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.
Some Qualcomm chips have four serious holes which allow potential attackers to “trigger privilege escalations for the purpose of gaining root access to a device.”
According to security outfit Checkpoint, Quadrooter flaws are particularly nasty, if only because they appear in a large number of phones.
Most of the major recent Android devices are expected to be affected by the flaw, including the BlackBerry Priv, Blackphone 1 and Blackphone 2, Google Nexus 5X, Nexus 6, and Nexus 6P, HTC One, HTC M9, and HTC 10, LG G4, LG G5, and LG V10, Moto X, OnePlus One, OnePlus 2, and OnePlus 3, Samsung Galaxy S7 and Samsung S7 Edge and the Sony Xperia Z Ultra.
Three of the four holes have already been patched, with a solution for the fourth is coming but given the fact that handset manufacturers work at glacial speed applying them the world could see a lot of these being exploited.
Google has pushed patches to its phones, but the others might release theirs when hell freezes over. One of the weak points about Andorid is that phone manufacturers or a Mobile Carriers think developing a new versions of software and patches is expensive, some of the might chose not to do it. But that is the whole fragmentation thing and the reason why you cant get an decent Android update for your phone.
Checkpoint revealed its findings over the weekend at the Defcon security conference in Las Vegas. It said that the “vulnerabilities can give attackers complete control of devices and unrestricted access to sensitive personal and enterprise data on them.”
Last week Qualcomm’s CEO confirmed to its investors that the company has taped out its 10nm system on a chip (SoC).
This news kind of went unnoticed and we have decided to revisit this. A few months back Fudzilla was talking with a few industry sources about 10nm and it was the general impression that Apple and Qualcomm would get to 10nm quite soon.
When David Wong from Wells Fargo asked Steve Mollenkopf when we could expect a tape out of 10 nanometers and samples, Steve answered that it had already happened.
We expect to see the successor of Snapdragon 820 being introduced this year and shipping in phones in late Q1 early Q2 2017. This has been the course of things for a while at Qualcomm. The timing also mateches a normal phone refresh lifecycle as most companies – including Samsung – will launch their next generation phones at the Mobile World Congress that takes place in Barcelona on February 27 2017.
This might be the 10nm that Mollenkopf mentioned and confirmed that it has been sampled to customers. We can call it Snapdragon 830 but there are no real guarantees that this will be the final branding. Steve also said that Qualcomm will continue its multi-sourcing strategy for 10nm and beyond.
Multi-sourcing is always a good strategy, as having more than one supplier is definitely better and safer. After 10nm, Samsung, TSMC, GlobalFoundries and Intel will use 7nm and then 5nm.
From what we’ve heard, we will be stuck at 10nm for a while probably through 2017 while we might see some of the first 7nm products in 2018. After 7nm comes 5nm and then it becomes very interesting as the semiconductor manufacturing industry can’t work out how to get smaller than that. It’s the end of Moore’s Law.
So the next generation phones that we expect in early 2017, powered by the next generation 10nm Snapdragon will definitely get faster on a CPU, DSP and GPU side, probably getting more processing power and performance at the same time. This has been the case since the introduction of the smartphone, and won’t change anytime soon.
Qualcomm will also have a server ARM based product in 10nm, as we exclusively reported too.
Microsoft last week stepped up its campaign to stop software pirates when it filed the fifth lawsuit in as many months accusing unidentified individuals with illegally activating more than 1,000 copies of Windows, including the newest Windows 10, and Office.
The suit was filed in a Seattle court last Thursday. It was almost identical to others submitted since February, when Microsoft started a string of cases targeting numerous “John Does.”
“Microsoft’s cyberforensics have identified over one thousand activations of Microsoft software originating from IP address 18.104.22.168 (‘the IP Address’), which is presently assigned to Cable One, Inc.,” Microsoft’s complaint read.
Microsoft did not identify the culprits, but tagged them as “John Doe” 1 through 10.
“Defendants have activated and attempted to active [sic] copies of Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Office 2013, Office 2010, and Windows Server 2008,” Microsoft charged.
As with the previous four John Doe cases of 2016, Microsoft asserted that it tracked the allegedly illegal activations to the IP address, and that the number and pattern of those activations “make it more likely than not” that they were using stolen product keys or abusing legitimate keys.
Microsoft has been given permission in two of the 2016 cases — both filed in early June — to serve subpoenas to internet service providers (ISPs) Comcast and EarthLink. Those subpoenas have demanded that the ISPs identify the alleged software pirates who have been assigned the IP addresses Microsoft had fingered.
The rumor mill has manufactured a hell on earth yarn claiming that Google has abandoned its VR projects and is secretly working on a an augmented reality-style headset.
Engadget reported that the Californian technology giant is building the head-mounted computer that will work independently of smartphones and desktop PCs.
It claims that this secret project, which is quietly in development, is a replacement for an Oculus Rift style project that has been axed.
Actually the project sounds more like a hybrid VR-AR setup: “While it does have a screen, it will offer features more in line with augmented reality systems than existing VR headsets.”
Google is not saying anything and it does have a habit of working on things and then giving up on them. But the rumours are indicative of just how important AR and VR is becoming for the industry’s major players:
It is widely viewed as the next major platform, with similar possibilities to the early days of mobile. Facebook has the Oculus Rift, Microsoft has its AR Hololens headset, and there are rumours about Apple’s intentions to get into virtual reality after everyone else has done the legwork and then it will arrive and claim it has invented it.
Google was into mobile-powered VR game early with its DIY Cardboard headset, and earlier this year it announced Daydream — a virtual reality platform that, like Cardboard (but much more sophisticated), uses a smartphone as its hardware base.
Engadget claims that employees working on the secretive alternative headset have been told that Daydream is “not the company’s long-term plan for virtual and augmented reality.”
A report from financial analysts Seeking Alpha has issued guidance on the share price of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and said the company’s outlook is quite bright.
The report said that only 11 months back AMD was one of the most shorted stocks in the USA largely as a result of falling revenues and losses.
But, said Bill Maurer at Seeking Alpha, all that has completely changed now. Analysts think that AMD’s share price is currently overvalued.
It all hangs on how well AMD performs when it releases its earnings next week.
The introduction of the RX 480 was supposed to help out on revenues but there’s a question mark over how well it’s contributed to the bottom line.
On the bright side, the arrangement it had with Nantong Microelectronics terminated in the quarter and that ended up meaning a net cash bonus of over $320 million.
The share price currently stands at over $5. AMD’s biggest phone the processors based on Zen architecture are promised to start shipping later this year. This should have an effect on the stock value.
Researchers at the University of California, Davis, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering have developed 1000-core processor which will eventually be put onto the commercial market.
The team, from t developed the energy-efficient 621 million transistor “KiloCore” chip so that it could manage 1.78 trillion instructions per second and since the project has IBM’s backing it could end up in the shops soon.
Team leader Bevan Baas, professor of electrical and computer engineering said that it could be the world’s first 1,000-processor chip and it is the highest clock-rate processor ever designed in a university.
While other multiple-processor chips have been created, none exceed about 300 processors. Most of those were created for research purposes and few are sold commercially. IBM, using its 32 nm CMOS technology, fabricated the KiloCore chip and could make a production run if required.
Because each processor is independently clocked, it can shut itself down to further save energy when not needed, said graduate student Brent Bohnenstiehl, who developed the principal architecture. Cores operate at an average maximum clock frequency of 1.78 GHz, and they transfer data directly to each other rather than using a pooled memory area that can become a bottleneck for data.
The 1,000 processors can execute 115 billion instructions per second while dissipating only 0.7 Watts which mean it can be powered by a single AA battery. The KiloCore chip executes instructions more than 100 times more efficiently than a modern laptop processor.
The processor is already adapted for wireless coding/decoding, video processing, encryption, and others involving large amounts of parallel data such as scientific data applications and datacentre work.
AMD’s Zen chip will have as much as 32 cores, 64 threads and more L3 cache than you can poke a stick at.
Codenamed Naples, the chip uses the Zen architecture. Each Zen core has its own dedicated 512kb cache. A cluster [shurely that should be cloister.ed] of Zen cores shares a 8MB L3 cache which makes the total amount of L3 shared cache 64MB. This is a big chip and of course there will be a 16 core variant.
This will be a 14nm FinFET product manufactured in GlobalFoundries and supporting the X86 instruction set. Naples has eight independent memory channels and up to 128 lanes of gen 3 PCIe. This makes it suitable for fast NVMO memory controllers and drives. Naples also support up to 32 SATA or NVME drives.
If you like the fast network interface, Naples supports 16x10GbE and the controller is integrated, probably in the chipset. Naples is using SP3 LGA server socket.
The first Zen based server / enterprise products will range between a modest 35W TDP to a maximum of 180W TDP for the fastest ones.
There will be dual, quad, sixteen and thirty-two core server versions of Zen, arriving at different times. Most of them will launch in 2017 with a possibility of very late 2016 introduction.
It is another one of those Fudzilla told you so moments. We have already revealed a few Zen based products last year. The Zen chip with Greenland / Vega HBM2 powered GPU with HSA support will come too, but much later.
Lisa Su, AMD’s CEO told Fudzilla that the desktop version will come first, followed by server, notebook and finally embedded. If that 40 percent IPC happens to be across more than just a single task, AMD has a chance of giving Intel a run for its money.
Qualcomm has buried the hatchet with LG after the smartphone vendor agreed to pay more for its chips.
LG said the dispute with Qualcomm has been completely settled, although it did not say how much it had agreed to pay. Earlier it had claimed Qualcomm had overcharged for the chips under a licensing contract.
The news about the lawsuit settlement emerged following Qualcomm’s profit forecast for the second quarter in January, which was below what Wall Street’s tarot readers had predicted.
The company expected its mobile chip shipment to fall by 16-25 per cent in the second quarter. Additionally, it expected 3G and 4G device shipment to decline by 4 to 14 per cent. As for the first quarter of 2016, Qualcomm’s chip shipment fell 10 per cent , with a drop in revenue by 21.6 per cent. Revenue from licensing declined 10.4 per cent, suggests a Reuters report.
An LG spokesperson said that this kind of dispute was “actually nothing” and was similar to the ones that the industries had in the past.
“Qualcomm has lowered its royalty rate to LG in return for LG’s guaranteed purchase of Qualcomm processors, which are currently being used in its flagship handsets and will be used in upcoming flagship models,” added the official.
Qualcomm might have been a little nervy. LG has invested millions to develop its own chipset, in an attempt to cut down its dependency on Qualcomm for mobile processors.
Last week, a report in The Independent said that the Oculus Rift VR headset knows when it’s switched on and when its user is moving around. All this is a given, surely, but not so ideal are the parts about marketing and advertising, which is where most of the news site’s concerns lie.
Buried among the mundane it finds this: “We use the information we collect to send you promotional messages and content and otherwise market to you on and off our service. We also use this information to measure how users respond to our marketing efforts.”
Oculus has spoken out about the report. In a statement given to UploadVR, Oculus said that the policy is in place to ensure it offers the best virtual experience and made no suggestion that things would be changing.
“We want to create the absolute best VR experience for people, and to do that, we need to understand how our products are being used and we’re thinking about privacy every step of the way,” a rep for the company said.
“For example, one thing we may do is use information to improve our services and to make sure everything is working properly—such as checking device stability and addressing technical issues to improve the overall experience.”
Oculus also noted that, while Facebook owns it and runs some of its services, they are not currently sharing the collected data.
“We don’t have advertising yet and Facebook is not using Oculus data for advertising—though these are things we may consider in the future,” it said.
This isn’t the first time Oculus has ticked real people off, with the firm falling victim to a fallout over prices and upset Minecraft when it was only a flicker in the Zuckerberg eye and a rustle through the pages in his wallet.
The once loved and Kickstarter-funded Oculus Rift took a bit of a personality whacking after going through the Zuckerberg system and, while it was a market leading proposition, now finds itself at elbow, or temple, level with a range of competitors.
nVidia has opened virtual reality (VR) for professional use with the launch of its VR Ready program.
The gaming world is gearing up for VR with the release of the Oculus Rift and pre-orders for the HTC Vive, but Nvidia’s VR Ready is aimed at developers and companies looking to make VR software.
VR Ready consists of VR-certified GPUs and laptops, and an SDK called VRWorks. These should help developers create VR software for business use, such as enabling architects to provide virtual tours of a building.
Nvidia is working with hardware firms like HP and Dell to offer workstations certified as ‘VR ready’, as well as offering its Quadro M5500 mobile GPU that provides laptops with the graphics grunt to run VR software smoothly.
The M5500 is built around Nvidia’s latest Maxwell GPU architecture and has 2,048 CUDA cores. The company claims it to be the fastest mobile GPU in the world. The GPU can be found in the MSI WT72 laptop, which is the first mobile workstation to receive the VR Ready certification.
“It lets designers, engineers and others run VR-powered design reviews anywhere, improving product quality and speeding workflows. With it, companies can use immersive technology to train remote employees,” said David Weinstein, director of professional VR at Nvidia.
On the software side, VRWorks is stuffed full of complex sounding tools and tech to give developers the things they need to create VR apps that don’t resemble something plucked from Nintendo’s Virtual Boy.
These include multi-resolution shading, front buffer rendering, GPU affinity and GPU direct. We don’t really understand all that, but in essence the tech allows developers to harness the power of multiple GPUs and deliver high-res visual effects at the nausea-beating 90 frames per second.
This is definitely the year of VR. We have tried the HTC Vive and were very impressed. And with the likes of Nvidia creating the tools and tech to give developers the means to make a range of VR software, it looks like the tech’s future won’t just be limited to gaming enthusiasts and early adopters.
Intel’s cunning plans for computers that will recognize human emotion using its RealSense 3D camera, have been killed off in the short term by Apple.
RealSense is a mix of infrared, laser and optical cameras to measure depth and track motion. It can be used on a drone that can navigate its own way through a city block, but it is also good at detecting changes in facial expressions, and Intel wanted to give RealSense the ability to read human emotions by combining it with an emotion recognition technology developed by Emotient.
Plugging in Emotient allowed RealSense to detect whether people are happy or sad by analyzing movement in their lips, eyes and cheeks. Intel said that it could detect “anger, contempt, disgust, fear,” and other sentiments.
A few months ago the fruity cargo cult Apple acquired Emotient. Intel has removed the Emotient plug-in from the latest version of the RealSense software development kit.
It is not clear at this point if Apple told Intel that it invented the plug in and so it had to sling its hook, or if Intel did not want Jobs’ Mob anywhere near its technology.
The RealSense SDK has features that allow it to recognize some facial expressions, but it’s unclear if they’ll be as effective as the Emotient technology.
Microsoft reversed course from an earlier retirement date for Windows 7 and 8.1 support on newer hardware, saying that it would now support those OSes on PCs running Intel’s Skylake silicon until July 2018.
The decision is a partial rollback of a January announcement that Microsoft called a “clarification” of its support policy. Under the January plan, Microsoft would have ended support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on July 17, 2017, if the operating systems were powering machines equipped with its now-current Skylake processor family.
At the time, Microsoft credited the decision to Windows 7’s age and the hassle that Microsoft and OEMs would have to go through to ensure the 2009 operating system runs on Intel’s latest architecture.
“As partners make customizations to legacy device drivers, services, and firmware settings, customers are likely to see regressions with Windows 7 ongoing servicing,” Terry Myerson, Microsoft’s top Windows and devices executive, said in a Jan. 15 blog post.
Myerson’s solution: Shorten support for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1 on the newest PCs by at least 30 months, and decree that, going forward, next-generation processors would require the “latest Windows platform at that time for support.” In other words, Windows 10.
The move was the first time Microsoft had mandated a broad restriction on what edition of Windows customers could run on which hardware. Some analysts saw it as yet another tactic in Microsoft’s strategy to coerce customers into adopting Windows 10.
Support for Windows 7 and 8.1 on certain Skylake PCs will now continue until July 17, 2018, a one-year extension from the original deadline. After that date, Microsoft and its computer-making partners will not guarantee that they will revise device drivers to support those editions of Windows on newer hardware.
Qualcomm has thrown its hat into the virtual reality (VR) ring with the launch of the Snapdragon VR SDK for Snapdragon-based smartphones and VR headsets.
The SDK gives developers access to advanced VR features, according to Qualcomm, allowing them to simplify development and attain improved performance and power efficiency with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, found in Android smartphones such as the Galaxy S7 and tipped to feature in upcoming VR headsets.
In terms of features, the development kit offers tools such as digital signal processing (DSP) sensor fusion, which allows devs to use the “full breadth” of technologies built into the Snapdragon 820 chip to create more responsive and immersive experiences.
It will help developers combine high-frequency inertial data from gyroscopes and accelerometers, and there’s what the company calls “predictive head position processing” based on its Hexagon DSP, while Qualcomm’s Symphony System Manager makes easier access to power and performance management for more stable frame rates in VR applications running on less-powerful devices.
Fast motion to photon will offer single buffer rendering to reduce latency by up to 50 percent, while stereoscopic rendering with lens correction offers support for 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience.
Stereoscopic rendering with lens correction supports 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience.
Rounding off the features is VR layering, which improves overlays in a virtual world to reduce distortion.
David Durnil, senior director of engineering at Qualcomm, said: “We’re providing advanced tools and technologies to help developers significantly improve the virtual reality experience for applications like games, 360 degree VR videos and a variety of interactive education and entertainment applications.
“VR represents a new paradigm for how we interact with the world, and we’re excited to help mobile VR developers more efficiently deliver compelling and high-quality experiences on upcoming Snapdragon 820 VR-capable Android smartphones and headsets.”
The Snapdragon VR SDK will be available to developers in the second quarter through the Qualcomm Developer Network.
The launch of Qualcomm’s VR SDK comes just moments after AMD also entered the VR arena with the launch of the Sulon Q, a VR-ready wearable Windows 10 PC.
Intel is adapting its RealSense depth camera into an augmented reality headset design which it might be licensing to other manufacturers.
The plan is not official yet but appears to have been leaked to the Wall Street Journal. Achin Bhowmik, who oversees RealSense as vice president and general manager of Intel’s perceptual computing group, declined to discuss unannounced development efforts.
But he said Intel has a tradition of creating prototypes for products like laptop computers to help persuade customers to use its components. We have to build the entire experience ourselves before we can convince the ecosystem,” Bhowmik said.
Intel appears to be working on an augmented-reality headset when it teamed up with IonVR to to work on an augmented-reality headset that could work with a variety of operating systems, including Android and iOS. Naturally, it had a front-facing RealSense camera.
RealSense depth camera has been in development for several years and was shown as a viable product technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2014. Since then, nothing has happened and Microsoft’s Kinect sensor technology for use with Windows Hello in the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book knocked it aside.
Intel’s biggest issue is that it is talking about making a consumer product which is something that it never got the hang of.
RealSense technology is really good at translating real-world objects into virtual space. In fact a lot better than the HoloLens because it can scan the user’s hands and translate them into virtual objects that can manipulate other virtual objects.