Ubuntu will not offer cross-platform apps as soon as it had hoped.
Canonical had raised hopes that its plan for Ubuntu to span PCs and mobile devices would be realised with the upcoming Ubuntu 14.04 release, providing a write-once, run-on-many template similar to that planned by Google for its Chrome OS and Android app convergence.
This is already possible on paper and the infrastructure is in place on smartphone and tablet versions of Ubuntu through its new Unity 8 user interface.
However, Canonical has decided to postpone the rollout of Unity 8 for desktop machines, citing security concerns, and it will now not appear along with the Mir display server this coming autumn.
This will apply only to apps in the Ubuntu store, and in the true spirit of open source, anyone choosing to step outside that ecosystem will be able to test the converged Ubuntu before then.
Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon told Ars Technica, “We don’t plan on shipping apps in the new converged store on the desktop until Unity 8 and Mir lands.
“The reason is that we use app insulation to (a) run apps securely and (b) not require manual reviews (so we can speed up the time to get apps in the store). With our plan to move to Mir, our app insulation doesn’t currently insulate against X apps sniffing events in other X apps. As such, while Ubuntu SDK apps in click packages will run on today’s Unity 7 desktop, we don’t want to make them readily available to users until we ship Mir and have this final security consideration in place.
“Now, if a core-dev or motu wants to manually review an Ubuntu SDK app and ship it in the normal main/universe archives, the security concern is then taken care of with a manual review, but we are not recommending this workflow due to the strain of manual reviews.”
As well as the aforementioned security issues, there are still concerns that cross-platform apps don’t look quite as good on the desktop as native desktop versions and the intervening six months will be used to polish the user experience.
Getting the holistic experience right is essential for Ubuntu in order to attract OEMs to the converged operating system. Attempts to crowdfund its own Ubuntu handset fell short of its ambitious $20m target, despite raising $10.2 million, the single largest crowdfunding total to date.
Intel has decided that some of its budget Bay Trail parts have been out evolved and flung them into a tar pit. According to CPU World the parts first appeared in September. Intel released budget Bay Trail systems on a chip for mobile and desktop markets, under Celeron and Pentium brands.
They were manufactured on 22nm technology, and featured such enhancements as greater number of CPU cores, higher clock speeds, beefed up graphics unit, not to mention an out-of-order microarchitecture, that improved per-clock CPU performance by up to 30 per cent faster compared to their predecessors. With this performance goodness it is a little surprising the Intel has decided that all the all Bay Trail SoCs will be discontinued in a matter of a few months. Details of the planned discontinuation were published this week by Intel in several Product Change Notification documents.
The Desktop Pentium J2850, along with mobile Celeron N2810 and Pentium N3510 are already End of Lifed and its last orders will be in two weeks, on February 11. The chips will ship until April 25, 2014. Also retired are mobile Celeron N2806, N2815, N2820, N2920, and Pentium N3520. Their EOL date is April 11, 2014, and they will ship until May 30, 2014. On August 22, 2014, Intel is going to discontinue Celeron J1750, J1850, N2805 and N2910. The “J” models are desktop processors, and the “N” are mobile ones. There is no word on Z-series Bay Trail-T parts, none appear to be EOL’d at this time.
Furthermore, on the same date Intel will retire Core i7-3940XM Extreme Edition, and boxed and tray versions of Core i7-3840QM and i7-3740QM CPUs. The last shipment date for the Celerons and Core i7s is February 6, 2015.
Tokyo-based investment fund Japan Industrial Partners (JIP) will operate the Vaio PC brand under a newly established firm and initially sell PCs in Japan only.
In another reform aimed at bolstering its restructuring efforts, Sony also said it would turn its beleaguered TV business into a subsidiary.
The moves come as Sony said it now expects a net loss of $1.1 billion for the year to the end of March, a reversal of its October profit forecast.
Vaio, which Sony introduced in 1996, looks set to vanish from most markets, at least for short term, as the new company will initially concentrate on selling consumer and corporate PCs in Japan. Whether or not Sony will continue to produce products under the Vaio brand remains to be seen, Sony said.
Although Sony is selling its PC business, it will continue to produce tablet computers, part of its renewed focus on mobile devices including smartphones.
Sony did not put a price on the sale. Sony will take a 5% stake in the new firm, it said.
Sony will stop making and selling PCs after its 2014 Spring lineup launch, but about 250 to 300 Sony staff, including some from a subsidiary that produces TV sets, cameras and computers at factories in Japan, will be hired by the new company, which is to be based at the hub of Sony’s current PC business in Japan’s Nagano Prefecture.
Meanwhile, Sony said it will turn its TV business, which has faced a decade of losses, into a wholly owned subsidiary by July 2014.
Taiwanese PC maker Acer reported worse-than-expected quarterly loss. Actually, it had been expected to be bad, but no one had predicted it would be this bad.
For the fourth quarter, the world’s No.4 PC vendor reported a net loss of $254 million. The company had posted a worse-than-expected net loss of $446 million in the third quarter and a $112.31 million loss in the same quarter of 2012. In short, its troubles have been getting worse for more than two years.
At the end of last year the company named former Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co sales executive Jason Chen as its new CEO and launched a new initiative to integrate hardware, software and cloud services. It will be a while before the new broom can sweep out two years of doom, so many are expecting more doom to emerge. Acer relied too heavily on making low-end laptops, which weakened its brand, it also missed the shift to mobile.
Acer’s senior executives are taking a 30 per cent voluntary salary cut starting January, the company said in a statement.
ZTE, which trails nearby rival Huawei Technologies Co Ltd in selling both smartphones and telecoms equipment, wants more share of the fat profit margins promised by sales of high-end phones in the United States.
But the company needs to first work on its image. Its mainstay telecom equipment business was essentially shut out of the U.S. and other markets after government officials flagged security concerns about Chinese-made equipment.
ZTE targets a U.S. market share of 10 percent by 2017 from 6 percent in 2013, Lv Qianhao, global marketing director of mobile devices, told Reuters at a company event on Thursday.
That would place it a distant third behind Apple Inc with 41 percent and Samsung Electronics Co Ltd with 26 percent, according to September-November data from researcher comScore.
To that end, ZTE will increase its U.S. marketing budget by at least 120 percent this year from last, Lv said without elaborating. Like other Chinese handset makers, ZTE is grappling with low brand awareness in the world’s second-largest smartphone market and perceptions of inferior quality.
Samsung Electronics, which earns around two-thirds of its operating profit from its mobile division, spent $597 million on marketing in the United States in 2012, according to researcher AdAge.
Last year, ZTE signed a deal with the Houston Rockets basketball team and released a Rockets-branded phone.
“We want young U.S. consumers to participate in our marketing activities, so we will have more NBA (National Basketball Association) stores and channels that sell our products,” Lv said.
Globally, ZTE aims to ship around 60 million smartphones this year compared with about 40 million smartphones last year, said Senior Vice President Zhang Renjun.
The company sees much of that growth in developed markets – including Russia and China- which accounted for 68 percent of mobile device revenue last year compared with 35 percent in 2007, said Lv.
ZTE’s mobile device business sells feature phones as well as smartphones. It was the fifth-biggest mobile phone vendor in July-September, according to researcher Gartner, though it fell out of the top five smartphone sellers list in the same period.
ZTE expects to have swung to a profit for last year having booked its first-ever loss as a public company in 2012.
It based its turnaround on cutting costs, signing fewer low-margin contracts, and winning contracts to build fourth generation telecommunication networks.
The company expects global investment in 4G to reach $100 billion this year, Zhang said.
Scientist have emerged from their smoke filled labs with transparent thin-film organic semiconductors that could become the foundation for cheap, high-performance displays. Two university research teams have worked together to produce the world’s fastest thin-film organic transistors, proving that this experimental technology has the potential to achieve the performance needed for high-resolution television screens and similar electronic devices.
According to the latest issue of Nature Communications, engineers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and Stanford University show how they created thin-film organic transistors that could operate more than five times faster than previous examples of this experimental technology.
Research teams led by Zhenan Bao, professor of chemical engineering at Stanford, and Jinsong Huang, assistant professor of mechanical and materials engineering at UNL used their new process to make organic thin-film transistors with electronic characteristics comparable to those found in expensive, curved-screen television displays based on a form of silicon technology.
At the moment the high tech method is to drop a special solution, containing carbon-rich molecules and a complementary plastic, onto a spinning platter made of glass. The spinning action deposits a thin coating of the materials over the platter. The boffins worked out that if they spun the platter faster and coated a tiny portion of the spinning surface, equivalent to the size of a postage stamp they could put a denser concentration of the organic molecules into a more regular alignment. The result was a great improvement in carrier mobility, which measures how quickly electrical charges travel through the transistor.
Sales of Chromebooks enjoyed rapid growth,going from basically nothing in 2012 to more than 20 percent of the U.S. commercial PC market, analyst firm NPD reported, while Windows PCs and Macs remained flat at best.
NPD estimated that, throughout all of 2013, 14.4 million desktops, notebooks, and tablets were sold through U.S. commercial channels, typically resellers. That compares to 16.4 million PCs, overall, sold in the U.S. during the third quarter alone–excluding tablets, according to IDC. All told, about 46.2 million PCs have been sold in the U.S. during 2013, IDC found.
Within that segment, however, NPD reported some intriguing findings. Chromebooks, once largely the province of Acer and Samsung, have been embraced by Dell, HP, and others–not the least of which are paying customers. In 2012, Chromebook sales were “negligible,” NPD reported. But in the space of a single year, they climbed to 21 percent, NPD found, helping push overall notebook PC growth up by 28.9 percent.
Windows notebooks, however, contributed nothing to that, as NPD found that growth was flat. Worse still, Macs actually declined, with combined sales of desktops and notebooks falling by 7 percent. Windows tablet sales tripled, albeit off what NPD called “a very small base”.
The message? Businesses are turning to the Web, which Chromebooks almost exclusively run. And those low-cost, Net-focused devices are becoming engines of productivity. As a result, they’re receiving validation from traditional PC vendors including Acer, Asus, Dell, and Hewlett-Packard, plus Google’s own Pixel.
“The market for personal computing devices in commercial markets continues to shift and change,” saidA Stephen Baker, vice president of industry analysis at NPD, in a statement.A “New products like Chromebooks, and reimagined items like Windows tablets, are now supplementing the revitalization that iPads started in personal computing devices. It is no accident that we are seeing the fruits of this change in the commercial markets as business and institutional buyers exploit the flexibility inherent in the new range of choices now open to them.”
Naturally, tablet sales continued to explode, capturing 22 percent(or about 3.16 million units) of all the computing device sales sold through the U.S. channel. Of all tablets sold commercially, iPads dominated with 59 percent of all unit sales, leaving the rest to Android (which grew more than 160 percent) and Windows.
Baker said that diversity will be key to the future success of hardware makers, a signpost for what vendors might release at 2014 and the weeks and months following.
Red Hat has made available a beta of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 (RHEL 7) for testers, just weeks after the final release of RHEL 6.5 to customers.
RHEL 7 is aimed at meeting the requirements of future applications as well as delivering scalability and performance to power cloud infrastructure and enterprise data centers.
Available to download now, the RHEL 7 beta introduces a number of enhancements, including better support for Linux Containers, in-place upgrades, XFS as the default file system, improved networking support and improved compatibility with Windows networks.
Inviting customers, partners, and members of the public to download the RHEL 7 beta and provide feedback, Red Hat is promoting the upcoming version as its most ambitious release to date. The code is based on Red Hat’s community developed Fedora 19 distribution of Linux and the upstream Linux 3.10 kernel, the firm said.
“Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7 is designed to provide the underpinning for future application architectures while delivering the flexibility, scalability, and performance needed to deploy across bare metal, virtual machines, and cloud infrastructure,” Senior Product Marketing Manager Kimberly Craven wrote on the Red Hat Enterprise Linux blog.
These improvements address a number of key areas, including virtualisation, management and interoperability.
Linux Containers, for example, was partially supported in RHEL 6.5, but this release enables applications to be created and deployed using Linux Container technology, such as the Docker tool. Containers offers operating system level virtualisation, which provides isolation between applications without the overhead of virtualising the entire server.
Red Hat said it is now supporting an in-place upgrade feature for common server deployment types. This will allow customers to migrate existing RHEL 6.5 systems to RHEL 7 without downtime.
RHEL 7 also makes the switch to XFS as its default file system, supporting file configurations up to 500TB, while ext4 file systems are now supported up to 50TB in size and B-tree file system (btrfs) implementations are available for users to test.
Interoperability with Windows has also been improved, with Red Hat now including the ability to bridge Windows and Linux infrastructure by integrating RHEL 7 and Samba 4.1 with Microsoft Active Directory domains. Red Hat Enterprise Linux Identity Management can also be deployed in a parallel trust zone alongside Active Directory, the firm said.
On the networking side, RHEL 7 provides support for 40Gbps Ethernet, along with improved channel bonding, TCP performance improvements and low latency socket poll support.
Other enhancements include support for very large scale storage configurations, including enterprise storage arrays, and uniform management tools for networking, storage, file systems, identities and security using the OpenLMI framework.
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.