Shortly after cancelling two generations of Atom mobile chips, Intel putting its weight behind future low-power mobile technologies with a new research collaboration with a French atomic energy lab.
Fundamental research leading towards faster wireless networks, secure low-power technologies for the Internet of Things, and even 3D displays will be the focus of Intel’s collaboration with the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA).
Intel and the CEA already work together in the field of high-performance computing, and a new agreement signed Thursday will see Intel fund work at the CEA’s Laboratory for Electronics and Information Technology (LETI) over the next five years, according to Rajeeb Hazra, vice president of Intel’s data center group.
The CEA was founded in 1945 to develop civil and military uses of nuclear power. Its work with Intel began soon after it ceased its atmospheric and underground nuclear weapons test programs, as it turned to computer modeling to continue its weapons research, CEA managing director Daniel Verwaerde said Thursday.
That effort continues, but the organization’s research interests today are more wide-ranging, encompassing materials science, climate, health, renewable energy, security and electronics.
These last two areas will be at the heart of the new research collaboration, which will see scientists at LETI exchanging information with those at Intel.
Both parties dodged questions about who will have the commercial rights to the fruits of their research, but each said it had protected its rights. The deal took a year to negotiate.
“It’s a balanced agreement,” said Stéphane Siebert, director of CEA Technology, the division of which LETI is a part.
Who owns what from the five-year research collaboration may become a thorny issue, for French taxpayers and Intel shareholders alike, as it will be many years before it becomes clear which technologies or patents are important.
Hazra emphasized the extent to which Intel is dependent on researchers outside the U.S. The company has over 50 laboratories in Europe, four of them specifically pursuing so-called exa-scale computing, systems capable of billions of billions of calculations per second.
Apple’s partner in crime, TSMC has begun to tape out the design for Apple’s A11 processor built on a 10nm FinFET process.
Digitimes’ deep throats claimed TSMC is expected to achieve certification on its 10nm process in the fourth quarter of 2016, and deliver product samples to the customer for validation in the first quarter of 2017.
This means that TSMC could begin small-volume production for Apple’s A11 chips as early as the second quarter of 2017 and building the chips will likely start to generate revenues at TSMC in the third quarter. The A11-series processor will power the iPhone models slated for launch in the second half of 2017.
TSMC is expected to get two-thirds of the overall A11 chip orders from Apple.
The company is officially refusing to comment on Digitimes’ story, but it does fit into what we have already been told about Jobs’ Mob’s plans for next year.
It is looking incredibly unlikely that mobile phone use is giving anyone cancer. A long term study into the incidence of brain cancer in the Australian population between 1982 to 2013 shows no marked increase.
The study, summarized on the Conversation site looked at the prevalence of mobile phones among the population against brain cancer rates, using data from national cancer registration.
The results showed a very slight increase in brain cancer rates among males, but a stable level among females. There were significant increases in over-70s, but this problem started before 1982.
The figures should have even been higher as Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and related techniques, introduced in Australia in the late 1970s can spot brain tumors which could have otherwise remained undiagnosed.
The data matches up with other studies conducted in other countries, but in Australia all diagnosed cases of cancer have to be legally registered and this creates consistent data.
The argument that mobile phones cause cancer has been running ever since the phones first arrived. In fact the radiation levels on phones has dropped significantly over the years, just to be safe rather than sorry. However it looks like phones have had little impact on cancer statistics – at least in Australia.
Online entertainment company Rovi plans to purchase digital video recording firm TiVo for $1.1 billion in a stock and cash deal, the companies announced on Friday.
TiVo has cloud-based technology for integrating live, recorded, on-demand and Internet television into one user interface, with search, discovery, viewing and recording options from a variety of devices. Its technology has been deployed by operators including Virgin Media and Vodafone Spain.
Rovi announced in March that Sharp’s new Aquos TVs would include its G-Guide electronic programming guide.
The combined company is forecast to have more than $800 million in revenue in the current year. More than 10 million TiVo-served households are expected to be added to the current base of about 18 million homes that use Rovi guides. The new entity will serve nearly 500 service providers worldwide, the companies said.
The deal between Rovi and TiVo, besides creating a large media and entertainment technology company with complementary products and services, will also lead to the setting up of a company with a worldwide portfolio of more than 6,000 issued patents and pending applications worldwide.
The two companies have a strong licensing business and have also sued key players like Comcast for patent infringement in the past. The companies said they have more than $3 billion in combined IP licensing revenue and past damage awards.
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter and the combined company will use the TiVo name. Tom Carson, CEO of Rovi will be the chief executive of the new company.
Comments Off on Did Researchers Create Lifetime Batteries?
Researchers at the University of California at Irvine (UCI) have accidentally – yes, accidentally – discovered a nanowire-based technology that could lead to batteries that can be charged hundreds of thousands of times.
Mya Le Thai, a PhD candidate at the university, explained in a paper published this week that she and her colleagues used nanowires, a material that is several thousand times thinner than a human hair, extremely conductive and has a surface area large enough to support the storage and transfer of electrons.
Nanowires are extremely fragile and don’t usually hold up well to repeated discharging and recharging, or cycling. They expand and grow brittle in a typical lithium-ion battery, but Le Thai’s team fixed this by coating a gold nanowire in a manganese dioxide shell and then placing it in a Plexiglas-like gel to improve its reliability. All by accident.
The breakthrough could lead to laptop, smartphone and tablet batteries that last forever.
Reginald Penner, chairman of UCI’s chemistry department, said: “Mya was playing around and she coated this whole thing with a very thin gel layer and started to cycle it.
“She discovered that just by using this gel she could cycle it hundreds of thousands of times without losing any capacity. That was crazy, because these things typically die in dramatic fashion after 5,000 or 6,000 or 7,000 cycles at most.”
The battery-like structure was tested more than 200,000 times over a three-month span, and the researchers reported no loss of capacity or power.
“The coated electrode holds its shape much better, making it a more reliable option,” Thai said. “This research proves that a nanowire-based battery electrode can have a long lifetime and that we can make these kinds of batteries a reality.”
The breakthrough also paves the way for commercial batteries that could last a lifetime in appliances, cars and spacecraft.
British fuel-cell maker Intelligent Energy Holdings announced earlier this year that it is working on a smartphone battery that will need to be charged only once a week.
Did Researchers Create Batteries That A Lifetime? : :: TheGuruReview.net ::
Our well-placed industry sources have told us that we should not expect to see the HMB 2.0 based GPUs shipping anytime soon. Nvidia Pascal and AMD Polaris 10 / 11 will stick with GDDR5 memory for the time being.
The 2nd generation High Bandwidth Memory (HBM 2.0) for high-end GPUs might happen in very late Q4 2016 but realistically it probably won’t ship until 2017 in any volume.
The first card that we expect supporting this feature might be the Greenland, a card that AMD might end up calling Vega. Even according Radeon Technology Group’s official GPU roadmap, Vega / Greenland now look like a 2017 product, or at very best, late 2016 card. Nvidia might make the HBM 2.0 version of the Titan card, but we don’t expect to see a Geforce GTX based on Pascal GPU and HBM 2.0 coming to the market this year.
We managed to talk to some of the memory manufactures and they told us that HBM 2.0 is very limited in supply, and limited supply makes things expensive.
It seems that GPUs of 2016, including the new AMD Polaris and the new Geforce, will be stuck with GDDR5 and in best case scenario with GDDR5X from Micron. The word on the street is that both Geforce GTX based on Pascal and AMD/RTG’s Polaris 10 / Ellesmere and Polaris 11 / Baffin might launch at Computex during last days of May or early June 2016.
On Thursday Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company announced an 18 percent quarterly revenue decline for Q1 2016 from the same timeframe a year ago in Q1 2015. The chip manufacturing giant also announced Q1 2016 net profit of $2 billion USD ($64.78 billion TWD), representing an 8.3 percent quarterly profit decline from the same timeframe a year ago in Q1 2015.
For TSMC, Q1 2016 was marked by a reduction of demand for high-end smartphones, while smartphone demand in China and emerging markets had upward momentum. Beginning Q2 2016 and onward, the company expect to get back onto a growth trajectory and is projected to hit a 5 to 10 percent growth rate in 2016.
“Our 10-nanometer technology development is on track,” said company president and co-CEO Mark Liu during the company’s Q4 2015 earnings call. “We are currently in intensive yield learning mode in our technology development. Our 256-megabit SRAM is yielding well. We expect to complete process and product qualification and begin customer product tape-outs this quarter.”
“Our 7-nanometer technology development progress is on schedule as well. TSMC’s 7 nanometer technology development leverage our 10-nanometer development very effectively. At the same time, TSMC’s 7-nanometer offers a substantial density improvement, performance improvement and power reduction from 10-nanometer.
These two technologies, 10-nanometer and 7-nanometer, will cover a very wide range of applications, including application processors for smartphone, high-end networking, advanced graphics, field-programmable gate arrays, game consoles, wearables and other consumer products.”
In Q1 2016, TSMC reached a gross margin of 44.9 percent, an operating margin of 34.6 percent and a net profit margin of 31.8 percent respectively. Going forward into Q2 2016, the company is expecting revenue between ~$6.65 billion and ~$6.74 billion USD, gross margins between 49 and 51 percent, and operating profit margins between 38.5 and 40.5 percent, respectively.
Chips used for communications and industrial uses represented over 80 percent of TSMC’s revenue in FY 2015. The company was also able to improve its margins by increasing 16-nanometer production, and like many other semiconductor companies, is preparing for an expected upswing sometime in 2017.
In February, a 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck southern Taiwan where TSMC’s 12-inch Fab 14 is located, a current site of 16-nanometer production. The company expected to have a manufacturing impact above 1 percent in the region with a slight reduction in wafer shipments for the quarter.
“Although the February 6 earthquake caused some delay in wafer shipments in the first quarter, we saw business upside resulting from demand increases in mid- and low-end smartphone segments and customer inventory restocking,” said Lora Ho, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of TSMC.
“We expect our business in the second quarter will benefit from continued inventory restocking and recovery of the delayed shipments from the earthquake.”
In fiscal year 2016, the company will spend between $9 and $10 billion on ramping up the 16-nanometer process node, constructing Fab 15 for 12-inch wafers in Nanjing, China, and beginning commercial production of the 10-nanometer FinFET process at this new facility. Samsung and Intel are also expected to start mass production of 10-nanometer products by the end of 2016.
During its Q4 2015 earnings call, company president and co-CEO Mark Liu stated the company is currently preparing and working on a 7-nanometer process node and plans to begin volume production sometime in 2018. Meanwhile, since January 2015, a separate research and development team at TSMC has been laying the groundwork for a 5-nanometer process which the company expects to bring into commercial production sometime in 1H 2020.
So far in Q1 2016, shipments of 16 and 20-nanometer wafers have accounted for around 23 percent of the company’s total wafer revenues.
Comments Off on Is Tesla Poaching nVidia’s Engineers?
Tesla Motors,’ which has been poaching engineers from Apple and AMD, could be causing a few headaches for Nvidia.
MKM analyst Ian Ing pointed out that Nvidia and Tesla have partnered in machine-learning which is the key to autonomous driving. Nvidia’s own automotive segment grew 80 per cent to $320 million in revenue.
It had been known that Tesla is swiping Apple and AMD engineers, but the difficulty is that it also needs staff from its old chum Nvidia. Ing said that Apple and AMD staff are not as steeped in graphics processing units and machine learning as Nvidia’s staff.
“Although there are widely reportedly headlines that Tesla has been hiring chip architects from Apple and AMD, we note that expertise has been focused more on multi-purpose application processors vs. the GPU accelerators necessary for machine learning,” Ing wrote.
This could either pressure Nvidia to work more closely with Tesla, or it too might lose staff to the carmarker. However that might be a small headache for Nvidia which is doing obscenely well, according to Ing. He is suggesting everyone should buy Nvidia shares.
Comments Off on iPhone SE Goes With Qualcomm Inside
Contrary to our previous reports we got a tip that iPhone SE will continue using Qualcomm modems and not change to Intel.
The tear downs will start happening soon but our sources very close to the matter said with high certainly that all iPhone SE come with an updated Qualcomm modem.
Intel is still in the run but apparently Apple still felt confident to continue using Qualcomm even for this generation of the phone. A few analysts did suggested that iPhone 7 and beyond might get Intel LTE hardware, but not with iPhone SE.
Back in December, when we originally wrote that Intel got the iPhone SE deal, our sources did suggest that Apple can still change its mind if it doesn’t feel that Intel modem is ready. This might be the case, but in the future, we are quite confident that Apple will get a second LTE supplier at some point, just as it did with different manufacturing fabs.
Having two suppliers will drive the cost down, and for Apple every dollar or cent they save of components means millions more in its pocket. Apple claims “LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s,” but it doesn’t give a real number. The iPhone 5S uses MDM9615 that was first introduced in 2011. This modem is at the technology range of Cat 4, X5 modem that Qualcomm ships in its entry level SoCs or as an external component.
We will have to wait for the first teardowns to appear as it is not easy to get to “ LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s.” You would need a modem that is capable of 225 Mbps and the next of potential candidates for the iPhone SE is the MDM 20nm 9×35. Qualcomm calls this modem X7 these days, it use to call it Gobi back in late 2014 and this is a Cat 6, 300 Mbit per second download and 50 Mbit per second upload capable chip.
The fact that Apple continues the exclusive deal with Qualcomm is bad news for Intel, but we are sure that the team blue will keep working on getting inside of iPhone.
Comments Off on Is The Smartwatch Boom Really A Bust?
The bottom is dropping out of the smart watch industry as VC’s start to realise that the Apple dream is not making many people much dosh.
This week smartwatch maker Pebble CEO Eric Migicovsky blamed VCs for not giving him all the money he needs and laid off a quarter of its workforce.
Only a few years ago, Pebble was the darling of the crowdfunding crowd, having raised over $30 million on Kickstarter. This was when Apple was rumoured to be making one and the Tame Apple Press was claiming they were going to be the next big thing,
When Migicovsky confirmed the layoffs. He implied that VCs are now less keen on funding the dream.
Now Apple, which was said to be the market leader of smartwatches, has dropped the price of the Apple Watch by $50. It is probably not going to upgrade the next one with any serious bells and whistles. It looks like the only people who bought one were Apple’s hard core of fanboys who buy everything that Jobs’ Mob makes regardless of whether they need it.
The IDC sees wearable devices reaching 110 million by the end of 2016 which should be 38.2 percent growth. But it seems that this is not enough.
Fitbit was initially championed as an industry leader but this year saw its stock has been battered in 2016. It appears that Smartwatches haven’t set the market alight. Pebble’s rivals are Apple, Samsung, Motorola, LG and others. It also does not have any other businesses to fall back on.