AMD Misses Again

July 30, 2015 by admin  
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Fabless chipmaker AMD has come up with a mixed set of results for the second quarter. The company managed to make as much cash as the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street expected, but missed revenue expectations.

In fact its revenues were below the psychologically important billion figure at $942 million.

We knew it was going to be bad. Last week we were warned that the results would be flat. The actual figure was $942m, an 8.5 per cent sequential decline and a 34.6 per cent drop from the same period a year ago.

As you might expect, there are some measures of this not being AMD’s fault. The company is almost entirely dependent on PC sales. Not only have these fallen but don’t look like they are going to pick up for a while.

AMD’s Computing and Graphics division reported revenue of $379m, which was down 54.2 per cent, year-on-year. Its operating loss was $147m, compared to a $6m operating loss for last year’s quarter.

Lisa Su, AMD president and CEO, in a statement said that strong sequential revenue growth in AMD’s enterprise, embedded, and semi-custom segment and channel business was not enough to offset near-term problems in its PC processor business.  This was  due to lower than expected consumer demand that impacted sales to OEMs, she said.

“We continue to execute our long-term strategy while we navigate the current market environment. Our focus is on developing leadership computing and graphics products capable of driving profitable share growth across our target markets,” she added.

In the semi-custom segment, AMD makes chips for video game consoles such as the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles. That segment did reasonably well, up 13 percent from the previous quarter but down 8 percent from a year ago.

But AMD’s core business of processors and graphics chips fell 29 percent from the previous quarter and 54 percent from a year ago. AMD said it had decreased sales to manufacturers of laptop computers.

Figures like this strap a large target on AMD’s back with a sign saying “take me over” but AMD is not predicting total doom yet.

For the third quarter, AMD expects revenue to increase 6 percent, plus or minus 3 percent, sequentially, which is a fairly conservative outlook given the fact that Windows 10 is expected to push a few sales its way.

AMD supplies chips to the Nintendo Wii U, Microsoft Xbox One, and Sony PlayStation 4 consoles and these seem to be going rather well.

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Oculus Buys Pepple

July 27, 2015 by admin  
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Facebook’s Oculus unit announcd that it has agreed to acquire Israeli gesture recognition technology developer Pebbles Interfaces for an undisclosed amount.

The announcement was made in a blog posted by Oculus.

Israel’s Calcalist financial news website said the deal was worth tens of millions of dollars.

While other companies pioneering the virtual reality field focus on full-body movement, Pebbles’ technology detects and tracks hand movement. It is aimed primarily at gamers but also has applications for TV, computers, or smartphone operation while driving.

Recently Pebbles integrated its technology with Oculus glasses, which translate finger gestures into virtual movement through a camera mounted on the glass frame, Calcalist said.

Investors in Pebbles include Chinese mobile phone maker Xiaomi, Israeli venture capital fund Giza and U.S. storage firm SanDisk, Calcalist said.

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Will nVidia’s Quadro Debut In August?

July 14, 2015 by admin  
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Nvidia appears to be readying new members of its professional Quadro range of graphics cards in time for the August SIGGRAPH 2015 event.

According to VideoCardz the latest Nvidia graphics driver for the Quadro range of graphics cards includes a telltale text string revealing Nvidia’s dark satanic intension.
The new driver adds support for:

NVIDIA_DEV.13F0.1152.103C = “NVIDIA Quadro M5000″
NVIDIA_DEV.13F1.1153.103C = “NVIDIA Quadro M4000″
NVIDIA_DEV.13F2= “NVIDIA Tesla M60″

At the same time last year Nvidia revealed details of the Quadro Kxx2 and since SIGGRAPH 2015 scheduled to start on 9th August (runs until 13th Aug, takes place in downtown LA) it looks like the latest Quadro graphics cards will be also launched.

Of course driver strings do not reveal much detail however the Quadro professional graphics range will be based upon the Maxwell architecture GM204GL graphics processor. We are expecting a 256-bit GPU with a a 4GB or 8GB frame buffer versions.

Then there is the Tesla M60. This GPU based general purpose computing product is expected to be based upon a fully-fledged GM204 GPU with 8GB of GDDR5 memory.

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Will nVidia Drop Its Prices

July 10, 2015 by admin  
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Nvidia is about to release a range of price cuts in a bid to see off AMD in the longer term.

While the price cuts have already happened in the US, in the EU Nvidia’s GTX 980, GTX 980Ti and Titan X are still kept high  because people were buying them at the prices the Green Goblin was asking.

In the US where competition between AMD and Nvidia is tighter, the prices dropped by 10 per cent. Ironically since Europeans are more loyal to Nvidia in the high-end graphics cards market the outfit decided they could continue to pay.

According to Kitguru the new R9 Radeon 300 series appears to have upset the apple cart. The cards have been launched at similar prices or lower than Nvidia’s top tier products. Apparently Europeans were thinking of going cheaper since the Green Goblin did not seem to admire their loyalty.

It could force AMD to drop its prices as it can’t remain competitive selling top-end graphics at prices higher than Nvidia’s while having weak selling figures in non-US countries.

It will force AMD to sell its freshly launched Fury X at prices lower than planned, and for such a new card this move damage AMD. Nvidia was expected to drop prices of course, but only for its lower-end products like the 700 or 600 series.

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RedHat Goes PaaS With Linux

July 7, 2015 by admin  
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Red Hat has announced the release of OpenShift Enterprise (OSE) 3, a new version of its Platform-as-a-Service offering.

Based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL)7, Openshift is built on Docker Linux containers with Kubernetes orchestration using technology developed in collaboration with Google.

The news comes in a busy week for Red Hat, which has also announced a new productivity tie-up with Samsung and taken a leading role in the formation of a new alliance known as the Open Container Project to standardise containers.

Users will have access to a wide range of apps via the Red Hat Container Certification Programme. Middleware solutions including Red Hat JBoss Enterprise, Web Server (Tomcat) and JBoss A-MQ messaging are also included.

Included are a number of tools to help developers create and collaborate, with web, command line, and integrated development environment interfaces. Options include direct code-push from GIT and source to image building. There is also flexibility for deployment, rollback and integration.

In addition, a preview of Openshift Dedicated has been released. The public cloud service based on OpenShift 3 will succeed Openshift Online, which already hosts 2.5 million applications online, allowing businesses to quickly build, launch and deploy bespoke apps.

Ashesh Badani, vice president and general manager, OpenShift, Red Hat, said, “This release of OpenShift Enterprise 3 employs open source containers and orchestration practices to change the developer experience and move the platform in the direction of what customers are asking for – a flexible platform for a microservices architecture.

“Our continued upstream work in the Docker and Kubernetes communities enable us to deliver the most updated technology platform for developers and operators, enabling them to remain competitive through quicker innovation.”

To assist users, Red Hat is offering a range of enterprise administrator courses to teach users how to deploy, configure and manage the system, which can result in a Red Hat Certificate of Expertise in Platform as a Service – a worthy certificate for any office wall.

OpenShift 3 is available now with bespoke pricing models based of socket and core pairings.

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AMD’s Quantum Has Intel Inside

July 1, 2015 by admin  
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AMD’s Project Quantum PC system, with graphics powered by two of the new Fiji GPUs may have got the pundits moist but it has been discovered that the beast has Intel inside

KitGuru confirmed that the powerful tiny system, as shown at AMD’s own event, was based upon an Asrock Z97E-ITX/ac motherboard with an Intel Core i7-4790K ‘Devil’s Canyon’ processor.

Now AMD has made a statement to explain why it chose to employ a CPU from one of its competitor in what is a flagship pioneering gaming PC.

It told Tom’s Hardware that users wanted the Devil’s Canyon chip in the Project Quantum machine.

Customers “want to pick and choose the balance of components that they want,” and the machine shown off at the E3  was considered to be the height of tech sexiness right now.

AMD said Quantum PCs will feature both AMD and Intel CPUs to address the entire market, but did you see that nice Radeon Fury… think about that right now.

IT is going to be ages before we see the first Project Quantum PCs will be released and the CPU options might change. We would have thought that AMD might want to put its FinFET process ZEN CPUs in Project Quantum with up to 16 cores and 32 threads. We will not see that until next year.

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Is AMD Splitting Up

June 30, 2015 by admin  
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AMD has denied rumors that it will split up its business in a bid to rival chip giant Intel.

Sources close to AMD said that the company is planning to divide into two, or spin off certain parts of the business, in order to make it a stronger force in the chip industry.

Three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that AMD is at the initial stage of reviewing, and has asked a consulting firm about its options in trying to turn the company around. The sources said that the deliberations are preliminary and that no decision has been made.

Apparently, one of the options under consideration is separating AMD’s graphics and licensing business from its server business, which sells processors that power data centres.

However, AMD has since denied such speculation. “While we normally would not comment on such a matter, we can share that we have no such project in the works at this time,” a company spokesperson said.

“We remain committed to the long-term strategy we laid out for the company in May at our Financial Analyst Day.”

If the rumours happen to be true, though, and AMD does split its company into two, it would make it the second major technology firm to do so in the past year.

PC maker HP confirmed in October that it would tear itself in half, making two new publicly traded Fortune 50 companies. The decision was down to the firm wanting to focus on the faster growing side of the business.

HP’s split is expected to be completed by the end of this year. HP’s enterprise technology infrastructure, software and services businesses will do business as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and the firm’s market-leading personal systems and printing businesses will operate as HP Inc and retain the current logo.

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Is The Chip Market On The Rebound

June 26, 2015 by admin  
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Don’t let anyone fool you, the chipmarket is still not doing that well and there are a few problems to be sorted out before real money will be made.

FC Tseng, vice chairman for foundry VIS said that handset makers have too much inventory in their warehouses and the much hyped IoT market boom has not yet arrived.

In fact it is looking like 2015 will not be as good as 2014, which was pretty good at least as far as VIS was concerned.

Semiconductor demand for IoT applications will emerge, but no one has really worked out what the key drivers of IoT market growth will be, Tseng said.

Smartphones, devices such as watches, bracelets and glasses are all being identified as the popular applications when it comes to wearables and the Internet of Things.

VIS forecast that the global 2015 semiconductor market will increase 5 per cent in production value to $358 bn, while the foundry sector will grow by a larger 10 per cent on year to about S$50 bn.

VIS chairman and president Leuh Fang warned that the company has seen a low visibility of customer orders for the third quarter of 2015.

VIS reported record revenues and profits for 2014 and has been spending on capital expenditure like a mad thing in 2015.

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Is Samsung The King Of LTE?

June 24, 2015 by admin  
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Samsung Electronics has told the world that owns the largest number of patent rights essential for long-term evolution (LTE) technology in the world.

Writing in its official blog “Samsung Tomorrow” that it has more than 3,600 standard essential patents (SEP) for the LTE and LTE-Advanced (LTE-A) technology. That is 17 percent of all LTE-related SEPs.

We guess this means that if someone buys an LTE phone more than 17 per cent of the money which goes to buy patents should end up in Samsung’s bank account.

Samsung Electronics Digital Media & Communication Laboratory’s intellectual property application team head Lee Heung-mo said Samsung Electronics has established a solid foothold as the global leader and the first mover in the fourth-generation mobile telecom market.

“This also means that the company has become able to provide more convenience to customers by developing the latest technologies.”

The Taiwanese patent office conducted market research for the nation’s state-run National Applied Research Laboratory based on about 6,000 patent rights listed at the Patent and Trademark Office in the United States during the last two years.

LG Electronics and Qualcomm followed Samsung Electronics in second place with 14 percent of SEPs, each. Ericsson, Panasonic, Nokia and NTT DoCoMo hold the third spot with 5 percent, each.

Pantech, the nation’s third-largest handset maker which currently faces bankruptcy, held only one percent, while Korea’s state-run Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute owned less than 1 percent, the report showed.

During the patent dispute with Apple, the U.S. International Trade Commission said Apple had infringed on Samsung Electronics’ SEPs though they had to be shared under a “fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory” principle.

Samsung Electronics said it has pushed for securing the SEPs in this sector during the last 18 years and has competed with global telecom giants including Qualcomm, Nokia and Ericsson as a relative latecomer. It said securing leadership in SEPs may change the crisis of facing patent disputes to diversifying income sources.

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MediaTek Debuts Contactless Heart Rate Monitor

June 17, 2015 by admin  
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While MediaTek might be known for its multi-core smartphone processors, the firm was very keen to show off its more adventurous side at Computex 2015.

With a booth almost entirely dedicated to the latest and greatest from its new Labs division, which aims to bring the latest innovations from developers to market, MediaTek offered something a little more unexpected compared to previous years.

Launched in autumn last year, MediaTek Labs is a worldwide initiative to help developers of any background or skill level to create and market wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

With the firm’s LinkIt Development Platform, based on the MediaTek Aster (MT2502) chipset, sitting at its core, the Labs programme provides developers, makers and service providers with both software and hardware development kits, technical documentation and business support.

Here’s a few of our favourite innovations showed off at Computex, based on either the LinkIt One platform, or the firm’s fresh Helio P10 smartphone family of SoCs.

Heart rate monitoring smartphone camera
This “contactless heartrate monitoring” technology is powered by the firm’s Visual Processing Application in its latest P10 smartphone SoC.

It makes use of a smartphone’s video camera to take a heart rate reading via the front-facing camera by stripping down the layers of the image taken by the camera in real-time to detect the pulse in a user’s temple.

We were rather dubious about how well this might work, so gave it a go. While it took a good few seconds to match up, you can see from the photo that it is almost as accurate as the portable ECG monitoring device we had clipped on our finger. Impressive stuff.

Wine brewer
Winning first prize in the ITRI Mobilehero competition in Taiwan last year, this nifty IoT wine brewing device was developed by a local start-up called Alchema.

It consists of five sensors thatmonitor the alcohol content and the brewing environment. The results we tasted were, shall we say, interesting, if a little on the sharp side.

Alchema looking to raise more funds on Kickstarter before the end of the year.

Another LinkIt-powered device MediaTek showed off at Computex was a wearable aimed for the elderly. Using Bluetooth and accelerometer sensors, the wristband tracker detects the users’ wrist motions and raises an alarm, alerting those that are linked to the watch via a smartphone app if their elderly family member, loved one or friend’s device has detected a sudden movement that could resemble a fall or accident.

Sitting at the more mature end of the LinkIt developer platform spectrum, but still less than a year old, is an electric-scooter rental company called Skuro Moto. We spoke to its chief executive Frank Chen, who is running the company at the tender age of 24 after developing the idea while at university.

Skuro works with electric-vehicle maker Ahamani EV Technology to provide a rental service at Yuan Ze University in Taiwan. The bikes reduce costs for riders by about 30 percent thanks to a monitoring system enabled by the LinkIt chip that lets riders see their power usage. They can also be started by a swipe of a student identity card, to save the trouble of lost keys.

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