Intel launched its Bay Trail-M ultra low voltage processors for netbooks and mobile devices over the weekend. According to CPU World the new mobile CPUs, branded this time as Celeron and Pentium, can manage twice the CPU performance, and up to three times faster graphics.
They do all that while using the same amount of juice as their “Cedar Trail” predecessors. Most chips have higher clock speeds than N2805, N2810 and N2910 SKUs and come with Burst Performance technology. They can operate at a higher maximum operating temperature which makes them easier to cool. Finally, in addition to 4 N28xx/N29xx Celerons Intel also released Pentium N2920.
Then there are new dual-core Bay Trail-M microprocessors like the Celeron N2806, N2815 and N2820 which can operate at frequencies from 1.6 GHz to 2.13 GHz, when going downhill had the wind is behind them. They also have the maximum burst speed ranging from 2 GHz to 2.39 GHz. The processors come with 1 MB L2 cache, Ivy Bridge graphics clocked at 311 MHz and up to 756 MHz, and support for DDR3L-1066 memory. The N2806 has 4.5 Watt TDP while the N2815 and N2820 have 7.5 Watt TDP. All of the Celeron N28xx processors are priced at $132.
Two new quad-core microprocessors are Celeron N2920 and Pentium N3520. The CPUs have 2 MB L2 cache, and run at 1.86 GHz and 2.17 GHz respectively, with burst frequencies reaching 2 GHz and 2.42 GHz. Both parts integrate Ivy Bridge graphics, that can be clocked as high as 854 MHz. The Celeron can deal with DDR3L-1066 memory, and the Pentium supports 1333 MHz memory data rate. They fit into 7.5 Watt power envelope. The official prices of Celeron N2920 and Pentium N3520 are $132 and $180.
Samsung and Intel announced on Tuesday that the open source Tizen operating system now has 36 partners, including eBay, Trend Micro and Panasonic.
The full list of new partners was announced at the Tizen Developer Summit, and includes a mix of firms from different sectors. Among the 36 backers are eBay, Nokia’s Here mapping service, Konami, McAfee, Panasonic, Sharp and The Weather Channel, giving us some insights as to what software applications are likely to appear on the Linux based operating system.
Trevor Cornwell, founder and CEO of Appbackr, one of Tizen’s newly added partners, said that his firm found the operating system appealing due to its open nature, perhaps hinting that it is more open than Google’s Android mobile operating system.
He said, “The Tizen OS promises to be the most open and comprehensive software platform available for those companies wishing to target the consumers of connected devices.
“The Association’s commitment to support HTML5 applications, combined with their vision that extends beyond the smartphone and tablet ecosystem to a wider array of other connected device segments, makes it attractive to all types of companies. We look forward to collaborating with the Tizen Association to ensure that all stakeholders can contribute to the development of a platform for this growing market opportunity.”
It’s still unclear when Samsung’s first Tizen powered smartphone will make it to market, but online speculation suggests we’ll be seeing the firm’s debut Android challenging smartphone at some point in 2014.
Further speculation suggests that Samsung’s first Tizen phone will be an updated version of the Galaxy S4, possibly to reduce its reliance on Android.
The tradition continues. Our sources are confirming that Nvidia’s Logan SoC, possibly called Tegra 5, doesn’t come with an integrated LTE modem. Just like Apple, Nvidia makes a big fast chip with impressive Kepler based GPU, but it won’t put a an icera LTE solution inside the same chip.
Icera i500 is Tegra 5 compatible and it has AT&T certification. As the launch draws near, it should become compatible with other US and international LTE carriers like Verizon and T-mobile.
This should not be a big issue for Nvidia’s target market, manufacturers will have to choose two chips instead of one, a clear competitive disadvantage compared to future Qualcomm chips with Adreno 400 graphics and updated CPU cores, expected in early 2014.
During Nvidia’s recent conference call, CEO Jen Hsun Huang said devices based on the new Tegra 4i with integrated LTE should be announced in Q1 and ship no later than Q2. Jensen also mentioned that people are going to be “delighted by the OEM that it comes from” which is probably his way of of announcing some big brand design wins, but he also emphasised that the designs will be global rather than US. For US success you need CDMA Jensen said, but as far as we know Verizon is the only company using it.
Since Apple can pull of two chip designs from day one, we can only assume that two chip approach won’t cost much battery life compared to single chip design that has LTE on board (Snapdragon 600 and 800 ed. ). However, Nvidia is likely going to be making bets on its Kepler based GPU, expected to be the fastest graphics core ever integrated in a mobile SoC that will rock tablets and some phones around the world. The fact that Logan is likely to pack very powerful graphics sans on-die LTE makes it a bit more interesting for tablets than phones, which is exactly what we saw with the Tegra 4.
We expect to see Tegra 5 devices announced at CES 2014 so early January and with some luck we might see them shipping very early in 2014.
Most popular for its low-cost laptops, Acer doesn’t really inspire thoughts of premium products. But building high-end hardware could be the Taiwanese vendor’s best chance as it looks for a way to rescue its struggling business.
With consumers flocking to tablets and smartphones, Acer’s once-thriving PC business has been left in the dust. Quarterly financial losses have become routine at the company and its PC shipments declined more sharply in the past year than at any other major vendor, according to IDC.
The grim situation forced CEO J.T. Wang to resign from his post last Tuesday. Acer will also cut 7 percent of its global workforce and has assembled an advisory committee to come up with a new strategy, the company announced.
Bright spots are hard to find. The Wintel model that propelled Acer for years and helped it become the second-largest PC vendor in 2009 has been falling apart amid the demand for mobile gadgets. And Windows 8 and Intel’s Ultrabook strategy have failed to resuscitate the market.
It hasn’t helped that Acer is so reliant on sales to consumers, said IDC analyst Bryan Ma. The entire PC industry has been hurt by tablets, but Dell and Hewlett-Packard have at least managed to find cover selling PCs to businesses, which are still buying them. And Lenovo has capitalized on its position in China, now the world’s largest PC market.
“Acer didn’t really have the commercial PC business to protect themselves. That’s why they were hit harder,” Ma said.
Acer — whether to its benefit or detriment — has instead gained a reputation for low-priced PCs. Even in tablets it has tried to undercut rivals — its Iconia W4, an 8-inch Windows 8.1 tablet, starts at US$329.99, while its Iconia B Android tablet goes for $129.99. The low prices have helped keep the company on consumers’ radar, but at the expense of profits.
One option for Acer is to build a brand as a higher-end PC player. It took a step in that direction last year with the Aspire S7, a Windows laptop with a slender, aluminum chassis that sells for $1,200 and up. That product and its successors have had some success for the company, with sales of 2,000 to 3,000 units per month, said James Wang, an analyst with research firm Canalys.
“I think Acer has started to learn they are able to sell some expensive products,” he said.
Selling higher-end PCs could help stop the bleeding in Acer’s finances, but with the overall PC market still shrinking it’s unlikely to help it expand in any meaningful way. “You can’t really expect vendors in desktops and notebooks to find growth,” Wang said. “You win in the market by not falling in shipments.”
The company will stop selling plasma TVs for consumer use and PDP-related products for commercial use, such as Interactive Plasma Displays, with the current line of TVs. It expects to stop business operations at three of its display plants — the Amagasaki P3 Factory, the Amagasaki P5 Factory and the Amagasaki P4 Factory — by the end of March 2014.
Samsung and LG continue to produce plasma display televisions, but theirs are lower-end or entry-level models; they have generally put development dollars into LCD TVs, according to Paul Gray, a research analyst with NPD DisplaySearch.
“Samsung and [LG] were at best uncommitted to PDP,” Gray said in a blog post. And as for Panasonic, Gray said its “PDP research team had to counter every move in LCD and translate it to their technology…. Inevitably, they slowly lost ground.”
Since 2000, Panasonic has been the leading PDP maker. It led the global flat-panel display market by using PDP for large displays and LCD screens for small- and medium-sized displays. Only three years ago, Panasonic claimed 40% of the plasma display market.
In 2010, plasmaaccounted for 40% of flat panel TVs; this year, PDPs are expected to represent only 5% of the flat-panel market, according to according to market research firm NPD DisplaySearch.
Over the past two years, Panasonic has lost $15 billion through investments in flat-panel TV production, according to financial reports.
Plasma displays have increasingly lost market share to LCD TVs as they moved to LED backlights that narrowed the performance gap between the two technologies.
“With the rapid development of large-screen LCDs, and facing the severe price competition in the global market brought on by the Lehman Shock in September 2008, the company consolidated production in the Amagasaki P4 Factory, made a shift towards commercial applications and worked to improve the earnings of the business,” Panasonic said in a recent statement.
Panasonic will now focus its attention on “non-TV applications” and is moving to reduce its fixed costs for production of both plasma and LCD panels.
The move away from plasma HDTVs is reminiscent of the video tape wars of the 1970s and 1980s.
LG is upping the ante in smartphone technology with a new handset that has a curved touchscreen, along with a special “self healing” technology that the company claims can prevent scratches on the phone’s casing.
The South Korean electronics vendor unveiled the new phone on Monday, calling it the LG G Flex. Digital renderings of the handset were leaked earlier this month. But in its Monday announcement the company offered further details on the phone, showing that it contains a few new technologies, along with its curved display.
The G Flex is the second phone to feature a curved display, the first coming from Samsung Electronics with its Galaxy Round handset. The top and bottom of the G Flex’s 6-inch screen are curved towards the user, while on the Samsung phone it is the sides that are curved towards the viewer.
This makes LG’s handset closer to the curve of a traditional fixed-line phone handset, a design choice LG said is optimized for the contours of a face. Users can more comfortably hold the phone to their mouth and ear, improving its voice and sound quality, according to LG.
The company also touted the design by stating that the phone offers an easier grip, and holds better in a person’s back pocket. In addition, LG said the curved screen gives an “IMAX-like” experience when viewing videos, allowing for a greater field of view.
Based on an assumed initial public offering price of $18.50 — the midpoint of the range — Twitter estimates the net proceeds from the sale of shares of common stock will be roughly $1.25 billion, the company said in documentsfiled with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Some 80.5 million shares of common stock will be registered, according to the filing.
Releasing its IPO price range positions Twitter to begin its “road show,” seeking to raise funds from investors across the country. In documents filed last week, the company said it would list its shares under the ticker symbol TWTR on the New York Stock Exchange, representing a big win for the market over rival Nasdaq.
Twitter has yet to determine a date for the listing, though one report suggested Nov. 15 could be the day.
Twitter’s IPO is likely to be one of the hottest of the year and the most prominent in social media since Facebook went public last year. Twitter’s share price range will be markedly lower than Facebook’s, which priced its IPO at $38 per share.
Twitter filed for its highly anticipated public offering earlier last month.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Lenovo, despite previously denying that it was mulling a Blackberry buy (paywalled), has been given the thumbs up to cast an eye over the Canadian company’s books before making it a possible offer.
If reports are to be believed, Lenovo has joined a list of possible buyers that includes Intel, Cisco, SAP, Google, Samsung and LG.
Specific details of Lenovo’s possible acquisition are yet to be revealed, but as a newcomer to the smartphone market Lenovo recently admitted that it is selling more smartphones than tablets and PCs in China, despite being one of the only PC makers to continue showing sales growth.
However, Lenovo’s smartphone portfolio is yet to appear the UK, and the firm hasn’t seen much success outside China. However, picking up Blackberry could help Lenovo enter the global smartphone market, and the firm could be looking to take over from Blackberry as a phone maker focused on business professionals.
Lenovo might have a hard time closing a buyout deal for Blackberry, though. Rumours about a takeover have already led to speculation that such a buyout would struggle to get approval from the US and Canada, due to the company’s Chinese ownership and the fact that Blackberry does business with sensitive parts of both governments.
Blackberry didn’t comment on a possible Lenovo buyout, but instead put out its usual vague statement. A company spokesperson said, “The special committee, with the assistance of Blackberry’s independent financial and legal advisors, is conducting a robust and thorough review of strategic alternatives.”
Lenovo declined to comment on the report.
In recent months Intel’s new CEO Brian Krzanich and President Renee James made several interesting statements, signalling to Wall Street that the chipmaker gets it – it has to do more in mobile.
With smartphone shipments expected to hit one billion per year as early as next year, Intel’s newfound love of mobile chips is hardly surprising. In recent months Intel told the world that it’s now treating Atom just like Core, which means Atom will no longer look like an unwanted stepchild. On the face of it this is good news for shareholders and investors, but scratch the surface it doesn’t look too encouraging.
As a result, most analysts expect Intel to post lacklustre results on Tuesday, which is hardly surprising given the state of the PC market, which is still the bulk of Intel’s core business. Analysts expect revenue of $13.47 billion, 0.1 percent higher year-on-year, but earnings per share are estimated at $0.53, or 8.6 percent down over last year. But negative EPS forecasts aren’t the biggest problem facing Intel. Most analysts agree that 2014 won’t be much better, but there are some factors that indicate even these bleak forecasts might be too optimistic.
The first Bay Trail products are starting to appear and initial performance reports are encouraging, but they are just that – encouraging rather than groundbreaking. Benchmarks seem to indicate that Bay Trail-T tablets end up marginally slower than Qualcomm 800 and Tegra 4 based devices, which are a bit older, too. With prices ranging from $32 to $37, the first batch of Bay Trail chips also cost a bit more than their ARM competitors, but a direct comparison is not possible as ARM players don’t disclose the unit prices of their chips.
Furthermore Intel still lacks integrated LTE support, which means Bay Trail isn’t going to score big phone design wins. Intel hopes to roll out its first LTE enabled products next year, but there’s still some ambiguity. For example, Intel discrete modems are still built on TSMC silicon and it could be a couple of years before they end up on the die of an Intel SoC built in an Intel fab. While Intel could roll out the first two-chip solution next year, it’s highly unlikely that it will have a proper integrated solution before 2015.
This is a bit of a problem for more reasons than one. Many analysts don’t dig deep enough, some of these technical issues go under the radar – so they stick to Intel’s promise of LTE in 2014. Quark is also being overhyped, although it won’t generate any significant revenue over the next few years. Many analysts also believe x86 support is still a big deal, and to some extent it is, but the relevance of x86 is often exaggerated and it is diminishing as we speak. That is why Intel is talking up hybrids, or 2-in-1s – because legacy x86 support is a lot more important for hybrids than regular tablets. In smartphones, x86 support is as useless as a Facebook share button on a porn site.
However, this is where it gets interesting, because Intel is also promising $99 Bay Trail tablets. Back at IDF, Krzanich said Intel’s new tablet platform would “go below $100 by Q4 2013,” giving the impression that Intel can do dirt cheap tablets as well. We are not sure that it can, not unless it subsidizes them with heaps of cash, and we all know how well that went with Ultrabooks.
As for phones, Intel is still dead in the water and this won’t change anytime soon. Apple is quite happy designing its own custom chips and having them built by the lowest bidder. Samsung is going for off-the-shelf IP and manufacturing its Exynos 5 chips in 28nm, and it will hit 20nm soon. Qualcomm dominates the market and Intel can’t erode its lead over the next couple of product cycles. Even if Intel comes up with competitive smartphone chips in a year or two, who will they be for? Apple won’t buy them, neither will Samsung. This would leave Intel in an awkward position of fighting over scraps with heavy hitters like Qualcomm and a range of smaller ARM players like Nvidia and MediaTek.
This is hardly a viable long-term mobile strategy. Intel is basically doing the only thing it can – and doing the only thing that can be done and calling it a strategy doesn’t really make for much of a strategy.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc, JPMorgan Chase & Co and six other financial institutions have agreed to join a new instant messaging network from Markit and Thomson Reuters Corp to connect disparate messaging systems.
The network, called Markit Collaboration Services, launched on Monday and allows members to chat with one another regardless of the proprietary messaging technology that each firm uses.
This open platform differs Bloomberg LP’s messaging system, which is a closed network only for users of Bloomberg terminals.
Bloomberg messaging is the most popular form of chat on Wall Street, and often cited as one of the reasons banks are willing to pay around $20,000 a year for a subscription to a Bloomberg terminal.
Markit and Thomson Reuters said they hoped their open messaging network will attract banks that want to chat with their clients or other financial institutions but cannot currently do so because they are on different messaging systems.
The other banks that have joined the new network are Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley, according to a statement from Markit.
The banks collectively employ more than 1 million people worldwide, though it was not immediately clear how many individuals will use the new Markit service.
David Craig, president of Thomson Reuters’ Financial & Risk division, said one of the challenges facing banks is that their messaging systems do not always talk to one another. “That creates costs and complexity,” he said.
Markit and Thomson Reuters said the messages on the new network are encrypted, and the system does not store them.
Representatives from Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley were not immediately available to comment on the new messaging system. Representatives from Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan also declined to comment.