1 2015 and now probably even further. This means Bay Trail will have to last much longer than intended.

The new Skylake 14nm is going to end up as the sixth generation Core, so we would not be surprised to see them branded as the Core i7 6000 series. We are not sure how will Intel plans to have two generations coexisting in the same market at the same time, but the good news for desktop lovers is that Skylake will come to desktops and bring DDR4 to mainstream users.

AMD will face a lot of competition in 2015, but with the right pricing we believe that there is enough space for AMD-based notebooks and two-in-ones as well as desktops.

Courtesy-Fud

Amazon’s Zocalo Goes Mobile

November 24, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon Web Services (AWS) has announced two much-needed boosts to its fledgling Zocalo productivity platform, making the service mobile and allowing for file capacities of up to 5TB.

The service, which is designed to do what Drive does for Google and what Office 365 does for software rental, has gained mobile apps for the first time as Zocalo appears on the Google Play store and Apple App Store.

Amazon also mentions availability on the Kindle store, but we’re not sure about that bit. We assume it means the Amazon App Store for Fire tablet users.

The AWS blog says that the apps allow the user to “work offline, make comments, and securely share documents while you are in the air or on the go.”

A second announcement brings Zocalo into line with the AWS S3 storage on which it is built. Users will receive an update to their Zocalo sync client which will enable file capacities up to 5TB, the same maximum allowed by the Amazon S3 cloud.

To facilitate this, multi-part uploads will allow users to carry on an upload from where it was after a break, deliberate or accidental.

Zocalo was launched in July as the fight for enterprise storage productivity hots up. The service can be trialled for 30 days free of charge, offering 200GB each for up to 50 users.

Rival services from companies including the aforementioned Microsoft and Google, as well as Dropbox and Box, coupled with aggressive price cuts across the sector, have led to burgeoning wars for the hearts and minds of IT managers as Microsoft’s Office monopoly begins to wane.

Courtesy-TheInq

Is World Of Warcraft On The Rise?

November 24, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Blizzard is happy and why shouldn’t they be as World of Warcraft subscriptions are up. The reason for the increase can be traced to the release of the latest expansion pack which was recently released. The latest WOW expansion pack is called Warlords of Draeno and its release has driven subscriptions to 10 million.

Selling over 3.3 million copies of the Warlords of Draenor on the first day alone, growth has been seen in all major territories since release. The numbers do include those players that are using the 1 month free subscription that comes with the expansion pack. WoW subscriptions had climbed to 7.4 million last quarter after being down.

Of course the release of Warlords of Draenor has not been without its problems. Still Blizzard says that they are working around the clock to address them. Owners have been offered free play time as compensation.

Courtesy-Fud

Microsoft Announces Office 365 Video, Streaming Service For The Enterprise

November 21, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft unveiled Office 365 Video, a YouTube-like streaming service where enterprises and large organizations can post in-house video content for communication and training.

“Office 365 Video provides organizations with a secure, company-wide destination for posting, sharing and discovering video content,” said Mark Kashman, a senior product manager with the Office 365 team, in a blog posting.

Kashman touted Video as a tool for internal communications, citing the examples of new-employee orientation, management messaging and worker training. Employees will also be able to contribute to a “Community” section, though most companies will probably frown on cat antic clips.

The service rolls out over the next few days to companies that have registered for Office 365′s First Release early distribution program, then through early 2015 to others.

Video will be available only to subscribers of Office 365′s plans for enterprises — E1 through E4 — and universities (A2 through A4). It will not be offered to consumer subscribers or firms with small business-oriented plans like Business Essentials, Business and Business Premium.

Kashman also said Office 365 plans for government agencies will get Video at some point, but he did not proffer a timeline.

The other requirement is SharePoint Online, an off-premises component of the enterprise and academic plans, but missing from the increasingly popular Office 365 ProPlus, the rent-not-buy plan used by organizations that have decided to retain their back-end services, like SharePoint and Exchange, on premises.

Although Office 365 Video has elements of consumer streaming services like Google’s YouTube, it’s strictly an in-house affair: It will be available only to employees, and then only those whom IT administrators have assigned access rights.

 

 

Amazon Goes With Intel Zeon Inside

November 18, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Amazon has become the latest vendor to commission a customized Xeon chip from Intel to meet its exact compute requirements, in this case powering new high-performance C4 virtual machine instances on the AWS cloud computing platform.

Amazon announced at the firm’s AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas that the latest generation of compute-optimized Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) virtual machine instances offer up to 36 virtual CPUs and 60GB of memory.

“These instances are designed to deliver the highest level of processor performance on EC2. If you’ve got the workload, we’ve got the instance,” said AWS chief evangelist Jeff Barr, detailing the new instances on the AWS blog.

The instances are powered by a custom version of Intel’s latest Xeon E5 v3 processor family, identified by Amazon as the Xeon E5-2666 v3. This runs at a base speed of 2.9GHz, and can achieve clock speeds as high as 3.5GHz with Turbo boost.

Amazon is not the first company to commission a customized processor from Intel. Earlier this year, Oracle unveiled new Sun Server X4-4 and Sun Server X4-8 systems with a custom Xeon E7 v2 processor.

The processor is capable of dynamically switching core count, clock frequency and power consumption without the need for a system level reboot, in order to deliver an elastic compute capability that adapts to the demands of the workload.

However, these are just the vendors that have gone public; Intel claims it is delivering over 35 customized versions of the Intel Xeon E5 v3 processor family to various customers.

This is an area the chipmaker seems to be keen on pursuing, especially with companies like cloud service providers that purchase a great many chips.

“We’re really excited to be working with Amazon. Amazon’s platform is the landing zone for a lot of new software development and it’s really exciting to partner with those guys on a SKU that really meets their needs,” said Dave Hill, ‎senior systems engineer in Intel’s Datacenter Group.

Also at AWS re:Invent, Amazon announced the Amazon EC2 Container Service, adding support for Docker on its cloud platform.

Currently available as a preview, the EC2 Container Service is designed to make it easy to run and manage distributed applications on AWS using containers.

Customers will be able to start, stop and manage thousands of containers in seconds, scaling from one container to hundreds of thousands across a managed cluster of Amazon EC2 instances, the firm said.

Courtesy-TheInq

Twitter Exploring Creation Of Additional Mobile Apps To Drive Growth

November 14, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Twitter Inc is exploring the creation of additional mobile applications beyond its core messaging service and ways of making it easier for newbies to use its service, as it competes with Facebook Inc and other social media for smartphone users.

Chief Executive Dick Costolo said Twitter also planned to speed up the pace of changes to its product and to add more functions to its private messaging service.

“I strongly believe private messaging virality is important to our long term growth,” Costolo said, a reference to when online content goes viral or is popularly shared. He noted that some of the new private messaging features would be introduced in the current quarter.

Executives said the company needed to do a better job helping new users understand how to use the service. An upcoming “instant timeline” will quickly provide new users with content without requiring them to search Twitter for individual users to follow.

Twitter, whose main service allows users to broadcast 140-character messages, appeared to be taking a page from rival Facebook, which in recent years has taken the approach of creating individual apps centered on news, for instance, and also recently beefed up its private messaging.

Twitter has been searching for ways to arrest dwindling user engagement and drive growth. It currently counts 284 million users, compared with Facebook’s 1.3 billion.

In October, Twitter reported that timeline views per user, a key measure of engagement, slid 7 percent globally in the third quarter.

 

 

 

Yahoo Adds Another Purchase, Acquires BrightRoll

November 13, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Yahoo has agreed to purchase the video advertising platform BrightRoll for $640 million, in a move that could help to offset declines in its traditional display ad business.

The deal was announced on Tuesday and is one of Yahoo’s largest acquisitions since it bought Tumblr last year for just over $1 billion.

Yahoo already runs video ads on properties like Yahoo Screen, but BrightRoll’s system gives marketers a way to buy ads in real time across thousands of websites and mobile apps.

“Online video advertising is increasingly fragmented across thousands, if not millions, of sites and mobile apps,” the companies said. Advertisers want ways to buy video ads at scale and across many sites in fewer, simpler transactions.

The deal is expected to close by March and will make Yahoo’s video advertising platform the largest in the U.S., they said.

Yahoo has struggled to grow its ad business and compete better against Google and Facebook. It may have made some progress lately, reporting in its earnings call last month that its native ads are doing well on mobile.

It’s been struggling in the area of traditional display ads on the desktop, however. But it contended Tuesday that video ads are the new display advertising.

“Video is display 2.0,” CEO Marissa Mayer said in a post on Tumblr.

“Its what brand advertisers love. Its a format that elegantly and easily transitions from broadcast television to PC to mobile and even to wearables,” she said. “This is why video is a key part of our strategy.”

It can also replace the branded banner ad, according to Mayer.

Digital video advertising is increasing at “an eye-popping rate,” eMarketer said recently, although spending on TV ads still outpaces it.

BrightRoll’s revenues are expected to exceed $100 million this year, Yahoo said. The company expects to retain its team of roughly 400 employees.