HTTP2 Procotol Nears Completion

August 14, 2014 by admin  
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When it comes to amping up traffic over the Internet, sometimes too much of a good thing may not be such a good thing at all.

The Internet Engineering Task Force is putting the final touches on HTTP/2, the second version of the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP). The working group has issued a last call draft, urging interested parties to voice concerns before it becomes a full Internet specification.

Not everyone is completely satisfied with the protocol however.

“There is a lot of good in this proposed standard, but I have some deep reservations about some bad and ugly aspects of the protocol,” wrote Greg Wilkins, lead developer of the open source Jetty server software, noting his concerns in a blog item posted Monday.

Others, however, praise HTTP/2 and say it is long overdue.

“A lot of our users are experimenting with the protocol,” said Owen Garrett, head of products for server software provider NGINX. “The feedback is that generally, they have seen big performance benefits.”

First created by Web originator Tim Berners-Lee and associates, HTTP quite literally powers today’s Web, providing the language for a browser to request a Web page from a server.

Version 2.0 of HTTP, based largely on the SPDY protocol developed by Google, promises to be a better fit for how people use the Web.

“The challenge with HTTP is that it is a fairly simple protocol, and it can be quite laborious to download all the resources required to render a Web page. SPDY addresses this issue,” Garrett said.

While the first generation of Web sites were largely simple and relatively small, static documents, the Web today is used as a platform for delivering applications and bandwidth intensive real-time multimedia content.

HTTP/2 speeds basic HTTP in a number of ways. HTTP/2 allows servers to send all the different elements of a requested Web page at once, eliminating the serial sets of messages that have to be sent back and forth under plain HTTP.

HTTP/2 also allows the server and the browser to compress HTTP, which cuts the amount of data that needs to be communicated between the two.

As a result, HTTP/2 “is really useful for organization with sophisticated Web sites, particularly when its users are distributed globally or using slower networks — mobile users for instance,” Garrett said.

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HP Increases SlateBook Pricing

August 13, 2014 by admin  
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Hewlett-Packard’s SlateBook 14 laptop with Google’s Android OS has started shipping on schedule, but it’s priced at $429, which is $30 more than the company had said it would cost.

The laptop, which has a 14-inch screen and Android 4.3, was announced in June. At the time, HP said it would be priced at $399.

It is available on HP’s website.

The SlateBook 14 was introduced after customers told HP they wanted laptops with Android. The laptop has an interface similar to that on Android tablets and can adjust mobile apps to run on the larger touchscreen. Users will also be able to sync laptop data with mobile devices and vice versa.

The laptop is also for those who rely on the Web for most of their computing, much like Chromebooks. It has a few advantages over Chromebooks, with support for key Android apps such as Skype. Android also boasts better wireless printing support than Chromebooks.

The laptop weighs 1.68 kilograms and offers nine hours of battery life, according to specifications on HP’s website.

It has a quad-core Tegra 4 processor, 2GB of DRAM and 16GB of storage. Connectivity features include 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It also has a webcam, USB 3.0 port and a micro-SD slot for expandable storage.

It could be a strong multimedia laptop with a 1920 x 1080 pixel screen and an integrated graphics processor that can handle 4K video. TVs can be connected to the laptop through an HDMI port.

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Intel Reveals 750 Series SSD

June 27, 2014 by admin  
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During the 3D Revolution 2014 presentation held in Rome, Intel has showed its updated SSD roadmap unveiling the new August Ridge SSD 750 Series which will be available in multiple form-factors, including lately popular M.2.

Spotted by Techpowerup.com, the Intel SSD 750 Series will be aimed at both the consumer and the professional market segments and be available in three form-factors, including 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps, mSATA 6Gbps as well as the M.2 form-factor.

The new 750 SSD Series will most likely be available in all the popular capacities, up to 960GB, and be based on 20nm MLC NAND flash.

Unfortunately, the roadmap does not reveal many details regarding the performance of the SSD 750 Series but does note that it should launch in Q4 2014.

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Broadcom Going Smart Devices

June 19, 2014 by admin  
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Broadcom has come out with a new “smart” chip which it hopes will be at the cutting edge of wearable PCs, such as smartwatches, heart and blood-pressure monitor.

Dubbed Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices (WICED) smart chip, Broadcom’s designs are supposed to support wireless charging for devices that are too small to connect via a power cord. The devices run an ARM Cortex M3 applications processor that reduces size and cost for OEMs and supports A4WP wireless charging and enhanced data security modes in addition to secure over-the-air firmware updates.

This is an integrated ARM CM3 microcontroller unit with radio frequency and Embedded Bluetooth Smart Stack, all on a single chip. Brian Bedrosian, Broadcom senior director of Embedded Wireless and Wireless Connectivity said that his outfit wanted to push the boundaries on what wearables are capable of with our new smart chip. Broadcom competes in the marketplace with companies such as Taiwan Semiconductor, Marvell and Xilinx.

The Broadcom WICED Smart chip is currently sampling with evaluation boards and SDKs. It is expected to become available sometime in 2014.

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Blackberry Goes Infotainment

June 17, 2014 by admin  
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Blackberry’s QNX Software Systems has announced a partnership that will allow its infotainment system to be placed in car’s digital instrument clusters.

The technology will allow drivers to see their music lists and album art, turn-by-turn navigation directions and local news in between instruments such as the speedometer and tachometer.

BlackBerry announced its collaboration with Rightware, a maker of automotiveuser interface design tools, at the Telematics Detroit show here. The collaboration combines the QNX Neutrino operating system and the Rightware Kanzi user interface.

QNX demonstrated the instrument cluster in a Mercedes-Benz concept car. The system also uses MirrorLink, an industry standard for the integration ofsmartphones into infotainment systems. The system is able to mirror Android-based smartphones to both the infotainment center on the console and the instrument cluster display.

With the MirrorLink connection, the instrument cluster can display realtime information, such as local speed limits, turn-by-turn directions, traffic reports and incoming phone calls. Because the cluster is fully digital, it can dynamically change views, highlighting the most important information and using advanced visualizations to help the driver process information more quickly.

“QNX Software Systems and Rightware have already worked together on successful production programs, including the exciting new Audi virtual cockpit,” said Peter McCarthy, director of global alliances for QNX.

With the Kanzi software, developers can create UIs with photorealistic, real-time 2D and 3D graphics. The QNX OS enables the Kanzi UI to access vehicle data and services, including navigation, multimedia, speed, RPM, and car diagnostics. It essentially provides an abstraction layer based on QNX’s persistent publish/subscribe (PPS) technology.

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Box Launches HTML 5 Tool

April 17, 2014 by admin  
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Box has updated developer usage plans and opened access to a document viewing tool as it looks to build momentum ahead of its IPO.

Box has made its HTML5 document viewing tool called Box View available for developers to incorporate into their companies’ products and services.

It was unveiled in beta mode last September at the firm’s annual Boxworks conference and is designed to help firms ensure that documents in any format can be viewed online. The tool is based on technology Box acquired in its acquisition of Crocodoc.

Box product manager Sean Rose explained in a blog post, “Box View is an API that converts Office and PDF documents to easily embeddable HTML5, enabling developers to create beautiful experiences around content. Gone are the days of forcing users to deal with broken and inconsistent experiences across platforms.

“With just a few simple API calls, developers can create an elegant and consistent content experience across all platforms.”

Box cited some customers that are already using this service, such as UberConference, Xero and Shake to ensure that they can send information to partners, customers and contractors quickly and easily.

Furthermore, the firm has based the pricing model for the tool on a per-use basis, rather than a traditional per-user basis.

For users of the service as a Box-branded platform – so it displays the Box logo, rather than the customer’s own logo – it’s free for 1,000 document uploads per month. After that it’s priced at 2.5 cents per document.

Custom use of the tool so the customer’s own logo is displayed costs $250 per month for 2,500 uploads. Each document after that costs five cents per upload, but enterprise users can thrash out a deal with Box for any service they expect to handle over 10,000 document uploads a month.

“Most developers will never have to pay anything for Box View, and, for those that do, Box View pricing is built to scale alongside your app’s user base,” added Rose.

As part of this encouragement to developers to incorporate Box into its tools the firm has also unveiled new pricing models around its APIs, to again focus on usage levels rather than user numbers.

Integrating with Box in general is free for developers, and up to 25,000 interactions with the Box Content API is free too. For 25,000 or more API interactions the cost is $500 per month. Any more than this and custom deals are available.

Box VP of Platform Chris Yeh explained that this move was designed “specifically for businesses that want to leverage the APIs at scale” to help keep pace with the growth the firm is seeing.

“More than 35,000 developers are building on Box. Every month, our platform sees one billion third-party API calls, and the Box OneCloud ecosystem just reached 1,000 app integration partners,” Yeh said.

The updates come at a busy time for Box after it filed to go public earlier this week in a listing worth $250m, as it looks to build on its early success in the enterprise market.

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AMD Buys Mobile Patents

April 2, 2014 by admin  
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China’s Lenovo is acquiring patents related to 3G and 4G technologies from U.S.-based Unwired Planet for $100 million, as the company sets about expanding with its proposed Motorola Mobility acquisition.

The 21 patent families that Lenovo is purchasing from Unwired Planet will help the Chinese company grow its smartphone and mobile business in new markets, it said Thursday.

In addition, Unwired Planet is licensing its patent portfolio to Lenovo for an unspecified number of years. The Nevada-based company develops mobile technologies in use by carriers including AT&T and Sprint. After its deal with Lenovo closes, Unwired Planet said it will have about 2,500 issued and pending international patents in its portfolio.

Although Lenovo is best known as a PC maker, the company is aiming to becoming a major vendor of mobile phones. Already, in its home market of China, Lenovo ranks as one of the biggest smartphone vendors, and has dozens of different models on the local market.

Lenovo’s mobile phone business is set to grow even larger. In January, the company announced it planned to buy Motorola Mobility from Google for $2.9 billion.

With the proposed acquisition, Lenovo’s handset business will get a foothold in the North American market. The company plans to keep the Motorola business intact, and even use the business to sell phones in its home market of China.

The Motorola deal will also help Lenovo shield itself from patent-related lawsuits that have been used to try to stymie the businesses of other handset makers. By buying Motorola, Lenovo will take ownership of more than 2,000 patent assets and also gain access to Google’s own patent portfolio.

Lenovo’s deal with Unwired Planet is expected to close in 30 days.

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Is Ethernet For Autos?

March 11, 2014 by admin  
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The most ubiquitous local area networking technology used by large companies may be packing its bags for a road trip.

As in-vehicle electronics become more sophisticated to support autonomous driving, cameras, and infotainment systems, Ethernet has become a top contender for connecting them.

For example, the BMW X5 automobile, released last year, used single-pair twisted wire, 100Mbps Ethernet to connect its driver-assistance cameras.

Paris-based Parrot, which supplies mobile accessories to automakers BMW, Hyundai and others, has developed in-car Ethernet. Its first Ethernet-connected systems could hit the market as soon as 2015, says Eric Riyahi, executive vice president of global operations.

Parrot’s new Ethernet-based Audio Video Bridging (AVB) technology uses Broadcom’s BroadR-Reach automotive Ethernet controller chips.

The AVB technology’s network management capabilities allows automakers to control the timing of data streams between specific network nodes in a vehicle and controls the bandwidth in order to manage competing data traffic.

Ethernet’s greater bandwidth could provide drivers with turn-by-turn navigation while a front-seat passenger streams music from the Internet, and each back-seat passenger watches streaming videos on separate displays.

“In-car Ethernet is seen as a very promising way to provide the needed bandwidth for coming new applications within the fields of connectivity, infotainment and safety,” said Hans Alminger, senior manager for Diagnostics & ECU Platform at Volvo, in a statement.

Ethernet was initially used by automakers only for on-board diagnostics. But as automotive electronics advanced, the technology has found a place in advanced driver assistance systems and infotainment platforms.

Many manufacturers also use Ethernet to connect rear vision cameras to a car’s infotainment or safety system, said Patrick Popp, chief technology officer of Automotive at TE Connectivity, a maker of car antennas and other automobile communications parts.

Currently, however, there are as many as nine proprietary auto networking specifications, including LIN, CAN/CAN-FD, MOST and FlexRay. FlexRay, for example, has a 10Mbps transmission rate. Ethernet could increase that 10 fold or more.

The effort to create a single vehicle Ethernet standard is being lead by Open Alliance and the IEEE 802.3 working group. The groups are working to establish 100Mbps and 1Gbps Ethernet as de facto standards.

The first automotive Ethernet standard draft is expected this year.

The Open Alliance claims more than 200 members, including General Motors, Ford, Daimler, Honda, Hyundai, BMW, Toyota, Volkswagen. Jaguar Land Rover, Renault, Volvo, Bosch, Freescale and Harman.

Broadcom, which makes electronic control unit chips for automobiles, is a member of the Open Alliance and is working on the effort to standardize automotive Ethernet.

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Google Moves into Conerencing

February 18, 2014 by admin  
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Google Inc introduced a videoconferencing system for businesses on Thursday, the Internet search company’s latest attempt to generate revenue from corporate customers.

Google said it was partnering with Asus, Hewlett-Packard Co and Dell to offer a specialized version of its Chromebox PC that comes with videoconferencing gear, including a video camera and speakers.

The first Chromebox for meetings to be available is made by Asus and goes on sale in the U.S. on Thursday for $999, Google said. Customers can also pay a $250 annual service and management fee, though the first year is included in the product’s sales price.

The product uses Google’s free Hangouts video chat technology to connect up to 15 separate video streams from users in different locations.

The product will put Google in competition against Cisco Systems Inc and Polycom Inc, which make the video conferencing systems used by many corporations.

The world’s largest Internet search engine, Google makes the vast majority of its revenue from advertising. But Google also sells services to corporate customers, including special versions of its online apps such as email and word processing, as well as Chromebook laptops aimed at business users.

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Is The US & UK Lacking In Broadband?

December 11, 2013 by admin  
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The US and UK are stragglers when it comes to consumer broadband download speeds and appear far down in table rankings.

This puts the countries, swaggering authoritarian surveillance monsters that they are, rather low down on the satisfaction scale.

The ranking produced by Ookla is based on results from Speedtest servers, and is called the Net Index.

“Based on millions of recent test results from Speedtest.net, this index compares and ranks consumer download speeds around the globe,” is the explanation.

“The value is the rolling mean throughput in Mbps over the past 30 days where the mean distance between the client and the server is less than 300 miles.”

Hong Kong takes pole position and it is credited as having download speeds in the area of 71.03 Mbps. There is a big drop of around 20 Mbps down to Singapore in second place with 52.85 Mbps and third is Romania, where speeds are 50.82 Mbps.

You have to look a long way down the list before arriving at the UK, which is in 25th place. Here, or there depending on where you live, consumers get a rather meagre sounding 23.55 Mbps.

The United States weighs in at 31st place and has download speeds of 20.77 Mbps. This puts it below the UK, Germany, Estonia, Hungary, Greece and 25 others.

Closer to home the European Commission has published its report on Broadband Coverage in Europe (2012) and reveals progress on broadband coverage targets. It found that while broadband has improved, it could be faster.

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