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Are Smartphone Makers Conspiring Against Apple?

December 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Chinese smartphone vendors are so worried that Apple is strong arming AMOLED suppliers to suck supply that they have formed their own consortium to fight it.

According to Digitimes, Huawei, Oppo, Vivo and BBK are worried that Apple may monopolise supplies of smartphone-use AMOLED panels from Samsung Display and other Japan-based makers in the future.

To fight against this, they are to work with the China-based flexible panel maker Royole to form a consortium for joint investment in local flexible AMOLED production in 2017. The cunning plan is better than being stuck without compotants, but might cause a few headaches as they will be effectively creating new production in an area they have little experience.   But if they are lucky they could set their own prices, in the same way that Apple twists the arms of its suppliers using its buying power.

China-based smartphone vendor BBK has established an independent subsidiary which will focus on manufacturing panels and BBK’s goal for the subsidiary is to expand its monthly capacity to at least 60,000 AMOLED panels from 2017-2019. Royole is expanding its AMOLED capacity to 45,000 units in 2017 and 2018.

Courtesy-Fud

PC Shipments Expected To Finally Rise In 2017

December 6, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

While PC shipments are set to decline in 2016, beancounters at IDC think that the drop will be better than expected and there will be an improvement in 2017.

IDC expects PC vendors to ship a total of 258.2 million units this year, a figure which would be 6.4 percent lower than last year. It had been expected that there would be a 7.2 percent fall. Now IDC is saying that growth will still be negative in 2017, but shipments are expected to decrease by just 2.6 percent compared to this year.

Commercial shipments of notebooks will grow this year, while desktops should stay flat in terms of growth. The pressure from mobile devices is said to decrease as the markets mature. The tablet market in particular is not as big of a concern or threat to PCs as it is declining too.

IDC Worldwide Tracker Forecasting and PC research vice president Loren Loverde said that the PC market continues to perform close to expectations.

“Some volatility in emerging regions is being offset by incremental gains in larger mature markets while the interaction with tablets and phones is stabilizing. We continue to see steady progression toward smaller desktops and notebooks as replacement buying helps stabilize overall shipments in the coming years”.

Looking towards 2020, IDC claims that the market will still face a decline in terms of unit shipments, but only a small one at 0.8 percent. In 2020, PC vendors are expected to move 250 million units.

IDC Devices and Displays senior research analyst Neha Mahajan said:

“Despite continued weakness in the consumer segment, the US PC market is showing some signs of stability in the near future with some sources of optimism for the long haul. Backed by early Windows 10 transitions that are expected to boost commercial PC shipments in the next couple of years, and steady growth of PCaaS (PC as a Service) which should help shorten refresh cycles of commercial systems in the long-term, the overall US PC market sentiment certainly seems to be improving”.

Courtesy-Fud

Nokia Smartphones Poised For A Comeback

December 2, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

nokia-hq-150x150Nokia smartphones are gearing up for a comeback after former managers at the Finnish company licensed the handset brand from Microsoft and struck up partnerships with Google and phone manufacturer Foxconn.

Nokia was once the world’s dominant cellphone maker but missed the shift to smartphones and then chose Microsoft’s unpopular Windows operating system for its “Lumia” range.

Nokia quit smartphones in 2014 by selling its handset activities to Microsoft to focus on mobile network equipment. Microsoft continued selling Lumia smartphones under its own name but this year largely abandoned that business, too.

 HMD Global, led by Nokia veteran Arto Nummela, wants to launch its first Nokia smartphone in the early part of next year using Google’s Android operating system.

Success will require a dash for scale by stealing business from Apple, Samsung and dozens of other players in a cut-throat industry.

“Consumers may be carrying different smartphones now, but are they really in love and loyal to those brands?” said Nummela in an interview.

The Nokia consumer brand lives on as the badge on cheaper, entry-level “feature phones” sold mainly in Asia, India and Eastern Europe, though Microsoft invested little to market the name in recent years. Smartphones typically cost anywhere from ten to 30 times as much as these basic phones, which sell for as little as $20.

“For a new entrant, having an established brand provides it with an instant on-ramp,” said mobile phone analyst Ben Wood of CCS Insight, who suggested that phone vendors with weaker brands should not take the new challenge lightly.

“The barriers to entry for the Android phone space are low,” said Wood. “What HMD has is the Nokia brand and management experience. The key to its success will be driving scale.”

CEO Nummela, who was once responsible for Nokia’s sales and product development, does not lack ambition.

“We want to be one of the key competitive players in the smartphone business,” he told Reuters.

HMD President Florian Seiche previously worked at Siemens, Orange, HTC and Nokia. Chief Marketing Officer Pekka Rantala is a former CEO of Rovio, the maker of the Angry Birds game, as well as a Nokia veteran.

“We are not going to skip any markets in the long term,” Seiche said, adding that HMD had already set up offices in 40 locations around the world.

Will Smartphone Production Rise In 2017?

November 29, 2016 by  
Filed under Mobile

Next year, smartphone production volume is expected to grow by 4.5 percent to reach 1.4 billion units, according to the latest market forecast.

Global market research firm TrendForce says the double-digit growth in smartphone shipments that once took place in previous years is not expected to happen in 2017, as smartphone manufacturers currently face innovation hurdles and a shortage of new useful applications.

The report says that around 45 percent of all smartphones produced this year belong to Chinese brands, or 634 million units, mainly owing to growth from Oppo and Vivo shipments. However, these vendors may face flat growth in 2017 as their sales efforts now hinge on developing foreign market presence. This will require obtaining necessary IP and the support of local wireless companies or risk of being confined to home markets.

Apple and Samsung attempt to salvage sales this year

Meanwhile in the US, Apple is expected to post an 11.5 percent annual decline in iPhone volume production for 2016 as sales become sluggish over an iterative product design that has some customers prolonging their smartphone upgrade cycles. Samsung has also made an effort to salvage its Galaxy S7 device from the eyes of the public by promoting a new ‘glossy black’ color option, similar to the iPhone 7 ‘Jet Black’ color option that has attracted the most sales among retailers. The report notes that these manufacturers and other international brands are facing noticeable shipment shortages that constrain growth in the market’s overall volume production.

AMOLED smartphone market to reach 28 percent next year

The forecast says that consumers now expect noteworthy advances in mobile display technology next year because market leader Apple did not equip its latest iPhone 7 with an AMOLED panel design.

Samsung currently enjoys a monopoly over small-size AMOLED panel supplies, which limits the ability of other manufacturers to offer the technology in their own devices. TrendForce predicts that the panels will have a 28 percent adoption rate in 2017, followed by a 40 percent adoption rate in 2018 after LG Display begins to manufacture and supply its own small-size AMOLED panels.

At DisplayWeek 2016 in San Francisco, Samsung unveiled a foldable 5.7-inch AMOLED display to be used in an upcoming “foldable” Galaxy smartphone lineup. Back in December 2015, we reported that the company will start using OLED screens for iPhones starting in 2018 and is expected to order them from Samsung and LG.

Courtesy-Fud

Is Microsoft’s HaloLens Ready For The Consumer Market?

November 18, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

I had fun playing on Microsoft HoloLens this week.

That’s significant because the last time I went hands-on with the intriguing, expensive AR technology (at E3 2015) I was left palpably disappointed.

Part of that was because Kanye West had cut into the line and forced my group to wait an extra 30 minutes to play on it, but it was also because the restricted field of view meant that the ‘Halo experience’ (which is what we played) was underwhelming and only really worked well if we didn’t move our heads and stood exactly where we were meant to.

I could comfortably imagine how this device might work in the education, retail and manufacturing spaces, but it didn’t seem remotely suitable for video games. After playing HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, a piece of gaming technology where the illusion was ruined if I stood too close to an object just wasn’t good enough.

Microsoft seems to understands that. HoloLens, as it stands, is not a consumer product, it is not even a gaming device – not really. The demos we were shown at the firm’s Lift London studio last week mostly involved retail projects – the ability to dismantle a watch you might be buying, or to change the colours on a car you are interested in, or to make virtual changes to your kitchen. There were education uses, too, such as a nice demo where you can explore and analyse the human body. NASA has even invested in the tech so its engineers can wander around a virtual Mars Rover.

“It causes me great consternation every time HoloLens is shown at a gaming conference, because all journalists want to talk about is games.”

Leila Martine, Microsoft

It is here, in the commercial space, where HoloLens is most promising. We should all try to forget that Minecraft demo that over-excited the games business on stage at E3 2015.

“If you are in the gaming industry, it is things like E3 where you will have been exposed to this,” says Leila Martine, director of new device experiences in the UK.

“I am probably saying something out of turn, because I’m not sitting in the room when they’re making these decisions in Redmond, but I do know that it causes me great consternation every time they go to a gaming conference and they show HoloLens. Because when that happens, all that journalists want to talk about is games. I have Case Western University, which is one of these most phenomenal case studies [with its education product that teaches anatomy]. But they’ll get like 300,000 YouTube views, which is still great for a B2B scenario. But Minecraft… are you kidding me? Those views are in the bazillions.”

Martine says that games is ‘definitely a piece of the long-term vision’ for HoloLens, it’s just not there yet. However, Microsoft remains interested in attracting games studios. HoloLens utilises Unity technology, which means that video games developers are uniquely placed to build HoloLens applications – even if it’s not games that they end up making.

“We are definitely seeing games developers in demand,” says Martine. “Part of that is because Unity is a core way to be able to build on this right now. With their heritage in gaming and with the demand coming from these new places, it is a pretty hot place for these games developers to be. Then we are seeing who has the appetite to move outside of gaming and capture opportunities that are coming from, quite frankly, places they haven’t worked with before. It could be a power plant looking to visualise their plant, or training simulations for pilots or engineers. With the Unity capability, these opportunities are there for game makers.”

The HoloLens Minecraft demo at E3 2015 was viewed by millions

One of the key stumbling blocks for HoloLens right now, particularly for smaller independent games teams, is its price. HoloLens dev kits will set you back $3,000.

“Unlike some of the other ones that are out there on the market, you don’t need a high performance computer to go with it,” defends Martine. “Everything you need is right on that device. And that device is really unique in terms of it capabilities, and the team has done a tremendous amount to bring it to market in a very short amount of time.

“As we think about all the things that it can enable, there are a lot of companies right now that are going: “We need to be in this space”. This is not the final form factor, this is not a consumer device, there is much more on the roadmap, but right now, the focus is making sure that we’re getting it into the hands of people and doing stuff that isn’t trivial, but actually matters to companies… and we are seeing really good progress in that area.

“But this is not the end.”

Because we asked nicely, and promised not to tell people that HoloLens is anywhere close to being a consumer games product, Microsoft did let us try out one of its games it had experimented with.

The title in question was RoboRaid, which is a mixed reality demo where aliens drill through the walls in you room, and you have to shoot small flying robot invaders out of the sky. Over three levels, you’ll battle bosses, shoot around shields and dodge fireballs. It’s hardly a game that would inspire consumers to buy HoloLens, and it isn’t particularly dissimilar to the sort of experiences that you can find in VR. but it was definitely entertaining, it worked well within the device’s limitations and proved that maybe, one day, HoloLens might succeed in the world of video games.

Courtesy-GI.biz

Is Intel Preparing A New 6 Series SSD?

November 14, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-intel-6-ssdAccording to the latest leaked slide, Intel is working on the new performance-segment 610P series SSD based on TLC 3D NAND, M.2 2280 form-factor and PCIe NVMe interface.

Just like the currently available Intel 600P SSD series, the new Intel 610P SSD series will be based on TLC 3D NAND from IMFlash Technology, which is a joint-venture between Micron and Intel. 

As detailed in the slide leaked by Benchlife.info, the Intel 610P series will be available in 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities and use M.2 2280 form-factor with PCI-Express 3.0 x4 interface and support for NVMe protocol.

While no precise performance details were given, we expect a minor update since the 610P SSD series will co-exist with the currently available 600P SSD series.

In addition to the 610P SSD series, the same slide shows that Intel plans to introduce a BGA version of the 600P series which will be available in 128GB, 256GB and 512GB capacities and use the BGA M.2 1620 form-factor.

The new Intel 600P SSD series is expected in Q4 2017 while 600P series BGA will come a few months before that.

Courtesy-Fud

Adobe Releases Fixes For Flash Player, Adobe Connect

November 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

adobe-150x150Adobe Systems has rolled out scheduled security patches for its widely used Flash Player software as well as the Adobe Connect web conferencing platform, which is popular in enterprise environments.

The Flash Player security updates fix nine critical vulnerabilities that could be exploited remotely to execute malicious code on computers. All of them were privately reported by researchers through Trend Micro’s Zero Day Initiative, an exploit acquisition program.

Users should upgrade to Flash Player 23.0.0.207 for Windows and Mac and to Flash Player 11.2.202.644 for Linux. The Flash Player builds bundled with Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge and Internet Explorer 11 will be upgraded automatically through those browsers’ update mechanisms.

This Flash Player patch comes only two weeks after the company rushed out an emergency update to address a Flash vulnerability that attackers were already exploiting in the wild. Adobe typically releases patches on the second Tuesday of every month, to align them with Microsoft’s Patch Tuesday.

In addition to Flash Player, the company also released a patch for Adobe Connect on Windows. The newly released 9.5.7 version fixes an input validation vulnerability in the events registration module that could be exploited in cross-site scripting attacks.

Users who use Connect on Adobe’s hosted services don’t need to take any action as their accounts will be upgraded automatically.

 

Lenovo Adds Linux Compatibility To Yoga 900 And 900S

November 9, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

lenovo-900-s-150x150Lenovo received serious backlash when it said the Yoga 900 and 900S hybrids would work only with Windows, not Linux. The company has now changed its stance, bringing Linux support to those PCs.

The PC maker earlier this month issued a BIOS update so Linux can be loaded on Yoga 900, 900S and IdeaPad 710 models.

The BIOS update adds an AHCI (Advance Host Controller Interface) SATA controller mode so users can load Linux on the laptops.

This is a Linux-only BIOS, meaning it should be used only by those who want to load the OS. If you want to continue with Windows, do not load the firmware.

“This BIOS is not intended to be used on machines running Windows operating systems,” Lenovo said.

The PC maker is not providing support for the BIOS, and users have to assume any risks of system problems.

Lenovo didn’t immediately say if loading Linux would invalidate the warranty of the laptops. But in some cases loading another OS on laptop can break a limited warranty.

The BIOS was created at the request of users, Lenovo said. Most people use Windows, so many won’t load the BIOS. Locking out Linux from Windows 10 PCs, however, sparked a heated discussion on Reddit.

Lenovo earlier argued that the Yoga 900 and 900S, which can fold into a tablet, were tested for Windows 10 — particularly the touch functionality and even the hinges. For example, when the laptop is folded into a tablet, a sensor driver identifies the change and loads the tablet interface of Windows 10.

Lenovo also said that the Yoga’s unique design led Lenovo to use a storage controller mode not supported by Linux.

“Beyond the controller setup limitation, other advanced capabilities of the Yoga design would likely not work with current Linux offerings,” Lenovo said at the time.

Lenovo has a list of laptops it has certified for Linux, but the Yoga 900 and 900S still haven’t been added to that list.

Locking specific hardware to Windows has emerged as an issue in recent years. For example, Intel’s Kaby Lake chips support only Windows 10, and so will AMD’s upcoming Zen chips.

Microsoft also stoked user anger when it tried to limit the support period for PCs with Intel Skylake chips running Windows 7 and 8 — this was viewed as an attempt to force people to upgrade to Windows 10. Microsoft ultimately changed its plan, extending support.

If you decide to load the BIOS update and Linux on the Yoga 900 or 900S laptops, there’s a good chance you won’t get help with troubleshooting from Lenovo’s tech support personnel, who feel comfortable with Windows. Linux is much different from Windows, and requires some technical expertise to load and operate.

Another option is to buy Linux-based laptops with the latest Kaby Lake chips, like System76’s Lemur laptop, which starts at $699, or Dell’s XPS 13 Developer Edition, which starts at $949.

Microsoft Promises Smaller Windows 10 Feature Updates

November 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

windows-10-upgrades-150x150Microsoft has announced that it will  commit  to reducing the size of Windows 10 “feature updates,” the upgrades the company issues once or twice a year.

“One of the biggest community and customer benefits of UUP is the reduction you’ll see in download size on PCs,” said Bill Karagounis, director of program management, in a post to a company blog Friday.

UUP stands for “Unified Update Platform,” Microsoft’s name for its new update delivery technologies.

So far, all Windows 10 feature updates have been issued as full replacements — an OS re-install — with resulting downloads of 3GB to 4GB. That will continue with the next refresh, which last month Microsoft dubbed Creators Update, that is expected in March 2017.

The one after Creators Update, however, should be more than a third smaller, said Karagounis, because UUP will deliver only “differential” updates. “A differential download package contains only the changes that have been made since the last time you updated your device, rather than a full build,” Karagounis said.

Change-only updates are often called “delta” updates.

UUP will also shift some of the update evaluation process — deciding what a device requires, if anything — from the PC to Microsoft’s Windows Update service. “This will lead to faster checks for update operations,” Karagounis added.

Microsoft will begin using UUP to distribute new builds to Windows Insider participants’ PCs later this year, in line with the company’s practice of trying new technologies on the several million testers before offering them to the general Windows 10 population.

Although Microsoft has pledged to issue two Windows 10 feature updates in 2017, it has neither named nor scheduled the post-Creators update that will first use UUP.

Alienware Jumps In the VR World With The A New Notebook

November 7, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-alienwareAlienware has updated its 13-inch Alienware 13 notebook by equipping it with Nvidia’s Geforce GTX 1060 with 6GB of VRAM, making it both VR Ready and giving it a significant boost in graphics performance.

Starting at US $1,199.99, the Alienware 13 is built around a 13.3-inch screen and at this price, you’ll get 13.3-inch HD 1366×768 TN screen, Intel’s Skylake quad-core Core i5-6300HQ CPU clocked at 2.3GHz base and 3.2GHz Turbo, 8GB of RAM, 180GB M.2 SATA 6GBps SSD storage and Alienware HD+IR presence detection camera, which is a standard on all models, same as the GTX 1060 with 6GB of GDDR5 memory.

As was the case with most Alienware notebooks, the new Alienware 13 can be upgraded and taken over US $2,099.99 quite easily. The upgrade options include 13.3-inch FHD 1920×1080 IPS screen or high-end 13.3-inch QHD 2560×1440 OLED anti-glare touchscreen, Intel Core i7-6700HQ quad-core CPU, up to 32GB of DDR4 memory and up to 2TB of PCIe SSD storage  – 1TB for Boot and 1TB for storage.

Compared to its predecessor, the new Alienware 13 is both thinner (22mm) and lighter (2.6kg) and comes with the new Alienware TactX keyboard with 4-zone multi-color RGB AlienFX lighting. It also comes with a couple of USB 3.0 Type-A and Type-C ports as well as both Thunderbolt 3 port (USB Type-C) and dedicated Alienware Graphics Amplifier Port.

The new Alienware 13 is certainly an ultimate small gaming notebook that can be further beefed up with Alienware’s external graphics box, the Graphics Amplifier, but as always, such things come with a hefty price tag.

The  Alienware 13 is already available and you can check out basic offers as well as customize your own over at Alienware.com.

Courtesy-Fud

Are Tablet Sales Really Dropping?

November 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Despite what Steve Jobs and his minions in the Tame Apple Press told us, the tablet was not a game changer, and was simply yet another fashion fad which is now going the way of the dodo and the iPod.

According to figures from IDC, the global tablet market has been declining for eight straight quarters, has seen yet further reductions in this one.

Beancounters at IDC have added up some numbers and divided by their shoe size and reached the conclusion that the global tablet market saw a 14.7 percent year-over-year decline in Q3 2016. No major tablet vendor shipped 10 million or more units this past quarter – that includes Apple.

Only 43 million units combined were shipped in Q3 2016 as opposed to 50.5 million units during the same period last year. The figures include the detachable form factors as well which means that tablets with keyboards are also accounted for in these figures.

The sorts of tablets that Jobs told us would take over the world are now being propped up by things like the netbooks they replaced.

Apple retained its position as the top tablet vendor by shipping 9.3 million iPad units in the third quarter of this year. Samsung remains in second place with shipments of 6.5 million units. Both companies saw a year-over-year decline of 6.2 percent and 19.3 percent respectively.

It is the cut price and often subsidised tablets which are doing the best. Amazon demonstrated strong growth by shipping 3.1 million units compared to 0.8 million units during the same period last year, it has seen a YoY growth of 319.9 percent.

Lenovo and Huawei complete the top five with shipments of 2.7 million and 2.4 million units. The top five vendors accounted for 55.8 percent of the entire global tablet market in the third quarter of this year.

What amazes us is that no-one saw this coming. While Jobs was showing the first generation of its keyboard-less netbooks, we were saying that they did not have a killer app and were practically useless. Apple fanboys said we were wrong and the proof was how well they sold. This could have been true because they sold quite well initially and then they didn’t.

Courtesy-Fud

Mozilla’s Promises To Rejuvenate Firefox With Project Quantum

November 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

firefox-10-150x150Mozilla last week named its next-generation browser engine project and said it would implement the new technology in Firefox next year.

Dubbed Quantum, the new engine will include several components from Servo, the browser rendering engine that Mozilla has sponsored, and been working on, since 2013. Written with Rust, Servo was envisioned as a replacement for Firefox’s long-standing Gecko engine. Both Servo and Rust originated at Mozilla’s research group.

“Project Quantum is about developing a next-generation engine that will meet the demands of tomorrow’s web by taking full advantage of all the processing power in your modern devices,” said David Bryant, the head of Firefox engineering, in a piece published Thursday on Medium.

Mozilla plans to start with the existing Gecko engine, said Bryant, but replace the pieces that will most benefit from offloading chores to the graphics processor unit (GPU) or from splitting tasks among the multiple cores found in the bulk of today’s CPUs (central processing units). From Bryant’s description, Mozilla will start slowly, replacing a few Gecko components with ones from Servo at the start, then adapt and adopt others as Quantum progresses.

“Quantum is an ambitious project, but users won’t have to wait long to start seeing improvements roll out,” claimed Bryant. “We’re going to ship major improvements next year, and we’ll iterate from there.”

Bryant promised a very different Firefox, one that would be noticeably quicker to render pages and run web apps. “Pages will load faster, and scrolling will be silky smooth. Animations and interactive apps will respond instantly, and be able to handle more intensive content while holding consistent frame rates,” he wrote.

Mozilla has been working both sides of the browser street in its Firefox modernization: The rendering engine and the user interface/user experience (UI/UX). While Quantum is the former, a different project labeled Tofino unveiled in April was to come up with a next-generation UI/UX. The open-source developer hasn’t shared any Tofino updates since mid-July.

The Quantum-powered Firefox will eventually be released in versions for Windows, macOS, Linux and Android. iOS remains out of bounds because Apple requires that all rivals use the engine of its Safari browser.

BlackBerry Signs Deal With Ford To Expand QNX Operating System

November 1, 2016 by  
Filed under Around The Net

blackberry-logo-2-150x150BlackBerry Ltd has inked a deal to work directly with Ford Motor Co to expand the automaker’s use of its QNX secure operating system, the Canadian technology company announced, as Ford develops increasingly automated vehicles.

The deal with Ford is the first BlackBerry has done directly with a major automaker, though it currently sells its technology to auto industry suppliers.

The company is betting its future on expanding sales of software products, including to automakers and other manufacturers, after largely ceding the smartphone market to rivals including Apple Inc, Alphabet’s Google and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd.

Panasonic Automotive currently uses QNX software in the Sync 3 infotainment console that it supplies to Ford.

BlackBerry is hoping the new deal will expand use of BlackBerry’s software in Ford vehicles as the two companies identify other systems where it might be used.

“We can form the basis of the entire vehicle all the way from autonomous drive through to infotainment,” John Wall, the head of BlackBerry’s QNX unit, said in a phone interview.

Ford is ramping up its driverless vehicle efforts and plans to offer a fully automated vehicle for commercial ride-sharing in 2021, it announced in August.

QNX’s software is certified for use in autonomous driving and active safety systems, according to Wall.

“In the initial engagements you can think of an expansion into the cockpit; telematics, infotainment, cluster,” Wall said.

BlackBerry and Ford declined to say how QNX might be rolled out into new systems or discuss financial terms of the deal.

A dedicated team of QNX engineers based in Ottawa and Waterloo will work with Ford to expand the carmaker’s use of the Neutrino industrial operating system, as well as an overarching program that can control other operating systems and related security technology, BlackBerry said.

“We’re providing the plumbing for the vehicle that is both robust and safe and secure to allow the customers to build their applications on top of that,” Wall said.

Dan Dodge, who founded QNX in 1982, and stayed on after BlackBerry bought the company in 2010, left QNX at the end of 2015. Bloomberg reported in July that Apple hired him as part of its own self-driving plans.

Apple’s Mac Sales Slide Enters Fourth Straight Quarter

October 28, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

apple-bldg-150x150Apple announced that it sold 4.9 million Macs in the September quarter, a 14% year-over-year decline that extended the sales slump to four consecutive quarters.

The total was under most estimates made before Apple unloaded its numbers on Wall Street after the close of the market. Last week, research firms IDC and Gartner had pegged global Mac shipments at 5 and 4.95 million, respectively. This week, 28 financial analysts delivered forecasts that ranged from 4.65 million to 5.8 million; their average bet was a too-high 5.1 million.

Apple executives had little to say about the Mac’s contraction. CFO Luca Maestri contended that the quarter was a “difficult year-over-year compare,” referring to the record-setting 5.7 million Macs sold in the same period in 2015, but CEO Tim Cook mentioned the personal computer line only in passing.

Maestri also teased the previously-announced event Thursday that Apple will host at its California headquarters. “We’ll have some exciting news to share with current and future Mac owners very soon,” Maestri said.

The September quarter recorded the fourth straight Mac sales decline, equaling the stretch from late 2012 through most of 2013, when the Mac posted year-over-year reductions. Even so, the Mac of 2016 is in a stronger position than the line was in the 2013: Sales over the past four quarters reached 18.5 million. During the earlier slump, Apple sold 16.3 million personal computers.

 

Microsoft’s Cloud Business Continues To Be A Success Story

October 24, 2016 by  
Filed under Computing

microsoft-building-150x150Microsoft’s continued investment in the cloud paid dividends once again over the past quarter, as strong growth from Azure and Office 365 offset declines in the PC market.

The company announced on Thursday that its quarterly revenue for the three-month period ending in September was flat overall at $20.5 billion. The company’s net profit was down 4 percent year-over-year from $4.9 billion to $4.7 billion.

Those results were driven by quarterly revenue from the company’s Intelligent Cloud segment, which includes Azure and Windows Server, and its Productivity and Business Processes segment, which includes Office 365 and Dynamics. Intelligent Cloud revenue grew 8 percent year-over-year to $6.4 billion, while Productivity and Business Processes segment revenue grew 6 percent to $6.7 billion.

It’s another positive sign for the cloud-focused strategy that the company adopted under the leadership of CEO Satya Nadella.

Azure revenue grew by 116 percent year over year, and Microsoft revealed for the first time that its profit margin from its cloud platform is 49 percent. The company continues to keep the exact revenue and profit numbers from its public cloud platform under wraps, however.

Office 365 commercial revenue grew 51 percent year-over-year. Microsoft reported it now has more than 85 million commercial monthly active users of its cloud-based productivity suite as a service offering.

Surface sales were another bright spot for Microsoft. The company’s line of tablets and laptops brought in $926 million over the past quarter, compared to $672 million during the same period in 2015. Phone revenue continued to drag the company down for another quarter, however — revenue from that division dropped by 72 percent year-over-year.

Microsoft’s non-GAAP results of $22.3 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.76 a share blew past analyst expectations for the quarter. The consensus of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters was an expected $21.7 billion in revenue and earnings of $0.68 a share. Investors rejoiced at the news, sending the company’s stock to an all-time high above $60 per share, beating a previous high set in 1999.

 

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