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Smartphones Sales Posts 4% Gain In Second Quarter

August 23, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

smartphones-decline-150x150Global smartphone sales enjoyed a 4.3% bump in the second quarter compared to a year ago, but iPhone sales declined for the third straight quarter, market research firm Gartner announced.

Gartner’s figures for second-quarter smartphone growth were more optimistic than numbers reported by Strategy Analytics and Canalys recently. Both had reported modest growth of no more than 3% in smartphone shipments.

IDC last month reported second-quarter shipments were flat, growing just 0.3%.

Gartner’s numbers show that Apple’s iPhone sales dropped 7.7% in the second quarter, with 44.4 million phones sold globally, down from 48 million a year earlier. This decreased Apple’s market share to 12.9%, down from 14.6% a year earlier. Even so, Apple was second globally in smartphone sales.

Meanwhile, Samsung was the top smartphone seller, with 76.7 million smartphones sold, compared with 72 million sold a year earlier. That increase boosted its share to 22.3%, up from 21.8%.

Gartner said Samsung benefited by sales of the Galaxy A and Galaxy J series of smartphones which competed well against devices from Chinese smartphone makers.

Apple’s declines were the worst of any market in greater China and mature markets in Asia/Pacific, decreasing by 26%. There were also declines for Apple in North America and Western Europe, but there was a big jump of 95% in Eurasia, Sub-Saharan Africa and Eastern Europe.

Gartner ranked Huawei, Oppo and Xiaomi, in order, for third to fifth biggest in sales. Android devices were 86% of the total market, compared to 14.6% for iOS and 2.5% for Windows. Overall sales reached 344 million, up from 330 million a year earlier.

 

HP Building Mobile Device Strategy Around Windows 10

August 15, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

HP has experimented with many operating systems over the last few years, but the company always returns back to Microsoft’s Windows.

The company is building a mobile device strategy around Windows 10 Mobile and is slowly cutting its reliance on Android, once high on the company’s list for tablets and PCs.

HP has discontinued low-cost Android tablets, and two remaining enterprise tablets feature aging hardware and an old version of the OS. Company executives have said future mobile devices will be built around Windows 10 unless there’s significant new demand for Android.

HP is following the lead of Dell, which has cut Android devices to focus on Windows. Lenovo, meanwhile, still sells Android tablets and smartphones but is cutting its number of Android tablets and increasing its number of Windows 2-in-1s.

The goal for HP is simple: to unify products around one OS, much like Apple. That’s a challenge facing Samsung, with its PCs on Windows, tablets and smartphones on Android, and wearables and smart TVs on Tizen. Samsung is still working to put the pieces together to ensure all devices communicate flawlessly, but the company claimed progress during the recent launch of Galaxy Note 7.

HP is re-entering the smartphone market its Elite X3 handset, which runs Windows 10 Mobile. The company is building its smartphone strategy around Windows 10 Mobile, which had just a 0.7 percent market share in the first quarter, according to Gartner.

HP says Elite X3 can be a PC replacement with help from cloud services and accessories. Users will be able to run Universal Windows apps on PCs and smartphones. HP also plans to bring augmented reality apps on HoloLens to the Elite X3.

“We’re not trying to hit the volumes and scales of Android,” Park said. “We’re going after IT shops. There are a lot of people in the commercial domain who are not using Pokemon Go.”

HP has said it doesn’t want to sell low-cost devices and has cut many Android devices in the process. But the same strategy doesn’t apply to Windows — this week it announced low-cost Stream notebooks running Windows 10 starting at US$199.

 

 

 

 

Some Qualcomm Processors May Have Security Issues

August 12, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

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.”

Qualcomm has yet to issue an official statement so we don’t know how many chips are effected.  Meanwhile there is an App to know if you have a problem.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Tablet Shipments Fall To 3 Year Low

August 3, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Tablet shipments fell to their lowest point in three years in the second quarter of 2016, according to analyst firm Canalys.

However, analysts at Canalys and IDC are seeing a glimmer of hope for the devices with business demand for detachable tablets like the Microsoft Surface Pro and the iPad Pro. The Windows 10 anniversary update, which rolls out tomorrow, could further the business trend toward detachable tablets as could the next version of Android, called Nougat, with its better multitasking support.

Canalys reported 35 million tablets shipped in the second quarter, down 16% from a year ago. IDC said overall shipments reached 38.7 million, a decline of 12.3%.

According to Canalys, Apple tablets took the top spot at a 28% share of the market, while Samsung took a 16% share and Lenovo and Huawei got 7% and 6% respectively. IDC’s numbers were about the same: Apple had 25.8%; Samsung, 15.6%; Lenovo, 6.6% and Huawei, 5.6%. IDC tracked Amazon with a 4% market share, citing its low-priced Fire tablets, based on an Android variant, including its 6-in. tablet, for the first time.

For more than two years, analysts have watched the tablet market decline. The reasons are primarily because users hold on to the devices for longer and because larger smartphones — those with displays over 5.5 inches — have caught on as an alternative to smaller tablets.

In June, IDC predicted global tablet shipments would drop by 9.6% for all of 2016, up from a prediction of a 6% decline in March.

IDC said the tablet decline would occur even when newer detachables tablets are included with slate tablets. Slates “are not coming back,” IDC analyst Jean Phillippe Bouchard said at the time.

Later in June, Bouchard joined IDC analyst Bryan Bassett in predicting that global business use of tablets would grow by nearly 6% annually through 2020. Even so, that figure would still not be enough to reach the number of total consumer and business tablets shipped in 2015. In 2015, IDC said 206 million tablets shipped, including 35 million for business users, but in 2020, the total number will reach only 202.6 million, including 59.4 million for business users.

 

 

 

Microsoft’s TPM Becomes Mandatory In Windows 10

August 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft is mandating the hardware changes in a bid to improve Windows security, as it incorporates support for TPM 2.0 into the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, which will be rolled out from 2 August.

TPM 2.0 is an international standard led by the Trusted Computing Group. It provides a secure area to store authentication keys built in to the hardware of the device. The TPM 2.0 function can be firmware-based, integrated into the silicon or a module in the device.

The standard provides cryptographic features embedded in silicon and into the device, and supports new authentication modes and algorithms, including SHA-2 and SHA-256.

A number of Windows 10 features, including BitLocker, Credential Guard, Measured Boot, Device Health Attestation and Virtual Smartcard, all require TPM, and their security ought to be improved by TPM 2.0.

TPM 2.0 needs to be built in to devices as follows:

An ‘endorsement key’ certificate must be pre-provisioned to the device’s TPM when it is built, and capable of being retrieved on first boot-up.

It must ship with SHA-2 cryptographic hash functions in the platform configuration register, a memory location in the TPM.

It must support for the TPM2_HMAC command.

The forthcoming Anniversary Update to Windows 10 will complete the work that Microsoft has done to support TPM 2.0 in the operating system. It will be shipped from 2 August and auto-updated to all Windows 10 devices. Prior to this, Windows 10 had supported only version 1.0 of the TPM.

Part of Microsoft’s plan is to push the Windows Hello authentication security, which uses biometrics to log users in, across all Windows 10-based devices. The security system supports face, fingerprint and iris recognition, enabling users to log-in with just a glance, at least in theory.

Windows Hello is being integrated into Microsoft PCs, smartphones and tablets, along with the Xbox games console and the HoloLens augmented reality headset.

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Goes 10nm

August 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

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.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft Announces Another Round Of Job Cuts

August 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Satya Nadella isn’t stopping the job eliminations at Microsoft any time soon. The company announced that 2,850 people will lose their jobs by the middle of 2017, on top of the 1,850 cuts announced earlier this year.

According to a regulatory filing, those impacted will primarily be in its phone hardware business, which has already been hit hard by layoffs, and in global sales.

The cuts are more fallout from Microsoft’s decision to downsize its smartphone business, which it acquired from Nokia in 2015. Putting that acquisition in motion was one of the last things that former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer did before announcing that he would be leaving the company’s top job. His successor hasn’t taken the same shine to the phone hardware business that Microsoft bought.

Microsoft declined to comment about the job cuts beyond what was disclosed in the 10-K filing. Nadella has cut thousands of jobs since taking the top spot, many of them in the phone business.

It remains to be seen what this will mean for the company’s business overall. While Microsoft’s most recent quarterly financial report showed a year-over-year revenue decline, the company’s cloud businesses continued to grow. The phone hardware business has been a sore spot on Microsoft’s financials, seeing massive revenue declines for the past several quarters.

 

Microsoft’s Office 365 Subscription Slows Signficantly

July 26, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft said that consumer subscriptions to Office 365 topped 23 million, signaling that the segment’s once quite large year-over-year growth had slowed significantly.

The Redmond, Wash. company regularly talks up the latest subscription numbers for the consumer-grade Office 365 plans — the $100 a year Home and the $70 Personal — and did so again this week during an earnings call with Wall Street analysts.

“We also see momentum amongst consumers, with now more than 23 million Office 365 subscribers,” CEO Satya Nadella said Tuesday.

But analysis of Microsoft’s consumer Office 365 numbers showed that the rate of growth — or as Nadella put it, “momentum” — has slowed.

For the June quarter, the 23.1 million cited by Microsoft in its filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) represented a 52% increase over the same period the year prior. Although most companies would give their eye teeth — or maybe a few executives — to boast of a rate of increase that size, it was the smallest since Microsoft began providing subscription data in early 2013.

A year before, the June 2015 quarter sported a consumer Office 365 subscription growth rate of 171% over the same three-month span in 2014.

The subscription increase also was small in absolute terms: Microsoft added approximately 900,000 to the rolls during the June quarter, down from 2.8 million the year before and also less than the 1.6 million accumulated in 2016’s March quarter.

The 900,000 additional subscribers added in the June quarter were the smallest number in more than two years.

While Microsoft did not directly address the slowing of growth in the consumer Office 365 market, it did attribute a similar trend among corporate subscriptions to the difficulty of maintaining huge year-over-year percentage gains as the raw numbers of subscriptions increased.

 

 

 

 

 

Does M$ Have A Strategy For Windows?

July 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

As we reported earlier today, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella proclaimed the virtues of its cloud computing platform.

But he didn’t say very much about Windows at all.

And, according to Seeking Alpha financial analyst Mark Hibben in a note to his clients, it’s almost as if Nadella has given up the ghost on the now long in the tooth operating system.

He didn’t say much about smartphones either but admitted that Windows 10 won’t hit the one billion user mark.

But there are another billion and a bit people out there who are using previous versions of Windows and Hibben thinks that that’s Microsoft should really take advantage of that opportunity.

Hibben thinks that while Nadella is practically creaming himself about the cloud the same sort of urges don’t seem to apply to Windows.

Windows phone revenues have fallen 71 percent compared to the same period last year and Microsoft seems to lack a strategy for smartphones in the future.

So has Microsoft given up on Windows? That, surely, can’t be the case.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft Steps Up Pressure On Software Pirates, Files Lawsuits

July 21, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

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 69.92.99.109 (‘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.

 

 

 

Is Google Really Working On Augmented Reality Devices?

July 20, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

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.”

Courtesy-Fud

 

Is AMD Share Price Making A Comeback?

July 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

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.

Courtesy-Fud

 

Microsoft Teams Up With IBM To Push Enterprise Surface Tablet

July 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft said its Surface devices pulls in about $1 billion in revenue every quarter, and the company hopes to raise that number by putting the devices on more corporate desktops.

The company is teaming up with IBM, one of the world’s largest software makers, to write applications specifically for Surface devices. The goal is to tailor Surface devices to meet the needs of financial, consumer goods and retail organizations.

The deal is significant for Microsoft, which wants to make Surface devices more attractive to enterprises. Market research firm IDC expects enterprise PC upgrades to pick up in the second half of this year, and Surface devices with tailored software could appeal to companies.

Surface tablets are already used by organizations like the National Football League and Emirates airline. It is one of the better Windows PCs available, but it has had more success with consumers and professional buyers than enterprises.

For IBM, the deal is much like the one it struck with Apple in 2014 to develop apps for iPhones and iPads. IBM will acquire more enterprise software customers, and it won’t have to worry about supporting the hardware.

The IBM custom software will take advantage of unique Surface features, Microsoft said. The applications will revolve around analytics, reporting, employee productivity, management and forecasting.

Microsoft also struck a similar partnership with Booz-Allen Hamilton to work on Surface tablets for government, public sector and health-care organizations, with a focus on security and manageability of devices. U.S. government organizations have specific requirements in computers purchased, particularly in the area of security.

Further details about the deals weren’t shared.

 

 

Do Lenovo PCs Have Serious Security Issues?

July 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

Lenovo has issued an official response to a security researcher’s claim that the company is shipping more bad software with its hardware.

Lenovo has accepted the problem and shunted it onto another party. But we are getting ahead of ourselves here.

The problem, according to a security researcher called Dymtro Oleksiuk, is that Lenovo is shipping a flaw that undermines Windows security protocols.

Oleksiuk has posted details of the Lenovo ThinkPad System Management Mode flaw on GitHub, and has published a blog about his work.

“The new 0day vulnerability in Lenovo firmware allows arbitrary SMM code execution on a wide range of Lenovo models and firmware versions including the most recent ones,” he said.

“Exploitation of the vulnerability may lead to the flash write protection bypass, disabling of UEFI Secure Boot, Virtual Secure Mode and Credential Guard bypass in Windows 10 Enterprise and other evil things.”

Lenovo has tackled this, in a way. The firm is getting used to discussing problems with its products having given a wide selection of devices a dose of Superfish. The company claimed that it tried to get in contact with Oleksiuk before he went public, but failed.

“Lenovo’s Product Security Incident Response Team is fully aware of the uncoordinated disclosure by an independent researcher of a BIOS vulnerability located in the System Management Mode (SMM) code that impacts certain Lenovo PC devices,” said Lenovo in a security alert.

“At this point, Lenovo knows that vulnerable SMM code was provided to Lenovo by at least one of our independent BIOS vendors (IBVs). These are software development firms that specialise in developing the customised BIOS firmware that is loaded into the PCs of original equipment manufacturers, including Lenovo.”

The firm added that this is common and that it will be difficult to identify the source.

“Following industry standard practice, IBVs start with the common code base created by chip vendors, such as Intel or AMD, and add additional layers of code that are specifically designed to work with a particular computer. Lenovo currently works with the industry’s three largest IBVs,” the firm added.

“The package of code with the SMM vulnerability was developed on top of a common code base provided to the IBV by Intel. Importantly, because Lenovo did not develop the vulnerable SMM code and is still in the process of determining the identity of the original author, it does not know its originally intended purpose.

“But, as part of the ongoing investigation, Lenovo is engaging all of its IBVs as well as Intel to identify or rule out any additional instances of the vulnerability’s presence in the BIOS provided to Lenovo by other IBVs, as well as the original purpose of the vulnerable code.”

Some GitHub users tested their systems and found that the problem could be common to other OEM devices, which backs up Lenovo’s statement about the third-party problem.

@d_olex Yep, found SmmRuntimeManagementCallback() function in HP dv7 4087cl (from ~2010, HM55) with Insyde EFI pic.twitter.com/M5jrsrAO8d — Alex James (@al3xtjames) July 2, 2016

“Lenovo is committed to the security of its products and is working with its IBVs and Intel to develop a fix that eliminates this vulnerability as rapidly as possible,” the company said.

“Additional information regarding the fix will be posted as soon as it is available on the Product Security Advisory web site.”

Courtesy-TheInq

 

Is Intel Going To Dump McAfee

June 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Uncategorized

Intel has run out of ideas about what it is going to do with it its security business and is apparently planning to flog it off.

Five years ago Intel bought McAfee for $7.7bn acquisition. Two years ago it re-branded it as Intel Security. There was talk about chip based security and how important this would be as the world moved to the Internet of Things.

Now the company has discussed the future of Intel Security with bankers, including potentially the outfit. The semiconductor company has been shifting its focus to higher-growth areas, such as chips for data center machines and Internet-connected devices, as the personal-computer market has declined.

The security sector has seen a lot of interest from private equity buyers. Symantec said earlier this month it was acquiring Web security provider Blue Coat for $4.65 billion in cash, in a deal that will see Silver Lake, an investor in Symantec, enhancing its investment in the merged company, and Bain Capital, majority shareholder in Blue Coat, reinvesting $750 million in the business through convertible notes.

However Intel’s move into the Internet of Things does make it difficult for it to exit the security business completely. In fact some analysts think it will only sell of part of the business and keep some key bits for itself.

Courtesy-Fud

 

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