Will Intel Assist Apple?

January 15, 2015 by admin  
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Apple is apparently having problems getting its partners to make 3-D transistors that go.

Drexel Hamilton’s chip analyst Rick Whittington [no really] made a comment that Intel might be getting ready to bail Apple out while he was having a chat about Micron. In passing, Whittington noted problems had by Taiwan Semiconductor and Samsung Electronics trying to produce 3-D transistors in any useful yield.

He noted that Intel has mastered 3-D transistors, and said that it would be very good for Intel if neither Samsung or TSM can do FinFET this next year; puts them in line to supply Apple’s internal foundry needs.

However he admitted that it was more that TSM/Samsung would operate FinFET under very low yield output and keep capacity tight.

Of course if Jobs’ Mob don’t want that they can always rush into the loving arms of Chipzilla – again. As happened with Saphire glass Apple has shown that it can dump a partner quickly if it does not move fast enough.

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Intel Investing Big In Isreal

January 9, 2015 by admin  
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Intel is investing a further $550 million in Israel, more specifically in the upgrade of its Fab 28 in Kiryat Gat.

According to Israel21c, this will bring the total scope of Intel investments in Israel to over $6 billion since 2006. The Kiryat Gat facility is likely to be one of the first Intel 10nm fabs.

Israeli Ministry of Economy official Ziva Eger said the investment will help create thousands of jobs and reinforce the country’s standing as a world leader in technology.

“The agreement signed today between the Industrial Cooperation Authority and Intel is another expression of Intel’s contribution by way of its purchase of equipment, new technologies and Israeli products developed together with Intel,” said CEO of Intel Israel Maxine Fassberg.

Fab 28 currently churns out 22nm silicon for Intel. The fab was passed over for the 14nm upgrade. A source familiar with the matter told us that Israel competes with Ireland for every node upgrade.

“We lost 14nm to Ireland and won 10nm,” the source said.

Israel is currently in a better position to offer incentives and subsidies for such investments, as Ireland’s ‘business-friendly’ tax policies are being scrutinized by the European Union.

Intel is expected to launch the first 10nm CPU in 2016, followed by 7nm parts a couple of years later.

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Are We Moving Too Fast Into Cloud Computing?

January 7, 2015 by admin  
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Businesses need to take a hybrid approach when it comes to the cloud, Dell has said.

The firm’s cloud strategy leader, Gordon Davey, told V3.co.uk in an interview that cloud computing is “overhyped” and moving an entire IT infrastructure into the cloud would be an unrealistic goal.

Davey also believes that cloud vendors have enticed companies to make major shifts to the cloud without considering a model that works for their business.

“I think it’s definitely a case of cloud as a buzzword is overhyped. The idea of cloud for the sake of cloud doesn’t really stand out,” he said.

“The problem comes from customers that have seen the buzzword and want to get the benefits and are just jumping on the bandwagon because it is an industry hype thing, rather than actually evaluating the benefits that a true cloud can bring, and applying that to their business requirements.”

Davey outlined the need to take a more considered approach, adopting an IT strategy that mixes on-premise infrastructure with cloud components to harness the technology without escalating IT costs and complexity.

“The future is going to be hybrid. It’s horses for courses – putting the right workload on the right platform,” he said.

“It’s that balanced approach that I think we’re going to see much more often, rather than trying to put everything into the cloud and potentially failing.”

Davey’s position is unsurprising given Dell’s approach of acting as a ‘middleman’ between cloud service providers and end users, providing hardware, software, services and consultancy to enable businesses to use cloud computing in a way that works for them.

“We see our role as enabling the cloud industry, being that underlying technology,” he said, going on to detail Dell’s five pillar approach to acting as a cloud middleman rather than developing its own end-to-end cloud offering.

The strategy involves consulting on a customer’s cloud needs, helping provide cloud infrastructure, brokering deals between vendors and users, providing security, and managing how multiple cloud services are deployed in a single business.

Davey claimed that Dell’s strategy will help companies take a more tailored approach to cloud adoption, adding: “A properly deployed cloud for the correct workloads in hugely beneficial.”

Dell is not alone in promoting a hybrid approach to cloud adoption. Microsoft is adding hybrid cloud capability to the next version of Windows Server.

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Intel To Add Broadwell To NUC Series

December 26, 2014 by admin  
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Intel is planning to update its rather successful NUC (Next Unit of Computing) series and as you can expect, they will come with Broadwell CPUs inside.

Intel isn’t hiding the external design of the new cases and there is a dominant yellow connector at the front of the new NUC, and this one should be providing charging power even when the device is turned off.

The board comes with either M2 storage or single SATA and there will be two different designs one exclusively for M2 drive and the second taller that will be able to take 2.5 inch SSD or HDD as well.

We will probably learn more details at CES 2015 that is about to start in less than three weeks from now, but the Broadwell in this small form factor will get a speed boost and some future prove technologies such as M2 SSD support.

We are running Core i5 4200 powered NUC with Windows 10 and it really works great powered by 240GB Kingston mS200 mSata SSD and Impact SO DIMM memory. These machines takes less than half an hour to assemble and boot into windows, including Windows 10 and make a perfect choice for the lovers of quiet computing.

The new version will obviously run at least slightly faster than the one we are testing and the marketing is excluding about “the one with the yellow USB connector”.

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Intel’s Cherry Trail Coming In 2015

December 8, 2014 by admin  
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Bay Trail was quite a big deal when it started shipping in late 2013.

It was a tablet chip that enabled great design wins such as the affordable Asus T100TA and even in late 2014 Asus used the platform to create the EeeBook X205, a $199 netbook.

Both of these designs are based on Intel’s Bay-Trail M processor, a year old 22nm quad-core processor based on the Silvermont design. Some machines that are coming with LTE, both netbooks and tablets and there will be new chip coming in 2015. It is called LTE Advanced XMM7360 chip and supports LTE Cat 10,3 CA up to 450 Mbits download and upload.

Intel will also offer Morrefield quad cores for machines with lower TDP ratings, especially tablets, and at some point in 2015 it will introduce its 14nm Airmont core based Cherry Trail processor. Cherry Trail based on 14nm Airmont core was originally expected in late 2014, but it got pushed towards middle of 2015.

Intel is clearly encountering more obstacles moving from the 22nm to the 14nm manufacturing process, but considering that most ARM competitors still have to start commercially shipping its 20nm SoCs in significant volumes, Intel still has a manufacturing node advantage. If only Intel had as many design wins to go along with its cutting edge fabs, as the company has been struggling to ship 40milion tablets in 2014, as promised.

Braxton will replace Cherry Trail in 2016. Braxton is a tock architecture, another 14nm design based on the quad-core Goldmont core. When it comes to the Performance Media Internet Device (MID) market Intel has another chip planned in 2016. It calls it SoFIA MID and the chip comes in intels 14nm manufacturing process.

Value and Entry markets for Media Internet Device (MID) and phones includes four new SoFIA parts, but with all these new and exciting chips Intel has to compete against some advanced chips coming on line in 2015, including the Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 20nm, Nvidia Erista and more affordable Mediatek solutions such as the MT6795 A53-based octa-core and its successor.

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Amazon Tops Apple

November 13, 2014 by admin  
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A mere five months after Apple snatched J.D. Power’s tablet satisfaction award away from Samsung, it has lost it to up-and-coming Amazon.

Apple’s iPad finished in second place in the latest satisfaction survey conducted by J.D. Power and Associates, with a score of 824 out of a possible 1,000. For the first time, Amazon took first place, scoring 827.

Samsung came in at 821 for third, while Asus and Acer filled out the first five, but those stragglers’ scores were under the category average.

J.D. Power’s satisfaction score included five separate measurements for performance, ease of operation, features, styling and design, and cost, with each accounting for different percentages of the final number. Performance, for example, counted as 28% of the total; cost for 11%.

Apple received high scores in performance and styling and design, while Amazon performed best in ease of operation and cost, said Kirk Parsons, senior director of telecommunications services at J.D. Power.

“Within the tablet segment, there’s a balance of cost and value, and for this period, Amazon was at the equilibrium,” said Parsons. “For the money, [Amazon tablets] do what buyers need them to do. And the Mayday feature really helped them in ease of operation.”

Mayday is a feature on Amazon’s higher-end tablets that lets customers video chat with support representatives using the device.

Parsons called out Amazon’s Fire HDX, which launched in October 2013 in a 7-in. size and a month later in an 8.9-in. format, for driving the brand’s scores. Amazon now sells the 7-in. Fire HDX for $179; the 8.9-in. model starts at $379. “The new Fire HDX did really, really well” in the survey, Parsons noted.

J.D. Power polled nearly 2,700 U.S. tablet owners who had had their current devices for less than a year. The survey period ran from March to August.

The last time J.D. Power published tablet customer satisfaction scores, Amazon placed fourth. Its jump to first was a small surprise, said Parsons. “I figured [Amazon's] scores would improve, but I didn’t think they’d take the top spot,” he admitted.

Price is increasingly important to satisfaction, said Parson, as costs fall and capabilities climb across the board, making it more difficult for premium-priced tablets like Apple’s iPad, to retain their polled positions. On average, tablet customers now spend $345 on their tablets, $48 less than in April 2013, a decline of 12%.

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Will Intel’s Core M Go Commercial?

September 12, 2014 by admin  
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Intel is getting down from four processor lines to three and it looks like Broadwell won’t come with an M-processor line and 57W, 47W, 37W parts. This is not something we expect to happen at this point. The H-processor line will take over the 47W TDP high performance market for mobile computers and some AIOs.

The H-processor 47W line, U-Processor Line with 15W and 28W TDP parts will end up with 5th Gen Intel Core branding. We expect a range of Core i3, Core i5 and Core i7 parts that will be revealed probably at some point after Intel Developer Forum, or after mid-September 2014.

The Y-processor line will end up with the new Intel Core M processor brand and it will aim for high performance detachable and convertible systems that will show up in the latter part of Q4 2014.

Broadwell with 4.5W TDP and Core M branding will end up only in these fancy detachable notebooks and might be one of the most powerful and fastest tablet/detachable platforms around. It will also ‘speak’ Windows 8.1 at launch and we should see some Google Chrome OS products in early 2015.

Intel also plans to keep the Pentium and Celeron brands around and they will be used for Bay Trail-M processors. These parts have been shipping for more than three quarters in entry level detachables such as the Asus T100TA.

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Did Intel Miss The Tablet Boat?

June 13, 2014 by admin  
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Intel CEO Brian Krzanich has admitted the obvious – Intel missed the boat on tablets.

Speaking at the Code Conference, Krzanich said the company was slow to react to the emergence of tablets and smartphones.

“There was a belief that tablets would be a consumption device only (and) that people would come back to the laptop and the PC. There were heavy debates within Intel and it took a while for us to accept and acknowledge that data. Companies make mistakes,” Krzanich told Walt Mossberg in an interview.

In other words at least part of Intel’s failure to tap the emerging mobile market a few years ago was internal wrangling.

The course shifted under the Krzanich regime. Last Intel President Renee James and Krzanich made it clear that the company is now treating its Atom line-up just like its big cores. For years the company treated Atoms as a sideshow, making sure that they would not eat into Core sales.

ARM had different ideas and so did AMD, they went after the tablet and essential notebook markets. As a result ARM currently dominates the mobile space, while AMD managed to carve a nice niche in the entry-level x86 segment, with Brazos and Kabini parts.

Intel is fighting back, but it is paying a heavy price. The company is on track to quadruple its tablet SoC shipments to 40 million units this year, but it has to pay through the nose to get there. As for the smartphone market, Intel is all but absent.

Krzanich insists he is not giving up on the phone and tablet space. He wants Intel to take a 15 to 20 percent market share in these segments, which sounds very ambitious. Thanks to generous subsidies it has a good chance in the tablet space. This week Intel announced a deal with Rockchip, which should also boost its presence in the booming tablet market in China.

However, so far the company has not rolled out a compelling smartphone SoC and it’s lagging behind the competition in LTE integration.

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Samsung Makes Changes In Mobile

May 22, 2014 by admin  
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Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world’s biggest mobile phone manufacturer, has replaced the head of its mobile design team amid criticism of the latest Galaxy S smartphone.

Chang Dong-hoon offered to resign last week and will be replaced by Lee Min-hyouk, vice president for mobile design, a Samsung spokeswoman said on Thursday.

“The realignment will enable Chang to focus more on his role as head of the Design Strategy Team, the company’s corporate design center which is responsible for long-term design strategy across all of Samsung’s businesses, including Mobile Communications,” Samsung said in a statement.

Lee, 42, became Samsung’s youngest senior executive in 2010 for his role in designing the Galaxy series, a roaring success which unseated Apple Inc’s iPhone as king of the global smartphone market.

Samsung now sells two times more smartphones than Apple, largely thanks to the success of Galaxy range.

But the South Korean firm has also been battling patent litigation the world over, with Apple claiming Samsung copied the look and feel of the U.S. firm’s mobile products.

The Galaxy S5, which debuted globally last month, has received a lukewarm response from consumers due to its lack of eye-popping hardware innovations, while its plastic case design has been panned by some critics for looking cheap and made out of a conveyor belt. The Wall Street Journal said the gold-colored back cover on the S5 looked like a band-aid.

Chang, a former professor who studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will continue to lead Samsung’s design center which overseas its overall design strategy.

Lee, who acquired the moniker of “Midas” for his golden touch with the Galaxy series, started out designing cars for Samsung’s failed auto joint venture with Renault in the 1990s.

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Microsoft Updates Office Online

April 28, 2014 by admin  
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Microsoft is updating its Web-based Office Online suite, closing the features gap with the main Office 365 and Office 2013 suites installed on users’ devices.

“We know you want features that allow you to move as seamlessly as possible between Office Online and the desktop,” wrote Kaberi Chowdhury, an Office Online technical product manager, in a blog post Monday.

Improvements to Excel Online include the ability to insert new comments, edit and delete existing comments, and properly open and edit spreadsheets that contain Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) code.

Meanwhile, Word Online has a new “pane” where users can see all comments in a document, and reply to them or mark them as completed. It also has a refined lists feature that is better able to recognize whether users are continuing a list or starting one. In addition, footnotes and end notes can now be added more conveniently inline.

PowerPoint Online has a revamped text editor that offers a layout view that more closely resembles the look of finished slides, according to Microsoft. It also has improved performance and video functionality, including the ability to play back embedded YouTube videos.

For users of OneNote Online, Microsoft is now adding the ability to print out the notes they’ve created with the application.

Microsoft is also making Word Online, PowerPoint Online and OneNote Online available via Google’s Chrome Web Store so that Chrome browser users can add them to their Chrome App launcher. Excel Online will be added later.

The improvements in Office Online will be rolled out to users this week, starting Monday.

Office Online, which used to be called Office Web Apps, competes directly against Google Docs and other browser-based office productivity suites. It’s meant to offer users a free, lightweight, Web-based version of these four applications if they don’t have the desktop editions on the device they’re using at that moment.

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