Intel has decided that some of its budget Bay Trail parts have been out evolved and flung them into a tar pit. According to CPU World the parts first appeared in September. Intel released budget Bay Trail systems on a chip for mobile and desktop markets, under Celeron and Pentium brands.
They were manufactured on 22nm technology, and featured such enhancements as greater number of CPU cores, higher clock speeds, beefed up graphics unit, not to mention an out-of-order microarchitecture, that improved per-clock CPU performance by up to 30 per cent faster compared to their predecessors. With this performance goodness it is a little surprising the Intel has decided that all the all Bay Trail SoCs will be discontinued in a matter of a few months. Details of the planned discontinuation were published this week by Intel in several Product Change Notification documents.
The Desktop Pentium J2850, along with mobile Celeron N2810 and Pentium N3510 are already End of Lifed and its last orders will be in two weeks, on February 11. The chips will ship until April 25, 2014. Also retired are mobile Celeron N2806, N2815, N2820, N2920, and Pentium N3520. Their EOL date is April 11, 2014, and they will ship until May 30, 2014. On August 22, 2014, Intel is going to discontinue Celeron J1750, J1850, N2805 and N2910. The “J” models are desktop processors, and the “N” are mobile ones. There is no word on Z-series Bay Trail-T parts, none appear to be EOL’d at this time.
Furthermore, on the same date Intel will retire Core i7-3940XM Extreme Edition, and boxed and tray versions of Core i7-3840QM and i7-3740QM CPUs. The last shipment date for the Celerons and Core i7s is February 6, 2015.
Software giant Microsoft is killing off Apache at an alarming rate. According to figures from Netcraft Microsoft gained 48 million sites this month, increasing its total by 19 per cent.
Nginx also made a large gain of 14 million sites, whereas Apache fell by 7 million. Unsurprisingly, these changes have had a dramatic effect on the overall market share of each web server vendor, with Microsoft’s share growing by 3.38 percentage points to 32.8 per cent or 302 million sites. Apache’s has fallen by 3.41 to 38.2 per cent or 352 million sites.
Microsoft’s market share is now only 5.4 percentage points lower than Apache’s, which is the closest it has ever been. If recent trends continue, Microsoft could overtake Apache within the next few months, ending Apache’s 17-year reign as the most common web server. Overall, nginx powers 17.5 per cent of the top million sites.
Much of Microsoft’s growth is due to new sites hosted by Nobis Technology it seems that Vole is starting to become more aggressive in flogging its products after losing ground to the Open Sauce Apache in the first place. To be fair Apache still has a huge install base and it could easily become popular again.
Australis, the first visual overhaul of Firefox since March 2011, will be promoted to the “Aurora” channel today as the company rolls out Firefox 29 to its pre-beta build line. Mozilla uses a three-stage development process that ships Aurora, Beta and Release versions of each version of Firefox, with six weeks separating Aurora and Beta, another six between Beta and Release.
That means Mozilla will offer Australis to the Release channel — the build most users run — on April 28 at the earliest. It’s also possible that the open-source developer will push Australis even further into the future.
Australis is Mozilla’s attempt to both streamline the browser’s UI and standardize it across all platforms, ranging from the desktop — where versions are available for Windows, OS X and Linux — to mobile. Mozilla has a version of Firefox for Android and continues to plug away at a “Modern,” or “Metro,” app for Windows 8.1. Many of Australis’ visual changes are subtle, with more rounded tabs, inactive tabs that fade deeper into the background and a revamped customization panel. Australis also dumps the orange-colored Firefox menu in Windows, an element which first popped up in Firefox 4.
Mozilla has touted the UI refresh as “organic, friendly, and fluid,” the last word one that also rolled off Microsoft executives’ tongues early in the development of Windows 8.
“Upon the following uplift (March 17), we’ll again make an evaluation on uplifting Australis to Beta or holding it back on Aurora for the Firefox 30 train,” said Justin Dolske, a Mozilla senior engineering manager, in a note to a planning discussion forum. “There is significant risk to backing out a large project from Beta, so the intent will be to ride a Beta to Release.”
If Australis doesn’t release in April with Firefox 29, its next shot will be Firefox 30, scheduled to ship June 9.
“Significant development will continue over the next six weeks, as we burn down current Australis bugs as well as new issues found by the Aurora audience,” Dolske said.
Libreoffice 4.2 is out and is a major upgrade release.
The popular alternative to Microsoft Office has been retooled to increase compatibility with that expensive proprietary productivity applications suite, including compatibility with Visio and Publisher files.
In addition to a much improved formula process for its spreadsheet application, Libreoffice 4.2 also includes a new startup screen and improved round trip compatibility for newer formats such as .docx.
Java accessibility features are being phased out in favour of the IBM IAccessibility2 package, which will supercede the Java version in future editions.
iOS users can take advantage of the Impress Remote Control feature that allows users to control presentations from their smartphones. This feature has been available on Android for some time but now Apple fans can use it too.
Libreoffice claims that this is the biggest recoding of its office suite yet and says that it now offers better integration with Windows 7 and Windows 8, with documents grouped on the taskbar and quickview thumbnails.
The news comes after UK cabinet minister Francis Maude recently announced that Parliament will move towards using open source software for its documents, and said that interoperability improvements such as those Libreoffice has introduced will be key to ensuring that all areas of government communicate a lot more effectively than they do right now.
Libreoffice has also made contributing to continued development of the open source office suite even easier with a new code submission and review portal known as Gerrit.
Intel recently announced that it plans to ship 40 million tablet parts this year, so it is hardly surprising that it is planning to roll out a few more tablet parts, especially in the low-end segment.
According to a leaked OEM roadmap, picked up by CPU World, Intel will expand the Bay Trail-T line-up in both the high- and low-end.
The Z3775, Z3775E and Z3775D should end up somewhat faster than the currently available Z3770 and they will go after $200+ segment. The chips are expected to ship sometime in late Q1 and they will be used in Android and Windows products.
The Z3735D and Z3735E are designed for the $149 to $199 segment. They will be used in Windows and Android tablets, but there is no word on availability.
As for the Z3735F and Z3735G, they are aimed solely at Android tablets priced from $99 to $149. They should ship in late Q2 or early Q3.
Intel is expected to introduce next generation Cherry Trail SoCs by the end of the year.
Microsoft announced that it will rename its SkyDrive online storage services as OneDrive, picking a name six months after striking a deal with a British broadcaster that had taken the technology giant to trademark court.
“Changing the name of a product as loved as SkyDrive wasn’t easy,” Microsoft acknowledged in a post to a new blog. “We believe the new OneDrive name conveys the value we can deliver for you and best represents our vision for the future.”
Microsoft was forced to rebrand the service — as well as its for-business SkyDrive Pro, which took the name OneDrive for Business — after it lost a trademark infringement case last year brought by British Sky Broadcasting Group (BSkyB), the massive television and broadband Internet service provider owned in part by Rupert Murdoch.
In early August, Microsoft and BSkyB announced a settlement that gave the former a “reasonable period of time to allow for an orderly transition to a new brand” for SkyDrive. In return, Microsoft pledged to drop its plans to appeal the U.K. court’s ruling.
Current users of SkyDrive and SkyDrive Pro need do nothing as the name change propagates through Microsoft’s properties. “The service will continue to operate as you expect and all of your content will be available on OneDrive and OneDrive for Business respectively as the new name is rolled out across the portfolio,” said Ryan Gavin, general manager of Microsoft’s consumer apps and services group, in the blog.
It wasn’t the first time that Microsoft stumbled with a brand name.
In mid-2012, the Redmond, Wash. companydropped the term “Metro” — which it had used to describe the tile-based, touch-first interface in Windows 8 and the apps that ran in the UI — after Metro AG, a Dusseldorf, Germany-based retail conglomerate, threatened the company. Microsoft has failed to find a catchy replacement for Metro. At one point it cited “Modern” as the new term, then settled on the forgettable “Windows Store” to label the apps, all to little avail: Most references to the UI and apps continue to use Metro.
One public relations expert took Microsoft to the woodshed last year for flailing a second time in branding. “It’s unbelievable to me that Microsoft did not see this coming,” said Peter LaMotte, an analyst with Washington, D.C.-based strategic communications consultancy Levick.
According to a WHOIS search of domain registrations, onedrive.com was originally claimed in 1998. On Jan. 23, 2014, the status of the domain was updated; it now shows as owned by Dynadot, a San Jose, Calif. domain nameregistrar and website hosting firm.
Nokia’s rumored Android phone, code-named Nokia Normandy, is likely to be branded the Nokia X.
That’s according to @evleaks, which tweeted a brief message on Thursday revealing the name.
Project Normandy = Nokia X
Evleaks didn’t reveal any new details about the device, but thanks to a stream of online leaks we already know about all there is to know about the device.
Expected to launch at Nokia’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) press conference next month, the supposed Nokia X will be a low-end device. It’s expected to launch as a replacement for the firm’s existing Asha feature phone line, which according to the Finnish firm’s latest quarterly financial report hasn’t been flying off the shelves.
The Nokia X is expected to feature a 4in display powered by a Qualcomm S4 processor and Nokia’s forked version of Google’s Android mobile operating system. This, according to leaks, will offer a Windows Phone style, tile based user interface and Nokia’s usual portfolio of custom apps.
The device is also expected to feature a 3MP rear-facing camera and 4GB of internal storage that will be expandable via microSD card. The Nokia X is also likely to look similar to Nokia’s present Lumia Windows Phone designs, with the handset expected to launch in a number of various colours.
There’s no word on a release date or pricing details for the Nokia X yet, although it’s likely to be priced below $250.00.
We’ll be at Nokia’s press conference at MWC, so check back then for all the latest.
A security firm called Zimperium has launched mobile software that learns from smartphones to fend off malicious cyber attacks.
Claiming to be the first security software to be powered by artificial intelligence (AI), the app is called zIPS, with the “IPS” standing for “intrusion prevention system”. The aim of the AI is to better spot malware before it causes harm or spreads to other devices.
The zIPS software works whether the smartphone is offline or online and can protect against malicious apps, such as those that can self-modify, and network attacks like a “man in the middle” attack where a hacker intercepts data being sent between one user and another.
“With zIPS, corporations will now have the opportunity to use [bring your own device] as an advantage to their security. zIPS is the first security solution that can combat modern cyber-attacks on mobile,” said Zimperium’s founder and CEO Zuk Avraham. “There is already evidence of attacks that are happening to infiltrate organisations, which only zIPS can prevent.”
Prior to working on the Android app, Avraham worked as a security researcher for the Israeli Defense Forces and Samsung electronics before setting up Zimperium in response to what he thinks is a poor selection of good mobile security software.
According to MIT Technology Review, Zimperium said that there have as yet been no programs that can detect, notify and protect against cyber attacks deployed through mobile devices.
The zIPS Android app has arrived in the Google Play store for all Android devices at a time when malware on Android is at an all time high.
Last year, Trend Micro warned that Google’s Android mobile operating system is so beset by cyber criminals creating malicious apps that the malware was on track to hit the million mark before the end of 2013.
The firm said that this was attributable to hackers seeking to exploit Android’s growing global user base.
In the aftermath of a large-scale attack on point-of-sale (POS) systems at retailer Target, new malware designed to illegally extract payment card data from the sales systems was released earlier this month.
Security researchers from cybercrime intelligence firm IntelCrawler identified a PoS RAM (random access memory) scraping program dubbed Decebal that they believe was released on Jan. 3. The release shows that cybercriminals are increasingly interested in launching this type of attack.
The malware is written in VBScript (Visual Basic Scripting) in less than 400 lines of code. Despite looking fairly unsophisticated, it can grab track 2 data — data encrypted on the magnetic stripe of credit or debit cards — from PoS memory and contains routines to evade malware analysis tools, like antivirus sandboxes and virtual machines.
The use of a scripting language to create malware is not unusual, but is highly uncommon for this particular type of threat. Andrey Komarov, CEO of IntelCrawler, said this is the first time he’s seen PoS malware written in VBScript.
Using this language provide some benefits, like portability, as it works by default in all Windows versions since Windows 98 and doesn’t require a separate interpreter. Many PoS systems run a version of Windows Embedded.
VBScript is also commonly used by Windows system administrators to automate different tasks and can be called by other scripts and programs, which could make this particular malware inconspicuous, Komarov said.
Decebal sends the stolen card data to a command-and-control server, particularly to a single 44-line PHP script running on a Web server that sorts the information and stores it.
Various text strings found in the malware code suggest its authors are likely Romanian, the IntelCrawler researchers said in a blog post. The name chosen by its creators also points in this direction, Decebal being the Romanian name of Dacian king Decebalus, an important figure in Romanian history.
Bogdan Botezatu, a senior e-threat analyst at Romanian antivirus firm Bitdefender, agreed with IntelCrawler’s assessment of the malware’s origins. “Most of the strings, functions and variable names are clearly Romanian words so chances are that the malware has been written by a Romanian citizen,” he said via email.
Nokia is expected to report a large drop in network equipment sales in its results this week, illuminating the challenge facing management after selling its once robust handset division to Microsoft for $7.3 billion.
Improved profitability at Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN) due to cost cutting have helped cushion the company’s declining handset business in recent quarters.
But with major projects in South Korea and Japan coming to an end, the NSN business, the bulk of Nokia’s entire business after the handsets sale, is expected to report a 19 percent fall in fourth-quarter sales to 3.2 billion euros and a 17 percent fall for the whole of 2013 to 11.4 billion euros. Results are due on Thursday.
The decline for NSN would follow a 26 percent fall in third-quarter sales and come as scale has become increasingly crucial to competing against the industry leader for wireless networks, Ericsson, and China’s Huawei, particularly due to high research and development costs.
NSN’s chief Rajeev Suri, in an interview with Reuters in November, confirmed the company was now prioritizing revenue growth even if it meant a trade-off in profit.
Analysts said NSN must demonstrate that shift in coming quarters, and that markets will accept a dip in margins as long as they don’t fall too far below 8 to 10 percent.
NSN’s fourth-quarter adjusted operating margin is still likely to be high. The company forecast it will be around 12 percent, plus or minus 4 percentage points, compared with 8 percent in the third quarter.
That’s higher than most rivals such as Ericsson, which reported an 8 percent operating margin last quarter as NSN’s restructuring program launched in late 2011 cut a quarter of its workforce and took the business out of low-margin projects.
“It is possible that we won’t be seeing such high margins this year, but I’d rather see them starting to grow again,” said Inderes Equity Research analyst Mikael Rautanen.
Nordea Markets analyst Sami Sarkamies said Nokia’s challenge will be to find new business to make up for a decline in sales in Asia, where a year ago it was busy building out high-speed wireless broadband networks. Asia, including Greater China, accounted for around 41 percent of NSN’s 2.59 billion sales in the third quarter.
That won’t be easy. While telecoms operators are expected to spend more on network equipment in 2014 due to strong demand for high-speed 4G mobile broadband technology, competition is set to remain fierce.
Analysts expect Nokia’s results this week to also show a fall in its handset shipments. Quarterly smartphone shipments are expected to have risen 53 percent from a year earlier to 10.7 million while still lagging behind market leaders Samsung and Apple.
But results from the handset business, where revenues last year were estimated to have fallen by 26 percent to 11.6 billion euros, will be counted as discontinued operations, with the Microsoft deal expected to close shortly, pending regulatory approvals in China.
AMD is in a bit of legal hot water and it is coming in the form of a class action suit filed by investors, alleging that AMD knowingly misled them into believing Llano APUs would do well in the market.
The suit was filed in California by investors who purchased stock between October 27 2011 and October 18 2012, reports Tom’s Hardware. The lawsuit alleges that AMD misrepresented Llano at the time of launch, claiming that the chips were going to sell well in emerging markets. In April 2012 AMD announced demand for Llano products was higher than expected and that its desktop business would rebound.
However, just three months later AMD revealed that demand for Llano desktop chips was in fact weak. AMD then reported lower than expected revenue and the price of AMD stock tumbled nearly 25 percent on the news.
In addition, investors claim AMD dismissed concerns about high inventory levels and their impact on gross margins. Eventually AMD was forced to take a $100 million inventory write-down for heaps of unsold Llano chips. This caused the stock to drop 17 percent.
However, the lawsuit is not what we would call bulletproof. The plaintiffs will have to prove AMD knowingly violated the Securities Exchange Act and took a conscious decision to misinform investors, which won’t be easy and it might prove impossible in a court of law. In addition, the slump in PC sales roughly coincided with the Llano launch and it might be nothing short of a trump card for AMD lawyers.
Perhaps investors should read a few tech sites before they choose to invest in a tech firm.
Intel has an aggressive goal for 2014: get its Atom chips into 40 million tablets, or four times the number of tablets that had Intel inside in 2013. But rather than do it by tailoring its products to what tablets now demand, the cash-rich company has another plan: pay tablet makers to use its chips.
That’s essentially what Intel is doing through a program first disclosed at its financial analyst meeting in November. Intel will pay tablet makers to cover the additional component costs of using its Bay Trail chips instead of ARM-based processors, and it will also help cover the engineering costs of designing an Intel tablet.
The Intel division that makes Bay Trail will incur a “significant increase” in its operating loss to pay for the plan, CFO Stacy Smith said at the November meeting, but the upshot is likely to be a lot more tablets based on Intel chips, potentially even from big players like Samsung.
“Basically, they’re making an investment to make up for them being slow to get into the market,” said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research.
CEO Brian Krzanich shed a bit more light on the plan during Intel’s quarterly earnings call when he was asked what proportion of Intel-based tablets will be supported by its so-called “contra revenue” subsidies.
After a bit of hesitation, Krzanich said that “the majority of projects we have in 2014 use some level of contra revenue.” That confirmed what many analysts suspected: If you pick up a Bay Trail tablet this year, chances are Intel will have paid the manufacturer to cover the cost of using its chips.
It’s not hard to see why Intel is being aggressive: PC sales are in the toilet and the chip maker has been left behind in the hottest market in personal computing. The vast majority of tablets today use ARM chip designs manufactured by the likes of Samsung, Apple, Nvidia, Qualcomm and China’s Rockchip.
One cause of Intel’s problems is that Bay Trail was designed for the high end of the tablet market, where Windows 8 has performed poorly. Intel now sees its biggest opportunity in lower-priced Android devices.
Since AMD officially launched its 4th generation A-Series Kaveri APUs and lifted the NDA veil from all press materials, we noticed that it has started to use a new term to define the structure of its new Kaveri APUs. As we reported last week, AMD is now talking about Compute Cores, which practically puts CPU and GPU cores on an equal footing, suggesting that there should not be any difference between them and that some tasks, previously limited to the CPU, can be done by the GPU as well.
If you take a look at the official AMD slide below which details the three new Kaveri APUs, the A10-7850K, A10-7700K and the A8-7600, you will notice that AMD lists the flagship as the APU with 12 Compute Cores or simply four CPU and eight GPU cores. Since the Kaveri APU is actually the first APU with HSA (Heterogeneous System Architecture) support, with hUMA, or equal memory access by both CPU and the GPU, heterogeneous queuing, which allows the GPU and CPU to have equal flexibility to create/dispatch work and an ability to talk about APU GFLOPS, or combined compute power of the entire APU, it makes sense for AMD to also talk about Compute Cores.
Of course, there are still some application specific tasks where the CPU or the GPU are much better, but, according to AMD, Kaveri is the first true APU, where the GPU is not just for gaming, it can actually do much more.
AMD Senior Manager Sasa Marinkovic, Technology lead for the Client Business Unit, said: “At AMD, we recognize that our customers often think of processors (CPUs) and graphics cards (GPUs) in terms of the number of cores that each product has. We have established a definition of the term “Compute Core” so that we are taking a consistent and transparent approach to describing the number of cores in our HSA-enabled APUs. A Compute Core can be either a CPU core or GPU core i.e. Kaveri can have up to 12 Compute Cores (4 CPU and 8 GPU).”
Although it does sound like a marketing gimmick, but actually is not due to HSA, it will definitely mark a new way for AMD to market/sell its APUs and it will definitely simplify the shopping experience for many casual buyers, more Compute Cores, more performance.
ZTE, which trails nearby rival Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in selling both smartphones and telecoms equipment, wants more share of the fat profit margins promised by sales of high-end phones in the United States.
But the company needs to first work on its image. Its mainstay telecom equipment business was essentially shut out of the U.S. and other markets after government officials flagged security concerns about Chinese-made equipment.
ZTE targets a U.S. market share of 10 percent by 2017 from 6 percent in 2013, Lv Qianhao, global marketing director of mobile devices, told Reuters at a company event on Thursday.
That would place it a distant third behind Apple Inc with 41 percent and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd with 26 percent, according to September-November data from researcher comScore.
To that end, ZTE will increase its U.S. marketing budget by at least 120 percent this year from last, Lv said without elaborating. Like other Chinese handset makers, ZTE is grappling with low brand awareness in the world’s second-largest smartphone market and perceptions of inferior quality.
Samsung Electronics, which earns around two-thirds of its operating profit from its mobile division, spent $597 million on marketing in the United States in 2012, according to researcher AdAge.
Last year, ZTE signed a deal with the Houston Rockets basketball team and released a Rockets-branded phone.
“We want young U.S. consumers to participate in our marketing activities, so we will have more NBA (National Basketball Association) stores and channels that sell our products,” Lv said.
Globally, ZTE aims to ship around 60 million smartphones this year compared with about 40 million smartphones last year, said Senior Vice President Zhang Renjun.
The company sees much of that growth in developed markets – including Russia and China- which accounted for 68 percent of mobile device revenue last year compared with 35 percent in 2007, said Lv.
ZTE’s mobile device business sells feature phones as well as smartphones. It was the fifth-biggest mobile phone vendor in July-September, according to researcher Gartner, though it fell out of the top five smartphone sellers list in the same period.
ZTE expects to have swung to a profit for last year having booked its first-ever loss as a public company in 2012.
It based its turnaround on cutting costs, signing fewer low-margin contracts, and winning contracts to build fourth generation telecommunication networks.
The company expects global investment in 4G to reach $100 billion this year, Zhang said.
A variant of the infamous Icefog malware, an advanced persistant threat (APT) campaign uncovered last September, has been found by security firm Kaspersky.
Dubbed “Javafog”, the malware uses Oracle’s Java software and is targeting several high profile companies and government agencies, according to the Russian security firm, including “a very large American independent oil and gas corporation”.
The new variant was uncovered by Kaspersky Lab experts Costin Raiu, VitalyK and Igor Soumenkov, who came across the threat while monitoring previously shut down Icefog command and control (C&C) servers.
“In September 2013, we published our extensive analysis of Icefog, an APT campaign that focused on the supply chain – targeting government institutions, military contractors, maritime and shipbuilding groups,” the security firm said in a blog post.
“Since the publication of our report, the Icefog attackers went completely dark, shutting down all known C&C servers.
“Nevertheless, we continued to monitor the operation by sinkholing domains and analysing victim connections. During this monitoring, we observed an interesting type of connection, which seemed to indicate a Java version of Icefog.”
The malware is just as nasty as its older brother, it seems, retaining the same espionage focus as the original Icefog campaign in that once in a victim’s system installs the malware, it is designed to communicate with Icefog C&C servers.
“The module writes a registry value to ensure [that] it is automatically started by Windows. It is worth noting that the module does not copy itself to that location,” continued the post.
“Next, it enters a loop where it keeps calling its main C&C function, with a delay of 1,000 milliseconds. The main loop contacts [a] well-known Icefog C&C server and interacts with it.”
The Kaspersky security experts said that evidence suggests a number of major US corporations involved in critical infrastructure might have fallen victim to the new Javafog variant during the sinkhole operation, and listed 72 different C&C servers, “of which we managed to sinkhole 27,” Kaspersky added.
This was achieved by correlating registration information for the different domains used by the malware samples.
“During the sinkholing operation, we observed eight IPs for three unique victims of Javafog, all of them in the United States. Based on the IP address, one of the victims was identified as a very large American independent oil and gas corporation, with operations in many other countries,” Kaspersky said.
The team said that the Javafog malware is far harder to track than the original Icefog attacks.
“The truth is that even at the time of writing, detection for Javafog is extremely poor (three out of 47 on Virustotal). Java malware is not as popular as Windows Preinstallation Environment (PE) malware, and can be harder to spot,” read the post.
Security firm Trusteer advised that to prevent Java exploits and malware-based infiltrations, it is important to restrict execution to only known trusted Java files.
“Since organisations struggle to manage and maintain a complete list of all known trusted files, they should at least restrict execution to files that have been signed by trusted vendors, or downloaded from trusted domains,” Trusteer warned.