MediaTek has announced two more Helio X20 series products – a Helio X27 and an X23 and as you can figure out from the names; Helio X27 is faster than the X25 while X23 is a bit slower.
Helio X25 was the fastest deca-core 20nm SoC from MediaTek with three cluster designs and this SoC ended up in quite a few prominent China higher end phones including a few Meizu devices. But it looks like customers wanted a bit faster camera, SoC and GPU performance for its late 2016 early 2017 phones, the ones that will launch before the Helio X30 comes to market.
Jeffrey Ju, Executive Vice President and Co-Chief Operating Officer at MediaTek said: “The MediaTek Helio platform fulfills the diverse needs of device makers. Based on the success of MediaTek Helio X20 and X25, we are introducing the upgraded MediaTek Helio X23 and X27. The new SoCs support premium dual camera photography and provide best in-class performance and power consumption,”
The Helio X25 has two Cortex A73 cores clocked at 2.5 GHz, four Cortex A53 clocked at 2.00 GHz and last four Cortex A53 clocked at 1.55GHz. The Mali GT880 graphics is clocked at 850 MHz.
The Helio X20 has two Cortex A73 cores clocked at 2.1 GHz, four Cortex A53 clocked at 1.85 GHz and last four Cortex A53 clocked at 1.4GHz. The Mali GT880 graphics is clocked at 780 MHz.
The newcomer, Helio X27, has two Cortex A73 cores clocked at 2.6 GHz, four Cortex A53 clocked at 2.00 GHz and the last four Cortex A53 clocked at 1.6 GHz. The Mali GT880 graphics is clocked at 875 MHz. The rest of the specification is identical to the Helio X25.
The Helio X23 has two Cortex A73 cores clocked at 2.3 GHz, four Cortex A53 clocked at 1.85 GHz and the last four Cortex A53 clocked at 1.4GHz. The Mali GT880 graphics is clocked at 780 MHz. As you can see, this is just a slightly faster version of Helio X20 and it sits just below Helio X25 with its specs.
Thanks to MediaTek-engineered advancements in the CPU/GPU heterogeneous computing scheduling algorithm, both products deliver more than a 20 percent overall processing improvement and significant increases in web browsing and application launching speeds. This definitely sounds promising but you should bear in mind that MediaTek had enough time to optimize these designs of the new and updated SoCs.
Phones based on the Helio X27 and X23 will be available soon.
Comments Off on Can iOS Activation Lock Be Bypassed?
Two researchers report that they have discovered a way to bypass the activation lock feature in iOS that’s supposed to prevent anyone from using an iPhone or iPad marked as lost by its owner.
The first report came Sunday from an Indian security researcher named Hemanth Joseph, who started investigating possible bypasses after being confronted with a locked iPad he acquired from eBay.
The activation lock gets enabled automatically when users turn on the Find My iPhone feature via iCloud. It links the device to their Apple IDs and prevents anyone else from accessing the device without entering the associated password.
One of the few things allowed from the activation lock screen is connecting the device to a Wi-Fi network, including manually configuring one. Hemanth had the idea of trying to crash the service that enforces the lock screen by entering very long strings of characters in the WPA2-Enterprise username and password fields.
The researcher claims that, after awhile, the screen froze, and he used the iPad smart cover sold by Apple to put the tablet to sleep and then reopen it. This is supposed to restore the state of the tablet from where it was left off, in this case, loading the WPA2 screen again with the long strings of characters filled in.
“After 20-25 seconds the Add Wifi Connection screen crashed to the iPad home screen, thereby bypassing the so-called Find My iPhone Activation Lock,” he said in a blog post.
Hemanth said he reported the issue to Apple on Nov. 4, and the company is investigating it. He tested the bypass on iOS 10.1, which was released on Oct. 24.
Last week, a researcher named Benjamin Kunz Mejri, from German outfit Vulnerability Lab, posted a video showing the same bypass, but on the newer iOS 10.1.1 version.
Kunz Mejri’s method is similar and also involves overflowing the Add Wi-Fi form fields with long strings of characters but also requires rotating the tablet’s screen in order to trigger the crash after the smart cover trick.
Apple has not yet confirmed that issue and did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Nvidia has updated its Grid software platform with deeper performance profiling and analytics tools for planning, deployment, and support of virtual GPU users.
According to the company the improved management tools address both host (server) managment and virtual client monitoring. Nvidia says that with the new Grid software, admins will be able to get information about the number of virtual graphics instances in use and the number they can potentially create.
They can also see usage information for the stream processors on board each card, the percentage of the card’s frame buffer that’s in use, and the load on each card’s dedicated video encode and decode hardware.
Each guest vGPU instance will tell admins information on encoder and decoder usage, frame buffer occupancy, and the vGPU use. Nvidia adds that it all takes the guess work out of vGPU provisioning and the data it’s exposing about vGPU usage will let system administrators tailor their virtual user profiles better.
All this means that it might stop the admins giving too much processing power to accounts when it is needed for the graphics team. Nvidia thinks those operational improvements will also help lower costs. The August 2016 Grid software update should be available immediately.
Apple has begun testing Safari 10 with developers running the 2014 and 2015 editions of macOS, gearing up for a fall release of the updated browser to users of Yosemite and El Capitan.
Safari 10 was introduced earlier this month as part of macOS Sierra, this year’s operating system upgrade.
Apple typically supports its newest browser on three editions of macOS: The latest version and its two predecessors. The now-current Safari 9, for example, receives updates, including security patches, on last year’s El Capitan, 2014′s Yosemite and 2013′s Mavericks.
Safari 10 will be supported on Sierra, El Capitan and Yosemite. Meanwhile, Mavericks will remain on Safari 9.
The Safari 10 preview is currently available only to registered Apple developers, who pay $99 annually for access to early builds, development tools and documentation.
The general public will get its first look at Safari 10 next month after Apple opens up its broader-based public beta program for Sierra. Those who have signed on to the beta preview will also be able to download preliminary versions of Safari 10 for El Capitan and Yosemite, running the preview browser but sticking with their older, more stable operating systems.
Some of Safari 10′s signature features will be available only within macOS Sierra, including web-based Apple Pay — where payment is authorized with an iPhone or Apple Watch — but others will be supported by older versions of the operating system. Among the most notable are the new ability for developers to distribute and sell Safari add-ons in the Mac App Store, and easy portability of iOS content blockers to macOS.
If Apple replicates last year’s beta schedule, it will release the first public preview of macOS Sierra and Safari 10 around July 14.
In an official slides that have leaked, AMD has confirmed most of the specifications for both the Polaris 10 and the Polaris 11 GPUs which will power the upcoming Radeon RX 480, RX 470 and RX 460 graphics cards.
According to the slides published by Computerbase.de, both GPUs are based on AMD’s 4th generation Graphics Core Next (GCN 4.0) GPU architecture, offer 2.8 perf/watt improvement compared to the previous generation, have 4K encode and decode capabilities as well as bring DisplayPort 1.3/1.4 and HDR support.
Powering three different graphics cards, these two GPUs will cover different market segments, so the Polaris 10, codename Ellesmere, will be powering both the Radeon RX 480, meant for affordable VR and 1440p gaming as well as the recently unveiled RX 470, meant to cover the 1080p gaming segment. The Polaris 10 packs 36 Compute Units (CUs) so it should end up with 2304 Stream Processors. Both the RX 480 and RX 470 should be coming with 4GB or 8GB of GDDR5 memory, paired up with a 256-bit memory interface. The Ellesmere GPU offers over 5 TFLOPs of compute performance and should peak at 150W.
The Radeon RX 470 should be based on Ellesmere Pro GPU and will probably end up with both lower clocks as well as less Stream Processors and according to our sources close to the company, should launch with a US $179 price tag, while the RX 480 should launch on 29th of June with a US $199 price tag for a reference 4GB version. Most AIB partners will come up with a custom 8GB graphics cards which should probably launch at US $279+.
The Polaris 11 GPU, codename Baffin, will have 16 CUs and should end up with 1024 Stream Processors. The recently unveiled Radeon RX 460 based on this GPU should come with 4GB of GDDR5 memory paired up with a 128-bit memory interface. The Radeon RX 460 targets casual and MOBA gamers and should provide decent competition to the Geforce GTX 950 as both have a TDP of below 75W and do not need additional PCIe power connectors.
According to earlier leaked benchmarks, AMD’s Polaris architecture packs quite a punch considering both its price and TDP so AMD just might have a chance to get a much needed rebound in the market share.
Comments Off on Apple Rolls Out A Revamped Store
Apple Inc announced a series of long anticipated enhancements to its App Store, but the new features may not ease concerns of developers and analysts who say that the App Store model – and the very idea of the single-purpose app – has seen its best days.
The revamped App Store will let developers advertise their wares in search results and give developers a bigger cut of revenues on subscription apps, while Apple said it has already dramatically sped up its app-approval process.
The goal is to sustain the virtuous cycle at the heart of the hugely lucrative iPhone business. Software developers make apps for the iPhone because its customers are willing to pay, and those customers, in turn, pay a premium for the device because it has the best apps.
The store is now more strategically important than ever for Apple as sales of the iPhone begin to level off and the company looks to software and services to fill the gap. Apple CEO Tim Cook said on a recent conference call that App Store revenues were up 35 percent over last year.
But the store is also a victim of its own success. Eight years after its launch, it is packed with more than 1.9 million apps, according to analytics firm App Annie, making it almost impossible for developers to find an audience – and increasingly difficult for customers to find what they need, as some 14,000 new apps arrive in the store each week.
“The app space has grown out of control,” said Vint Cerf, one of the inventors of the internet and now a vice president at Alphabet Inc’s Google, who was speaking at a San Francisco conference on the future of the web on Wednesday. “We need to move away from having an individual app for every individual thing you want to do.”
Micron has announced its first client- and OEM-oriented solid-state drives based on 3D NAND, the Micron 1100 and Micron 2100 series.
The Micron 1100 SSD is a more mainstream oriented SSD that will be based on Marvell’s 88SS1074 controller and Micron’s 384Gb 32-layer TLC NAND. Using a SATA 6Gbps interface and available in M.2 and 2.5-inch form-factors, the Micron 1100 should replace Micron’s mainstream M600 series, based on 16nm MLC NAND.
The Micron 1100 SSD will be available in 256GB, 512GB, 1TB and 2TB capacities. It will offer sequential performance of up to 530MB/s for read and up to 500MB/s for write with random 4K performance of up to 92K for read and up to 83K IOPS for write. With such performance, it is obvious that the Micron 1100 series will target mainstream market and be a budget SSD.
The Micron 2100 is an M.2 PCIe NVMe SSD that is actually Micron’s first client oriented PCIe SSD and also the first PCIe SSD based on 3D NAND. Unfortuantely, Micron did not finalize the precise specifications so we still do not have precise performance numbers but it will be available in capacities reaching 1TB.
The Micron 1100 is expected to hit mass production in July so we should expect some of the first drives by the end of the next month. The Micron 2100 will be coming by the end of summer.
Comments Off on MediaTek To Spin-Off Virtual Reality Unit
MediaTek is so confident about its VR plans it is going to spin off its VR division to form an independent company in June.
A recent Chinese-language Economic Daily News report claims that Mediatek wants the spun off business to drive VR sales. It all sounds pretty good but MediaTek have sort of denied the report.
Well we say sort of denied it. What it has told the Taiwan Stock Exchange that it was not the report’s source, which is not quite the same thing.The spin off could go ahead, but MediaTek is denying that it told the EDN its cunning plans. But then again the EDN did not name its source either. Without a denial from the company we are none the wiser.
MediaTek’s VR unit was set up between end-2015 and early-2016 to focus on the development of the company’s VR solutions for handsets, the EDN thought.
There more evidence that tablets were never the game-changer that Steve Jobs tried to peddle them as, and were just the keyboardless netbooks we said they were.
IDC siad that for the first quarter of 2016, overall worldwide tablet shipments fell to 39.6 million, a 14.7 percent drop from the same period a year ago, However the only part of the segment which did ok were tablets with keyboards – or as we used to call them, netbooks.
IDC said that the decline of ordinary tablets was partly due to traditional first-quarter slumps but also a complete lack of interest on the part of customers.
Traditional tablets accounted for 87.6 percent of all tablet shipments. But tablets that come with detachable keyboards increased of more than 4.9 million units last quarter. That was a gain of 120 percent from the same period last year and an all-time high for tablets with detachable keyboards.
Tablets are dying because more people are buying big-screened phones as an alternative. You remember Fablets? They were what Steve Jobs claimed would never work because they prefered smaller smartphones or bigger tablets. In fact he was talking rubbish and was trying to keep his keyboardless netbook idea going.
IDC said that the newer tablets don’t offer enough new features to entice people to upgrade. After all tablets were always looking for an app which made them useful, which never arrived.
To counteract the downturn, more manufacturers are turning to tablets with detachable keyboards that can thus serve as laptops – on otherwords returning to the netbooks that the Tablets were said to replace.
“With the PC industry in decline, the detachable market stands to benefit as consumers and enterprises seek to replace their aging PCs with detachables,” IDC senior research analyst Jitesh Ubrani said in a statement.
Apple saw its shipments and market share drop but remained in first place. Apple’s latest 9.7-inch iPad Pro and the new 256GB storage option for the 12.9-inch iPad Pro are “healthy additions” to the lineup, IDC said. Samsung also saw its shipments and market share decline. Though the Samsung Galaxy Tab lineup is still popular, its detachable TabPro S is dead in the water thanks to its $900 price tag.
Amazon has found success with its starting-at-$49 Fire, showing that consumers will still buy bargain-priced tablets. Missing from the list was Microsoft in spite of the popularity of its Surface Pro products, which start at $900.
“The Surface line is great. But it’s tough to drive volume in the first quarter. Prices of Surface products are fairly high, but Microsoft is in the top five list for tablets with detachable keyboards. The top five for tablets as a whole is a tougher nut to crack given the large slate volumes compared to detachables.”
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.