During the 3D Revolution 2014 presentation held in Rome, Intel has showed its updated SSD roadmap unveiling the new August Ridge SSD 750 Series which will be available in multiple form-factors, including lately popular M.2.
Spotted by Techpowerup.com, the Intel SSD 750 Series will be aimed at both the consumer and the professional market segments and be available in three form-factors, including 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps, mSATA 6Gbps as well as the M.2 form-factor.
The new 750 SSD Series will most likely be available in all the popular capacities, up to 960GB, and be based on 20nm MLC NAND flash.
Unfortunately, the roadmap does not reveal many details regarding the performance of the SSD 750 Series but does note that it should launch in Q4 2014.
Speaking at the Computex trade show in Taipei, Microsoft’s Nick Parker, who handles the company’s partnerships with device makers, said the new handsets could be out by the end of the year.
Compared to current models, which are in the “fours, fives and sixes,” he said referring to prices between $400 and $699, the new phones would have price points in the “ones, twos and threes.”
Asked to clarify if he was referring to end-market prices without carrier subsidies, Parker said he was.
He didn’t identify the manufacturers that would be bringing the phones to market, but there’s a good chance they are among nine companies Microsoft signed up to its Windows Phone development program earlier this year.
In addition to existing partners Nokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei, Microsoft added Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE.
Some of the new partners have significant market share in developing countries where phones generally have lower prices than in developed markets.
Microsoft launched the latest version of its Windows Phone operating system, Windows Phone 8, in late 2012 to critical praise. The operating system was slow to catch on with consumers though, perhaps due to the absence of several popular apps on the platform, but has been slowly increasing its market share.
Windows Phone had a 3 percent share of the smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2013, up from 2.6 percent in the last three months of 2012, according to IDC. In contrast, Google’s Android dominated the smartphone market at the end of 2013 with a 78.1 percent share. Apple’s iOS was in second place at 17.6 percent.
IDC forecasts Windows Phone will continue to increase its market share to hit 7 percent in 2018.
T-Mobile was the first U.S. wireless carrier to enable Wi-Fi calling, way back in 2007, on its Android and Windows smartphones, according to a blog postedby T-Mobile’s Chief Marketing Officer Mike Sievert.
Like T-Mobile, Sprint also has Wi-Fi calling, which can be used when no cellular signal is available. When the nationwide carriers were asked on Tuesday whether they would support Wi-Fi calling in iOS 8 devices, Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Debra Lewis responded, “I’m not going to speculate on what might be offered in the future on our nationwide network, and we don’t offer Wi-Fi calling currently.”
Sprint hasn’t made any announcements about Wi-Fi calling for the iPhone, spokesman Mark Elliott said. Sprint has five smartphones with the feature included, such as the Samsung Galaxy S4, and plans to expand Wi-Fi calling to more devices in 2014, he said. AT&T didn’t respond to a request for comment.
The advantages of Wi-Fi calling would seem to include not having to pay the cellular service cost for a voice call, although T-Mobile counts voice over IP (VoiP) minutes using Wi-Fi calling as minutes against your service plan, according to Jack Gold, an analyst with J. Gold Associates who uses T-Mobile service. “Data is different, but voice is not free with Wi-Fi calling,” he said. “You don’t really save anything, as the carrier still counts VoIP minutes against your plan.”
T-Mobile noted in a fact sheet on Monday that it doesn’t charge any additional service charges for Wi-Fi calling. The carrier also noted that customers don’t have to integrate another app, such as Skype, and can use their existing phone number. To carriers, the service can reduce the load on their cellular networks.
Low-cost Android tablets can be hard to differentiate, but Dell wants to ramp up the quality with its $199 Venue 8 tablet, which has new features like wireless charging and a full high-definition screen.
The new Android 4.4 tablet also has the latest 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 2-megapixel front camera and a 5-megapixel rear camera. Much like some smartphones, the 8-inch tablet can be docked to a pad for wireless charging, said Jonathan Guttell, director of consumer messaging.
Also getting a feature upgrade is the $159 Venue 7, which has 802.11ac Wi-Fi and a 1280 x 800-pixel screen. But the 7-inch tablet won’t have wireless charging.
The tablets will also have longer battery life of up to 10 hours, Guttell said. The tablets are among the first with Intel’s new Atom processor code-named Merrifield, which was originally built for smartphones. The predecessors use the more power hungry Atom chips code-named Clover Trail+.
The tablets will ship in July, and will be shown at the Computex trade show in Taipei this week.
The upgrades come just six months after the first iterations of the tablets were revealed. With the Android tablet market already crowded and technology developing fast, Dell had to swiftly upgrade the tablets to stay ahead of competition, Guttell said.
“You’ll see us refreshing tablets quicker than PCs,” Guttell said.
The Venue 8 weighs 338 grams and is 8.95 millimeters thick. It has a 1920 x 1200-pixel screen, and will come with a stylus. Users need to buy a separate dock-like pad to take advantage of the wireless charging features.
The Venue 7 is 290 grams and also 8.95 millimeters thick. It has a new MaxxAudio speaker for better sound.
Other features in both tablets include 16GB of flash storage, 1GB of RAM and Bluetooth 4.0.
Dell also sells the Venue 8 Pro and Venue 11 Pro with Windows 8, which are based on Bay Trail. Those tablets are not being upgraded at this time, butnew Windows tablets could be introduced during the holiday season toward the end of the year, Guttell said. Intel has said its new Cherry Trail tablet processors will be available by the end of the year.
Dell also plans to release speakers, keyboards and cases later this year, Guttell said.
As Windows XP continued its descent into obsolescence, users who deserted the obsolete operating system shifted to Windows 7, not the newer Windows 8, more circumstantial evidence that commercial customers, not consumers, now drive PC sales.
Data from analytics vendor Net Applications showed Windows XP dropped one percentage point in user share last month, ending May with 25.3% of all desktop and notebook systems. It was the third consecutive month that XP shed one or more points of user share.
Most of May’s lost XP share showed up on Windows 7, which gained eight-tenths of a point to reach 50.1%, the first time the 2009 OS has reached that milestone. Meanwhile, Windows 8 grew four-tenths of a percentage point, ending with a user share of 12.6%.
For the first time, Windows 8.1 accounted for more than half of the combined user share of it and the original Windows 8.
The rise of Windows 7 had been predicted by researchers who have noted a temporary boom in personal computer shipments to businesses as they rushed to throw XP on the ash heap. IDC, for example, has said commercial sales of PCs have climbed by double digits this year compared to last, but that consumers sales have sunk by similar rates.
Net Applications’ statistics can be interpreted as proof of those trends, with Windows 7 — the standard corporate OS now that XP has waned — on the upswing at double the rate of Windows 8/8.1 because of the continued slump in consumer PC purchases. Most consumer-grade personal computers are now equipped with Windows 8.1.
In two of the last three months, Windows 7′s gains have outpaced those of Windows 8.
The latter also continued to flirt with comparisons to Windows Vista, the 2007 Microsoft failure: At the 19-month mark, Windows 8 was barely ahead of Vista’s share of all PCs running Windows.
Unless consumer PC sales pick up in a big way later this year, as some forecast or at least hope, or Windows 8 becomes acceptable to businesses, which virtually no one believes is in the short-term cards, Windows 7 will continue to gain ground as all traces of XP are slowly scrubbed from enterprises, a process that will take much of 2014 in the U.S. and longer elsewhere.
The Chinese are seriously considering what the open source movement has been taking about for years and making Linux on the desktop viable. Every year starts with the mantra that <insert year> will be the year of Linux on the desktop and it never really happens. However the Chinese are so miffed with US spying that they are seriously considering imposing it.
Chinese Government news agency Xinhua published an article claiming Chinese vendors are using a ban on Windows 8 to push Linux-based OS variants. According the reports, Chinese developers may receive “preferential policy” treatment and official support for developing Linux-based operating systems. The Linux distributions and other locally developed programs are often “are created in accordance with Chinese people’s habits” and as such “beat foreign rivals”, the official news agency recorded.
There are three Chinese main Linux distributions, Ubuntu Kylin, Deepin and StartOS. StartOS – has a GNOME desktop environment which has been tweaked to look like Windows XP and has low hardware requirements.
Earlier efforts by Chinese developers to create a Linux-based operating system failed. The Red Flag distribution closed down this year after the Chinese Academy of Sciences withdrew funding for the project, citing general mismanagement and an inability to complete specific projects.
An entire pavilion will be dedicated to little-known device makers showing off the latest smartwatches, smartglasses, wristbands, health monitors and tech-friendly clothing, with a sprinkling of cloud-based services for wearables expected to dot the floor.
Wearables are the next big thing in technology and Computex, Asia’s largest electronics show, is a way for many small Chinese and Taiwanese companies to show off their wares. Little-known Asian companies are already driving smartphone and tablet prices down, and are poised to do the same in wearables, said Paul Gray, director at NPD DisplaySearch.
Inevitably, wearables euphoria will eventually cool down, and many vendors in the crowded market will go out of business or be acquired, while a minority will survive and thrive, he said. “You’ll see lots of people disappointed and a few emerge,” Gray said.
But for now, the wearables gold rush will be in full display this year at Computex, which although not as big as in years past, will remain an unabashed delight for techies.
Emerging tablet, PC and chip trends will also be in the spotlight, and the latest in display, motherboard and peripheral technologies for PCs and mobile devices will be demonstrated.
Low-cost tablets will take center stage and unique Windows laptop designs will also be on tap. Asustek and Dell plan to announce new tablets, while Acer CEO Jason Chen has talked about plans to launch cloud offerings and mobile products at the show. PC makers are trying to combine laptop and tablet functionality into one device, so many such hybrids will be shown.
In the coming weeks, some PC makers are also expected to announce low-cost tablets and PCs with Microsoft’s new Windows 8.1 with Bing, a low-cost version of the OS. Some related hardware could be shown at Computex.
The Central Government Procurement Center issued the ban on installing Windows 8 on government computers as part of a notice on the use of energy-saving products, posted on its website last week.
The official Xinhua news agency said the ban was to ensure computer security after Microsoft ended support for its Windows XP operating system, which was widely used in China.
Neither the government nor Xinhua elaborated on how the ban supported the use of energy-saving products, or how it ensured security.
China has long been a troublesome market for Microsoft. Former CEO Steve Ballmer reportedly told employees in 2011 that, because of piracy, Microsoft earned less revenue in China than in the Netherlands even though computer sales matched those of the U.S.
Microsoft declined to comment.
Last month, Microsoft ended support for the 13-year-old XP to encourage the adoption of newer, more secure versions of Windows. This has potentially left XP users vulnerable to viruses and hacking.
“China’s decision to ban Windows 8 from public procurement hampers Microsoft’s push of the OS to replace XP, which makes up 50 percent of China’s desktop market,” said data firm Canalys.
Red Hat has responded to claims that its implementation of Openstack isn’t as open as it should be.
A report at the Wall Street Journal this week suggested that Red Hat was blocking customers from using alternatives to the bespoke version of Openstack that it offers.
Red Hat provides Openstack with extended support by the company, however in spirit of open source, users should be entitled to use another vendor’s Openstack software, the generic Openstack, or create their own fork.
In reality though, the Wall Street Journal report suggests that Red Hat customers have been advised that Red Hat will not support mixed vendor software, that it has claimed it would cost the company too much to support multiple Openstack distributions and that Red Hat Linux and Red Hat Openstack are too closely intertwined to be separated.
Openstack’s open character is part of what makes it what it is, it’s embedded in the name, and Red Hat has been quick to distance itself from the report, though it does hedge a bit.
In a blog post, Paul Cormier, president of the company’s Products and Technologies division said, “Red Hat believes the entire cloud should be open with no lock-in to proprietary code. Period. No exceptions. Lock-in is the antithesis of open source, and it goes against everything Red Hat stands for.”
However, he went on to warn, “[Red Hat Enterprise Linux OpenStack Platform] requires tight feature and fix alignment between the kernel, the hypervisor, and Openstack services. We have run into this in actual customer support situations many times.”
In other words, its advice to customers is seemingly ‘of course you can do it, but you’d have to be a bit daft’.
He went on to explain, “Enterprise-class open source requires quality assurance. It requires standards. It requires security. Openstack is no different. To cavalierly ‘compile and ship’ untested Openstack offerings would be reckless. It would not deliver open source products that are ready for mission critical operations and we would never put our customers in that position or at risk.”
Which suggests that Red Hat will let you use your own version, unless it’s not happy with it, in which case it won’t.
In a swipe at HP, Cormier concluded by attacking its rival, saying, “We would celebrate and welcome competitors like HP showing commitment to true open source by open sourcing their entire software portfolio.”
HP, which recently launched its HP Helion brand for Openstack, would probably argue that it has already done this, so the war of words might just be beginning.
Last month Google shelled out refunds to users who purchased a fake antivirus app from Google Play, but the scam seems to be catching on and security researchers have recently identified similar apps in both the Android and Windows Phone app stores.
Malware analysts from Kaspersky Lab found a fake app called Kaspersky Mobile in the Windows Phone Store, which is unusual because cybercriminals tend to target Google Play and because Kaspersky doesn’t even make an antivirus product for Windows Phone.
The fake app, which was available for 149 rubles or around US$4, used Kaspersky’s logo and other branding elements and even pretended to scan files when run, said Roman Unuchek, senior malware analyst at Kaspersky Lab.
Kaspersky Lab was not the only brand abused by the people behind this scam. The same developer account had created fake apps using the names and logos of other popular programs, including Avira Antivirus, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Opera Mobile, Internet Explorer and Safari.
One of the developer’s fake Windows Phone apps used the same name as a fake antivirus app found in Google Play in April — Virus Shield.
Despite costing $3.99 and doing nothing to protect devices, the Android version of the app was downloaded over 10,000 times and made it into several “top paid” lists before being identified as a fraud. Google removed the application and offered refunds to affected users, as well as $5 in store credit.
The researchers also identified a Kaspersky-branded fake app in Google Play using the name Kaspersky Anti-Virus 2014. The app’s description was copied from the official Google Play page for Kaspersky Internet Security for Android, one of the company’s legitimate products.
The app’s creators didn’t even bother to add a scan simulation to the application, Unuchek said.
“It is quite possible that more and more of these fake apps will start appearing,” he said. “One thing is for sure — the mechanisms put in place by the official stores are clearly unable to combat scams like this.”
Microsoft has said that customers had downloaded about 27 million copies of the Office for iPad apps in six weeks, a number one analyst called “promising” even as she noted that it lacked important contextual details.
“I think it’s too early to know how much traction they’re actually getting,” said Melissa Webster, an analyst with IDC, in an interview. “The more interesting question is how much revenue [Microsoft] has generated from people who were motivated to sign up for Office 365.”
Microsoft launched the apps on March 27 after years of speculation that waxed, waned and waxed again.
Julia White, a general manager in the Office group, cited the 27-million download figure during the keynote at TechEd 2014, a Microsoft conference that kicked off Monday in Houston.
“Looks like we have about 27 million downloads of these apps. Not bad,” said White. As she demonstrated how IT departments can manage iPads with Intune, the screen showed that more than 12 million of those downloads were tagged to U.S. users.
Because there are four discrete apps in the Office for iPad line — Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote — White’s comment implied that the 27 million tally was of all apps, not the number of “sets” or the total number of customers who have one or more of the quartet on their iPads.
According to AppAnnie, Word was downloaded the most — it typically was the highest of the four on the mobile app analytics vendor’s most-downloaded list — with Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote following, in that order.
Because of Microsoft’s in-isolation download count, anything else, such as the number of Office for iPad users, was pure guesswork. If each customer downloaded an average of two of the four apps, for instance, Microsoft’s figure would represent 13.5 million users. But bump up the average to three, and the user base slips to 9 million.
Apple has sold a total of 211.6 million iPads since the tablet’s 2010 introduction. But because Office for iPad requires iOS 7 — and that OS won’t run on the original iPad — a better number would be 182.8 million, which represents all devices sold from April 2011, the first full month after the debut of the iPad 2, through March 2014.
Using arbitrary apps-per-user averages of 3 and 2 would mean Office for iPad is on between 5% and 7% of all iPads. As an outlier, if each user downloaded just one of the apps, the percentage would jump to almost 15%.
Qualcomm reportedly is preparing to buy high-speed internet chip designer Wilocity in a deal that could see the firm bring 7GBps speeds to its smartphone chipsets.
According to a report out of Israel, Qualcomm is set to pay $300m for Wilocity, which shipped its first commercially available chips at the end of 2012. However, the two companies have yet to agree all terms and conditions of the sale, the report said.
Israeli firm Wilocity announced its first smartphone chip at this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), the Sparrow Wil6300 chipset, also known as WiGig, which uses 802.11ad network technology in the 60GHz radio frequency band that is able to transfer data at speeds up to 7Gbps. However, this superfast transfer rate comes at the cost of range, which is limited to mere metres and doesn’t work through walls.
Nevertheless, Qualcomm’s acquisition of the firm would be an obvious attempt by the firm to take this technology onboard, and perhaps develop it further to extend its operating range.
According to the source, if the deal is reached, Qualcomm will retain Wilocity’s staff of approximately 60.
Last month, Qualcomm posted its smallest quarterly revenue increase since 2010, which saw its share price plummet five percent in afterhours trading.
Reporting its second fiscal quarter financial results for the three months to 30 March, Qualcomm said its revenues rose to $6.37bn during the period, up four percent from a year ago, with net profit up five percent to $1.97bn.
However, that was the smallest year over year percentage increase since the June quarter of 2010, when revenue declined by two percent, and was far lower than the quarterly growth rates of over 20 percent that Qualcomm investors have seen previously.
Following Qualcomm’s earnings report, analysts said that the dip in revenue was attributable to a decline in sales in China as the country’s biggest network, China Mobile, prepares to launch a faster network with 4G LTE technology, and customers are anticipating the launch before buying new smartphones.
Apache Software Foundation released an advisory warning that a patch issued in March for a zero-day vulnerability in Apache Struts did not fully patch the bug. Apparently, the patch for the patch is in development and will be released likely within the next 72 hours.
Rene Gielen of the Apache Struts team said that once the release is available, all Struts 2 users are strongly recommended to update their installations. ASF provided a temporary mitigation that users are urged to apply. On March 2, a patch was made available for a ClassLoader vulnerability in Struts up to version 184.108.40.206. All it took was an attacker to manipulate the ClassLoader via request parameters. However Apache admitted that its fix was insufficient to repair the vulnerability. An attacker exploiting the vulnerability could also cause a denial-of-service condition on a server running Struts 2.
“The default upload mechanism in Apache Struts 2 is based on Commons FileUpload version 1.3 which is vulnerable and allows DoS attacks. Additional ParametersInterceptor allows access to ‘class’ parameter which is directly mapped to getClass() method and allows ClassLoader manipulation.”
It will be the third time that Struts has been updated this year. In February, the Apache Struts team urged developers to upgrade Struts 2-based projects to use a patched version of the Commons FileUpload library to prevent denial-of-service attacks.
Qualcomm reported its second quarter earnings on Wednesday for the three months to 30 March, and its revenue rose to $6.37bn during the period, up four percent from a year ago, with net profit up five percent to $1.97bn.
However, that was the smallest year over year percentage increase since the June quarter of 2010, when revenue declined by two percent, and was far lower than the quarterly growth rates of over 20 percent that Qualcomm investors have seen previously.
“We delivered another solid quarter, driven by demand for our leading multimode 3G/LTE chipset solutions and record licensing revenues,” said Qualcomm CEO Steve Mollenkopf in the earnings report, not mentioning that earnings reflected a much lower increase than seen in recent quarters.
“Looking forward, we are pleased to be raising our earnings per share guidance for the fiscal year. We continue to see increasing demand for our industry-leading chipsets and strong growth in calendar year 2014 of 3G/4G smartphones around the world.”
Qualcomm also forecast sales of between $6.2bn and $6.8bn for the April to June quarter, with the low end of that estimate representing a decline of one percent from a year ago.
It’s probable that while growing smartphone penetration in emerging markets is helping to keep the firm’s unit sales high, it’s also having an negative effect on Qualcomm’s average selling price (ASP) levels of mobile chipsets and devices.
Following Qualcomm’s earnings report, analysts said that the dip in revenue was attributable to a decline in sales in China as the country’s biggest network, China Mobile, prepares to launch a faster network with 4G, or LTE, technology, and customers are anticipating the launch before buying new smartphones.
Qualcomm now expects to make a profit of between $5 and $5.25 per share, five cents above its earlier projection, the firm said.
Growth in the tablet market is driven by low-end devices and Android, but AMD’s tablet strategy is driven by Windows and high-performance machines. So AMD’s avoidance of the low end of the market narrows options for people looking for name-brand chips in low-price machines.
AMD chips are in just a handful tablet models. Those AMD chips that are available for tablets are essentially watered-down PC chips with strong graphics capabilities. But the company plans to introduce new chips, code-named Beema and Mullins, for tablets These new chips are based on a new core and designed to provide more performance and battery life.
“If we miss out on some units in the low end, so be it,” said Lisa Su, general manager of AMD’s global business units, during the first-quarter earnings call on Thursday.
AMD executives said they didn’t want to buy their way into the tablet market like Intel, which has been subsidizing tablet makers to use its x86 chips through its “contra revenue” program. Instead, AMD wants to be selective in its product mix, and focus on high-margin and high-value products.
“This idea of contra revenue is foreign to us,” said Rory Read, CEO of AMD, during the call.
AMD could go after tablets priced at $300, but won’t go under that, said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64.
“They are not chasing bad business,” Brookwood said.
AMD doesn’t have the financial resources to provide subsidies to tablet makers to use its chips, Brookwood said.
Though the tablet market is important, AMD is more concerned about generating revenue from custom chips and other areas, Brookwood said.
AMD makes custom chips for game consoles like Microsoft’s Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation 4, which helped drive up revenue by 28 percent in the first fiscal quarter of 2014. AMD’s revenue in the PC, server and tablet chip business declined.
Addressing the wide tablet market isn’t a good idea for AMD and its bottom line, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research. AMD is directing more resources out of tablets and into consoles, where there is more financial reward, McCarron said.
But it does need one or two big customers to help their tablet business, he said.
“They are being very judicious in what part of the product stack they are playing in,” McCarron said. “They are working on home-run customers.”