Qualcomm has told the assorted throngs at CES about a new Snapdragon 820 Automotive family of products. It will come in two flavors – a standard 820A and an 820Am that adds an LTE modem.
The chip is designed for in-car navigation and infotainment systems running QNX, Linux, and Android. It has wireless capabilities and can connected to your phone. The LTE version will link to the Internet.
They can manage multiple displays to run the screen in your dashboard and an infotainment screen in the back seat. It also offers support for high-resolution 4K displays for when some company inevitably decides to cram a high-res, high-density screen into one of its cars.
The 820A chips are close cousins ofthe the Snapdragon 820 SoCs that will start shipping in phones later this year and use Qualcomm’s custom-made 64-bit Kryo CPU cores, an Adreno 530 GPU, a Hexagon 680 DSP all cooked up with a 14nm manufacturing process. They will also use the Snapdragon X12 LTE which can manage 600Mbps down and 150Mbps up when the wind is behind it and it is going downhill. There are all the usual 802.11ac Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and other features.
Qualcomm said that it used a “modular approach” in designing the chip, which means that the cars infotainment system can be upgraded with hardware and software updates, thereby enabling vehicles to be easily upgraded with the latest technology.
Car makers could theoretically swap out the chip or the entire package without needing to worry about software changes. Qualcomm specifically mentions upgrading LTE connectivity over the lifetime of the car to keep up with the capabilities of cellular networks.
Qualcomm says the 820A family will begin sampling in Q1 of 2016.
The Blog site Fudzilla has confirmed that the Kryo core might be the last custom developed CPU core from Qualcomm, at least for now.
The next generation SoC from Qualcomm, let’s call it Snapdragon 8×0, will use ARM Cortex cores. Our industry sources are confident that company’s leadership has put a great deal of pressure on Qualcomm QTI to reduce the cost of R&D and custom CPU core costs an arm and a leg. Using Cortex Cores is cheaper than developing a custom ARM based CPU such as Kyro.
Creating a custom ARM based CPU core is intensive too and Qualcom still has to build a Modem, GPU, DSP, camera ISP, Video processing unit as well connectivity inside of the SoC to provide the differentiating factor to the competition. It just appears that the Core itself probably does not need looking at.
But the move will hardly help Qualcomm compete in hostile and aggressive mobile SoC manufacturers’ competition.
Apple and Samsung have their own CPU cores. Huawei uses Cortex architecture but has its own SoCs for the 100 million phones it sold this year. These are businesses that are either very hard or impossible for Qualcomm QTI SoCs to get. Every Samsung SoC manufactured and sold in Samsung phones is one less for Qualcomm.
MediaTek might be the winner in this case, as MediaTek makes rather unique processors that are designed to compete well against those who use close-to-reference Cortex ARM solutions. MediaTek is the only deca core in three cluster architecture but we still have to see it in action before we pronounce anyone winner or loser.
Qualcomm will have to focus on its strengths of its late 2016 successor to Snapdragon 810. The strengths of Qualcomm lay in superior modem performance and a great Adreno GPU. However they will lose an advantage of a custom core that might bring a bigger difference from the competition.
This is certainly not something we expected but it is happening.
Comments Off on Smartphone Buyer Fatigue Hampering Growth
Apple and Samsung dominate global smartphone markets with several new flagship handsets unveiled each year.
But after years of fantastic growth in smartphone sales, the pace of growth is slowing overall, including for the two smartphone giants. Market research firm IDC recently said that 2016 will be the first year that overall smartphone growth will slow to below 10%.
There is even talk among analysts that the latest models don’t have enough compelling new features to lure customers to a competitor’s device. Others say smartphone buyer’s fatigue has set in.
Buyer’s fatigue is a concern in the U.S. and other developed countries where the smartphone market is viewed as a “replacement” market because the market is already saturated: Nearly everyone already owns a smartphone. A focus on emerging countries by Apple and Samsung still requires them to find low-cost alternatives to compete with the likes of Huawei and others.
“Consumers are fatigued about new phone features that they can’t easily relate to any improvement in their personal use cases,” said Patrick Moorhead, an analyst at Moore Insights & Strategy. “Samsung has been one of the worst offenders of this in the last few years. If consumers can’t relate, then they need to be educated.”
Most recently, reports that Samsung would add a pressure-sensitive displayand high-speed charging port to its Galaxy S7 phone drew a few yawns. That’s because Apple added the pressure-sensitive display to the iPhone 6S last summer, and a new USB Type-C fast charging port is already available in LG and Huawei smartphones.
While it is to Samsung’s advantage to keep up with Apple and others rivals, analysts disagree over whether these latest improvements will provoke an iPhone user to switch to a Galaxy.
Samsung has announced it will begin manufacturing electronics parts for the automotive industry, with a primary focus on autonomous vehicles.
The South Korean electronics giant is only the latest tech firm to make a somewhat belated push into the carmaker industry, as vehicle computer systems and sensors become more sophisticated.
In October, General Motors announced a strategic partnership with South Korea’s LG Electronics. LG will supply a majority of the key components for GM’s upcoming electric vehicle (EV), the Chevrolet Bolt. LG has also been building computer modules for GM’s OnStar telecommunications system for years.
Apple and Google have also developed APIs that are slowly being embedded by automakers to allow smartphones to natively connect and display their infotainment screens. Those APIs led to the rollout in several vehicles this year of Apple’s CarPlay and Android Auto.
Having formerly balked at the automotive electronics market as too small, consumer computer chipmakers are now entering the space with fervor.
Dutch semiconductor maker NXP is closing an $11.8 billion deal to buy Austin-based Freescale, which makes automotive microprocessors. The combined companies would displace Japan’s Renesas as the world’s largest vehicle chipmaker.
German semiconductor maker Infineon Technology has reportedly begun talks to buy a stake in Renesas.
Adding to growth in automotive electronics are regulations mandating technology such as backup cameras in the U.S. and “eCalling” in Europe, which automatically dials emergency services in case of an accident.
According to a report published by Thomson Reuters, Samsung and its tech affiliates are ramping up research and development for auto technology, with two-thirds of their combined 1,804 U.S. patent filings since 2010 related to electric vehicles and electric components for cars.
The combined automotive software, services and components market is worth around $500 billion, according to ABI Resarch.
Mobile equipment maker Ericsson and U.S. networking company Cisco Systems Inc announced that they have agreed to a business and technology partnership that should generate additional revenues of $1 billion for each company by 2018.
Ericsson, whose like-for-like sales are down 7 percent so far this year and were roughly flat over the previous three years, said the partnership means new areas of revenue as it will boost its addressable market, mainly in professional services, software and the resale of Cisco products.
“We are the wireless No. 1 in the world,” Ericsson Chief Executive Hans Vestberg told Reuters.
“Cisco is by far the No. 1 in the world when it comes to IP routers. Together we can create innovative solutions.”
The companies said in a statement they would together offer routing, data center, networking, cloud, mobility, management and control, and global services capabilities.
“The strategic partnership will be a key driver of growth and value for the next decade, with each company benefiting from incremental revenue in calendar year 2016 and expected to ramp (up) to $1 billion or more for each by 2018,” they said.
Ericsson expects full-year cost synergies of 1 billion Swedish crowns ($115 million) in 2018 due to the partnership and said it would continue to explore further joint business opportunities with Cisco.
Red Hat has torn the roof off the sucker once again with the release of Fedora 23 in beta form.
Coming in three incredible versions, Fedora 23 Cloud, Fedora 23 Server and Fedora 23 Workstation, this new edition picks up where the old one left off and runs with it.
The biggest news for fans is the use of compiler flags to help improve security. These are designed to help protect Fedora 23 beta binaries against memory corruption vulnerabilities, buffer overflows and similar issues.
This is the latest iteration of Red Hat’s Linux-based operating system that likes to think of itself as the leading-edge open source operating system across all use cases. It’s hard to believe, but absolutely true.
The dazzling array of updates starts with Red Hat Fedora Server Beta, which offers a new role through the rolekit service in the form of a cache server for web applications, with the underlying functionality delivered by memcached.
Also new is the fact that rolekit can now be triggered by anaconda kickstart to determine what function should be started with the next reboot, and I think we can all agree that’s been a long time coming.
Cockpit also sees some big changes, including a basic cluster dashboard for Kubernetes, Support for SSH key authentication and support for configuring user accounts with their authorised keys and compatibility with multipath disks.
Meanwhile in Fedora 23 Workstation Beta, the fun keeps coming with a preview of GNOME 3.18. Changes to the software application will allow it to offer firmware updates and access to Libreoffice 5. Improvements have also been made to Wayland, with the ultimate aim being to make it the default graphic server in a future release.
Sadly, that’s where the thrillride ends as Cloud Beta contains very little new of note – but we are warned to stay tuned for news of Fedora 23 Atomic Host, said to be coming soon. We’re literally on the edge of our seats and will bring you the news as soon as we get it.
Comments Off on Enterprise Needs Driving Cloud Sales Boom
The cloud continues to gain major ground, driven by enterprise storage needs.
Sales are way up for little-known manufacturers that sell directly to big cloud companies like Google and Facebook, while the market for traditional external storage systems is shrinking, according to research company IDC.
Internet giants and service providers typically don’t use specialized storage platforms in their sprawling data centers. Instead, they buy vast amounts of capacity in the form of generic hardware that’s controlled by software. As users flock to cloud-based services, that’s a growing business.
Revenue for original design manufacturers that sell directly to hyperscale data-center operators grew by 25.8 percent to more than US$1 billion in the second quarter, according to the latest global IDC report on enterprise storage systems. Overall industry revenue rose just 2.1 percent from last year’s second quarter, reaching $8.8 billion.
These so-called ODMs are low-profile vendors, many of them based in Taiwan, that do a lot of their business manufacturing hardware that’s sold under better known brand names. Examples include Quanta Computer and Wistron.
General enterprises aren’t buying many systems from these vendors, but the trends at work in hyperscale deployments are growing across the industry. Increasingly, the platform of choice for storage is a standard x86 server dedicated to storing data, according to IDC analyst Eric Sheppard. Sales of server-based storage rose 10 percent in the quarter to reach $2.1 billion.
Traditional external systems like SANs (storage area networks) are still the biggest part of the enterprise storage business, logging $5.7 billion in revenue for the quarter. But sales in this segment were down 3.9 percent.
Overall demand for storage capacity continued to grow strongly, with 37 percent more capacity shipped in the quarter compared with a year earlier.
Intel is taking its competitive game up a notch by investing in its own drones.
Intel has written a check for more than US$60 million to Yuneec International, a Chinese aviation company and drone maker.
This is not the first time that the Chipmaker has invested in drones. It has written smaller amounts for the drone makers Airware and PrecisionHawk. The Yuneec deal is its largest investment in a drone company yet.
Apparently Intel thinks that drones are potential computing platforms for its processors.
Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said he believed in a smart and connected world. And one of the best ways to bring that smart and connected world to everyone and everywhere has been drones.
Amazon and Google are developing drones as they seek new ways to deliver items to consumers, Intel just wants to make sure that its chips are delivering the payload. There is no indication that it is building a secret airforce which it will use to take down competition – that would be silly.
Yuneec makes a range of drones built for aerial photography and imaging. Its technology also powers manned electric aircraft.
Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC Corp said it will eliminate some jobs and discontinue models as part of its strategy to focus on high-end devices to better compete with the likes of AppleInc and Samsung Electronics.
“The cuts will be across the board,” Chief Financial Officer Chialin Chang told reporters after HTC reported a second-quarter loss and forecast another for the third-quarter. “They will be significant.”
Chang said the cost reductions would extend to the first quarter of next year, but declined to give further details.
A pioneer in early smartphones, HTC has been dismissed by industry watchers as confused, unoriginal and uncompetitive.
The company has been losing market share over the past few years, hit by intense competition at the high-end of the market from the likes of Apple and Samsung Electronics while budget Chinese rivals have also eclipsed its low-cost offerings.
HTC shares have fallen 51 percent so far this year. The stock closed 1.69 percent lower before the results were announced.
Chang said HTC was banking on selling high-end models in emerging smartphone markets such as India, where he said the company has a 20 percent market share of phones priced between $250-$400.
Analysts, however, are less optimistic, saying HTC is likely to continue to struggle for the next four quarters at least.
“We believe HTC will keep losing share in the smartphone market and will keep losing money,” analyst Calvin Huang with Taiwan’s SinoPac Securities wrote in a recent research note.
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.