As in-vehicle electronics become more sophisticated to support autonomous driving, cameras, and infotainment systems, Ethernet has become a top contender for connecting them.
For example, the BMW X5 automobile, released last year, used single-pair twisted wire, 100Mbps Ethernet to connect its driver-assistance cameras.
Paris-based Parrot, which supplies mobile accessories to automakers BMW, Hyundai and others, has developed in-car Ethernet. Its first Ethernet-connected systems could hit the market as soon as 2015, says Eric Riyahi, executive vice president of global operations.
Parrot’s new Ethernet-based Audio Video Bridging (AVB) technology uses Broadcom’s BroadR-Reach automotive Ethernet controller chips.
The AVB technology’s network management capabilities allows automakers to control the timing of data streams between specific network nodes in a vehicle and controls the bandwidth in order to manage competing data traffic.
Ethernet’s greater bandwidth could provide drivers with turn-by-turn navigation while a front-seat passenger streams music from the Internet, and each back-seat passenger watches streaming videos on separate displays.
“In-car Ethernet is seen as a very promising way to provide the needed bandwidth for coming new applications within the fields of connectivity, infotainment and safety,” said Hans Alminger, senior manager for Diagnostics & ECU Platform at Volvo, in a statement.
Ethernet was initially used by automakers only for on-board diagnostics. But as automotive electronics advanced, the technology has found a place in advanced driver assistance systems and infotainment platforms.
Many manufacturers also use Ethernet to connect rear vision cameras to a car’s infotainment or safety system, said Patrick Popp, chief technology officer of Automotive at TE Connectivity, a maker of car antennas and other automobile communications parts.
Currently, however, there are as many as nine proprietary auto networking specifications, including LIN, CAN/CAN-FD, MOST and FlexRay. FlexRay, for example, has a 10Mbps transmission rate. Ethernet could increase that 10 fold or more.
The effort to create a single vehicle Ethernet standard is being lead by Open Alliance and the IEEE 802.3 working group. The groups are working to establish 100Mbps and 1Gbps Ethernet as de facto standards.
The first automotive Ethernet standard draft is expected this year.
The Open Alliance claims more than 200 members, including General Motors, Ford, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen. Jaguar Land Rover, Renault, Volvo, Bosch, Freescale and Harman.
Broadcom, which makes electronic control unit chips for automobiles, is a member of the Open Alliance and is working on the effort to standardize automotive Ethernet.
The little known firm said the proposal for Barnes & Noble as a whole would be for $22 per share, which would value the top U.S. bookstore chain at $1.32 billion. It comes after earlier proposal in November for $20 per share, its second.
G Asset, which not did detail how it would finance a deal, also made an alternative offer to buy Nook for $5 per share, saying spinning off the digital books and device business would create “substantial shareholder value.”
The latest offer for the whole company would value Barnes & Noble at $1.32 billion, while the proposal for Nook would value that unit at about $300 million.
The firm has previously pressed the company to spin off its Nook unit from Barnes & Noble’s bookstore and college units.
Michael Glickstein, G Asset’s Chief Investment Officer, and the only person listed on the firm’s website, did not immediately return a request for comment.
Barnes & Noble shares were up 5.8 percent at $17.75 in afternoon trading after going as high as $19.12 after the news was released, suggesting Wall Street analysts were doubtful a deal would get done.
A Barnes & Noble spokeswoman declined to comment beyond confirming that the company had received G Asset’s offer.
The original Nook device was launched in 2009 to help Barnes & Noble fend off Amazon.com Inc and allowed the retailer to win as much as 27 percent of the U.S. e-books market.
But the company lost hundreds of millions of dollars trying to keep pace with deep-pocketed rivals such as Amazon, Apple Inc and Google Inc. It has scaled back its Nook business and focusing more on content and software.
Two years ago, Microsoft Corp invested $300 million in the Nook unit for a 17.6 percent stake, valuing the division at $1.7 billion. In late 2012, Pearson PLC took a 5 percent stake in Nook for $89.5 million.
Mark Zuckerberg launched “Thefacebook” from his dorm room at Harvard University on Feb. 4, 2004. The site was conceived as a way to connect students, and let them build an online identity for themselves.
It has since expanded to cover a large swath of the planet, with more than 1.2 billion people — one-seventh of the world’s population — using its site on a monthly basis, according to the company’s own recent figures.
Zuckerberg reflected on the 10-year milestone at an industry conference in Silicon Valley this week. Not surprisingly, at the start he never envisioned Facebook becoming so large or influential. After launching the initial version, “it was awesome to have this utility and community at our school,” he said at the Open Compute Project Summit.
He figured at the time that someone, someday would build such a site for the world. “It didn’t even occur to me that it could be us,” he said.
Since then, Facebook’s site and its business, now a public company, have changed dramatically. There are now more than a trillion status updates, text posts and other pieces of content stored within its walls — the company is trying to index them as part of its Graph Search search engine.
The company was slow to react to the important mobile market, and when it went public in 2012 investors were skeptical it would be able to monetize its service on smaller screens. But this week it reported that more than half its ad revenue now comes from mobile devices.
All the while, Facebook is making its ad business smarter, using targeting tools to show ads it deems most relevant.
The company is also experimenting with new ways to present content. Next week it will release Paper, an iPhone app that provides a new way to share photos and published articles.
It’s part of a larger effort Facebook hinted at this week to release a variety of standalone apps for different tasks.
The company is also trying to bring the Internet to more people in the world, an effort that’s part philanthropy and part business sense as Facebook aims to reach its next billion users. Asked this week why he launched the project, called Internet.org, Zuckerberg suggested he feels a weight of responsibility.
“There aren’t that many companies in the world that have the resources and the reach that Facebook has at this point,” he said.
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.
Dropbox suffered a major outage over the weekend.
In one of the more bizarre recent incidents, after the service went down on Friday evening a group of hackers claimed to have infiltrated the service and compromised its servers.
However, on the Dropbox blog, Dropbox VP of engineering Ardita Ardwarl told users that hackers were not to blame.
Ardwari said, “On Friday evening we began a routine server upgrade. Unfortunately, a bug installed this upgrade on several active servers, which brought down the entire service. Your files were always safe, and despite some reports, no hacking or DDOS attack was involved.”
The fault occurred when a bug in an upgrade script caused an operating system upgrade to be triggered on several live machines, rendering them inoperative. Although the fault was rectified in three hours, the knock-on effects led to problems that lasted through the weekend for some users.
Dropbox has assured users that there are no further problems and that all users should now be back online. It said that at no point were files in danger, adding that the affected machines didn’t host any user data. In other words, the “hackers” weren’t hackers at all, but attention seeking trolls.
Dropbox claims to have over 200 million users, many of which it has acquired through strategic partnerships with device manufacturers offering free storage with purchases.
The company is looking forward to an initial public offering (IPO) on the stock market, so the timing of such a major outage could not be worse. Dropbox, which includes Bono and The Edge from U2 amongst its investors, has recently enhanced its business offering to appeal to enterprise clients, and such a loss of uptime could affect its ability to attract customers.
Even if it means that it will be the first to make ARM’s 64-bit chips, Intel said that it wants to expand its contract foundry work. Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said he would expand his company’s small contract manufacturing business, paving the way for more chipmakers to tap into the world’s most advanced process technology.
Krzanich told analysts that he planned to step up the company’s foundry work, effectively giving Intel’s process technology to its rivals. He said that company’s who can use Intel’s leading edge and build computing capabilities that are better than anyone else’s, are good candidates for foundry service. Krzanich added that the slumping personal computer industry, Intel’s core market, was showing signs of bottoming out.
Intel also unveiled two upcoming mobile chips from its Atom line designed interchange features to create different versions of the component. A high-end version of the new chip, code named Broxton, and is due out in mid-2015. SoFIA, a low-end chip was shown as an example of Intel’s pragmatism and willingness to change how it does business. Krzanich said that in the interest of speed, SoFIA would be manufactured outside of Intel, with the goal of bringing it to market next year.
Intel will move production of SoFIA chips to its own 14 nanometer manufacturing lines, Krzanich added.
Intel has acquired educational software developer Kno to add to its Education division.
Speaking in the company blog, Intel Sales and Marketing Group VP John Galvin explained that in a world where kids are being bombarded by technology, Intel Education has a mission to support the rollout of technology in the classroom.
Galvin said, “The Kno platform provides administrators and teachers with the tools they need to easily assign, manage and monitor their digital learning content and assessments.”
This acquisition brings Intel’s global digital content library to over 225,000 [higher education] and K-12 titles from 74 education publishers. “We’re looking forward to combining our expertise with Kno’s rich content so that together, we can help teachers create classroom environments and personalized learning experiences that lead to student success,” Galvin added.
Intel Education has been working for the past decade with over 10 million teachers that it has assisted to integrate technology with education.
In the UK alone there have been tremendous strides in educational software over the past 30 years, dating back to the government pledge to provide a computer in every school, which led to the creation of the BBC Microcomputer designed specifically for that purpose.
Today, not only is ICT a dedicated lesson in its own right, but it forms one of the key skills that educators are expected to incorporate into all lesson plans, putting it on a par with English and Maths, showing just how far we’ve come from making Venn diagrams with ascii art.
Samsung and Intel announced on Tuesday that the open source Tizen operating system now has 36 partners, including eBay, Trend Micro and Panasonic.
The full list of new partners was announced at the Tizen Developer Summit, and includes a mix of firms from different sectors. Among the 36 backers are eBay, Nokia’s Here mapping service, Konami, McAfee, Panasonic, Sharp and The Weather Channel, giving us some insights as to what software applications are likely to appear on the Linux based operating system.
Trevor Cornwell, founder and CEO of Appbackr, one of Tizen’s newly added partners, said that his firm found the operating system appealing due to its open nature, perhaps hinting that it is more open than Google’s Android mobile operating system.
He said, “The Tizen OS promises to be the most open and comprehensive software platform available for those companies wishing to target the consumers of connected devices.
“The Association’s commitment to support HTML5 applications, combined with their vision that extends beyond the smartphone and tablet ecosystem to a wider array of other connected device segments, makes it attractive to all types of companies. We look forward to collaborating with the Tizen Association to ensure that all stakeholders can contribute to the development of a platform for this growing market opportunity.”
It’s still unclear when Samsung’s first Tizen powered smartphone will make it to market, but online speculation suggests we’ll be seeing the firm’s debut Android challenging smartphone at some point in 2014.
Further speculation suggests that Samsung’s first Tizen phone will be an updated version of the Galaxy S4, possibly to reduce its reliance on Android.
The tradition continues. Our sources are confirming that Nvidia’s Logan SoC, possibly called Tegra 5, doesn’t come with an integrated LTE modem. Just like Apple, Nvidia makes a big fast chip with impressive Kepler based GPU, but it won’t put a an icera LTE solution inside the same chip.
Icera i500 is Tegra 5 compatible and it has AT&T certification. As the launch draws near, it should become compatible with other US and international LTE carriers like Verizon and T-mobile.
This should not be a big issue for Nvidia’s target market, manufacturers will have to choose two chips instead of one, a clear competitive disadvantage compared to future Qualcomm chips with Adreno 400 graphics and updated CPU cores, expected in early 2014.
During Nvidia’s recent conference call, CEO Jen Hsun Huang said devices based on the new Tegra 4i with integrated LTE should be announced in Q1 and ship no later than Q2. Jensen also mentioned that people are going to be “delighted by the OEM that it comes from” which is probably his way of of announcing some big brand design wins, but he also emphasised that the designs will be global rather than US. For US success you need CDMA Jensen said, but as far as we know Verizon is the only company using it.
Since Apple can pull of two chip designs from day one, we can only assume that two chip approach won’t cost much battery life compared to single chip design that has LTE on board (Snapdragon 600 and 800 ed. ). However, Nvidia is likely going to be making bets on its Kepler based GPU, expected to be the fastest graphics core ever integrated in a mobile SoC that will rock tablets and some phones around the world. The fact that Logan is likely to pack very powerful graphics sans on-die LTE makes it a bit more interesting for tablets than phones, which is exactly what we saw with the Tegra 4.
We expect to see Tegra 5 devices announced at CES 2014 so early January and with some luck we might see them shipping very early in 2014.
Amazon Elastic Transcoder was developed to offer an easy and low-cost way to convert media files from their source format into versions that will play on devices like smartphones, tablets and PCs.
The new feature lets anyone use Amazon Elastic Transcoder to convert audio-only content like music or podcasts from one format to another. Users can also strip out the audio tracks from video files and create audio-only streams. An option that, for example, can be used to create podcasts from video originals that are compatible with iOS applications that require an audio-only HTTP Live Streaming (HLS) file set, Amazon said.
The output from Elastic Transcoder is two-channel AAC, MP3 or Vorbis. Metadata like track name, artist, genre and album art is included in the output file and users can also specify replacement or additional album art.
Users of the service pay for the length of their converted content. For audio-only transcoding, prices start at $0.0045 per minute. That compares to the video version, which costs from $0.015 per minute for standard definition content and $0.03 per minute for high-definition clips, according to Amazon’s website.
For users who want to try out the service, the AWS Free Tier offers up to 20 minutes of free audio output per month. The service was announced for video in January and is still tagged as a beta.