Comments Off on Verizon Emerged As Favorite Bidder For Yahoo
Verizon Communications Inc is the clear favorite in the fast approaching bid for Yahoo Inc’s core Internet business, according to Wall Street analysts, in large part because the telecommunications company’s efforts to become a force in Internet content have gone relatively well under the leadership of AOL Inc Chief Executive Tim Armstrong.
Verizon acquired AOL last June for $4.4 billion – its first big foray into the advertising-supported Internet business – and it is not yet clear how well the unit is performing financially. Subsequent moves, including the takeover of much of Microsoft Corp’s advertising technology business, a deal to buy Millennial Media for about $250 million and the recent launch of the mobile video service go90, are also too recent to assess.
Yet analysts have given the big phone company high marks for allowing AOL to operate independently and folding in other recent acquisitions without much drama. And they said Armstrong seems to be driving Verizon’s recent moves in go90 and recent acquisitions.
“The management puts a lot of faith in Armstrong,” BTIG analyst Walt Piecyk said.
That faith derives in part from the belief that Armstrong did a good job at left-for-dead AOL, especially in assembling a strong set of products to deliver targeted digital ads to customers.
Combining AOL and Yahoo, an idea that has come up many times over the years, could instantly make Yahoo a major player in Internet advertising, with Armstrong – one of the world’s top ad executives – at the helm, analysts said.
Armstrong “has good M&A experience, and a pretty solid ad tech stack,” B. Riley & Co analyst Sameet Sinha said.
Verizon’s hands-off approach that has worked with AOL, though, might not be suitable if the far-bigger Yahoo were taken over. With Yahoo’s struggling business, “the luxury of autonomy is simply not there,” Recon Analytics analyst Roger Entner said.
Verizon, AOL and Yahoo declined to comment.
Comments Off on iPhone SE Goes With Qualcomm Inside
Contrary to our previous reports we got a tip that iPhone SE will continue using Qualcomm modems and not change to Intel.
The tear downs will start happening soon but our sources very close to the matter said with high certainly that all iPhone SE come with an updated Qualcomm modem.
Intel is still in the run but apparently Apple still felt confident to continue using Qualcomm even for this generation of the phone. A few analysts did suggested that iPhone 7 and beyond might get Intel LTE hardware, but not with iPhone SE.
Back in December, when we originally wrote that Intel got the iPhone SE deal, our sources did suggest that Apple can still change its mind if it doesn’t feel that Intel modem is ready. This might be the case, but in the future, we are quite confident that Apple will get a second LTE supplier at some point, just as it did with different manufacturing fabs.
Having two suppliers will drive the cost down, and for Apple every dollar or cent they save of components means millions more in its pocket. Apple claims “LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s,” but it doesn’t give a real number. The iPhone 5S uses MDM9615 that was first introduced in 2011. This modem is at the technology range of Cat 4, X5 modem that Qualcomm ships in its entry level SoCs or as an external component.
We will have to wait for the first teardowns to appear as it is not easy to get to “ LTE up to 50 percent faster than iPhone 5s.” You would need a modem that is capable of 225 Mbps and the next of potential candidates for the iPhone SE is the MDM 20nm 9×35. Qualcomm calls this modem X7 these days, it use to call it Gobi back in late 2014 and this is a Cat 6, 300 Mbit per second download and 50 Mbit per second upload capable chip.
The fact that Apple continues the exclusive deal with Qualcomm is bad news for Intel, but we are sure that the team blue will keep working on getting inside of iPhone.
Comments Off on Is Apple Trying To Rain On Intel’s Parade?
Intel’s cunning plans for computers that will recognize human emotion using its RealSense 3D camera, have been killed off in the short term by Apple.
RealSense is a mix of infrared, laser and optical cameras to measure depth and track motion. It can be used on a drone that can navigate its own way through a city block, but it is also good at detecting changes in facial expressions, and Intel wanted to give RealSense the ability to read human emotions by combining it with an emotion recognition technology developed by Emotient.
Plugging in Emotient allowed RealSense to detect whether people are happy or sad by analyzing movement in their lips, eyes and cheeks. Intel said that it could detect “anger, contempt, disgust, fear,” and other sentiments.
A few months ago the fruity cargo cult Apple acquired Emotient. Intel has removed the Emotient plug-in from the latest version of the RealSense software development kit.
It is not clear at this point if Apple told Intel that it invented the plug in and so it had to sling its hook, or if Intel did not want Jobs’ Mob anywhere near its technology.
The RealSense SDK has features that allow it to recognize some facial expressions, but it’s unclear if they’ll be as effective as the Emotient technology.
Qualcomm has thrown its hat into the virtual reality (VR) ring with the launch of the Snapdragon VR SDK for Snapdragon-based smartphones and VR headsets.
The SDK gives developers access to advanced VR features, according to Qualcomm, allowing them to simplify development and attain improved performance and power efficiency with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 processor, found in Android smartphones such as the Galaxy S7 and tipped to feature in upcoming VR headsets.
In terms of features, the development kit offers tools such as digital signal processing (DSP) sensor fusion, which allows devs to use the “full breadth” of technologies built into the Snapdragon 820 chip to create more responsive and immersive experiences.
It will help developers combine high-frequency inertial data from gyroscopes and accelerometers, and there’s what the company calls “predictive head position processing” based on its Hexagon DSP, while Qualcomm’s Symphony System Manager makes easier access to power and performance management for more stable frame rates in VR applications running on less-powerful devices.
Fast motion to photon will offer single buffer rendering to reduce latency by up to 50 percent, while stereoscopic rendering with lens correction offers support for 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience.
Stereoscopic rendering with lens correction supports 3D binocular vision with color correction and barrel distortion for improved visual quality of graphics and video, enhancing the overall VR experience.
Rounding off the features is VR layering, which improves overlays in a virtual world to reduce distortion.
David Durnil, senior director of engineering at Qualcomm, said: “We’re providing advanced tools and technologies to help developers significantly improve the virtual reality experience for applications like games, 360 degree VR videos and a variety of interactive education and entertainment applications.
“VR represents a new paradigm for how we interact with the world, and we’re excited to help mobile VR developers more efficiently deliver compelling and high-quality experiences on upcoming Snapdragon 820 VR-capable Android smartphones and headsets.”
The Snapdragon VR SDK will be available to developers in the second quarter through the Qualcomm Developer Network.
The launch of Qualcomm’s VR SDK comes just moments after AMD also entered the VR arena with the launch of the Sulon Q, a VR-ready wearable Windows 10 PC.
Intel is adapting its RealSense depth camera into an augmented reality headset design which it might be licensing to other manufacturers.
The plan is not official yet but appears to have been leaked to the Wall Street Journal. Achin Bhowmik, who oversees RealSense as vice president and general manager of Intel’s perceptual computing group, declined to discuss unannounced development efforts.
But he said Intel has a tradition of creating prototypes for products like laptop computers to help persuade customers to use its components. We have to build the entire experience ourselves before we can convince the ecosystem,” Bhowmik said.
Intel appears to be working on an augmented-reality headset when it teamed up with IonVR to to work on an augmented-reality headset that could work with a variety of operating systems, including Android and iOS. Naturally, it had a front-facing RealSense camera.
RealSense depth camera has been in development for several years and was shown as a viable product technology at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2014. Since then, nothing has happened and Microsoft’s Kinect sensor technology for use with Windows Hello in the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book knocked it aside.
Intel’s biggest issue is that it is talking about making a consumer product which is something that it never got the hang of.
RealSense technology is really good at translating real-world objects into virtual space. In fact a lot better than the HoloLens because it can scan the user’s hands and translate them into virtual objects that can manipulate other virtual objects.
In a sweeping change of course directed at a tightly controlled television industry, cable and satellite operators in the United States will now be obligated to let their customers freely choose which set-top boxes they can use, according to a proposal announced by the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday.
The move is expected to have wide-ranging implications for large technology companies looking to get their brand names into every consumer’s living room. For example, under the new rules, Google, Amazon and Apple would now be allowed to create entertainment room devices that blend Internet and cable programming in a way the television industry has until now resisted. Next-generation media players, including the Chromecast, Fire TV and Apple TV, would now be granted permission to line the backs of their devices with coaxial inputs and internal “smart access card” equivalents integrated right into device firmware with a simple subscription activation process.
As the Wall Street Journal notes, Senators Edward Markey of Massachusetts and Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut investigated the cable set-top box market last summer and found that the cable industry generates roughly $19.1 billion in annual revenue from cable box rentals alone.
Meanwhile, the cost of cable set-top boxes has risen 185 percent since 1995, while the cost of PCs, televisions and smartphones has dropped by 90 percent. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler admits that these economies of scale don’t need to remain so unbalanced any longer.
The FCC says its focus will be primarily on improving day-to-day television experience. In the past, the burdensome requirements of long-term contracts tethered to clunky, unsightly cable and satellite boxes has been a major source of customer complaints.
Wheeler has also said that access to specific video content shouldn’t be frustrating to the average consumer in an age where we are constantly surrounded by a breadth of information to sift through. “Improved search functions [can] lead consumers to a variety of video content that is buried behind guides or available on video services you can’t access with your set-top box today,” Wheeler says.
The FCC is expected to vote on the proposal on Thursday, February 18th. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s full statement on the commission’s new proposal can be found here.
Facebook is contemplating the development of a dedicated service or page where users will be able watch videos and not be bothered by other content.
The social network continues to see surging interest in video. During one day last quarter, its users watched a combined 100 million hours of video. Roughly 500 million users watch at least some video each day.
That’s a lot of video and a lot of viewers, and Facebook wants to capitalize on it.
“We are exploring a dedicated place on Facebook for when they just want to watch videos,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Wednesday during a conference call to discuss Facebook’s quarterly financial results.
But he was tight-lipped on how the video might actually be presented.
Asked if a stand-alone video app is in the cards, he mentioned the success of Messenger and a Facebook app for managing Pages. “I do think there are additional opportunities for this and we’ll continue looking at them,” he said.
Facebook wants to encourage more video viewing because it keeps users on the site longer, helping it to sell more ads.
“Marketers also really love video and it’s a compelling way to reach consumers,” COO Sheryl Sandberg said during the call.
Zuckerberg has been watching the growth of video for osme time. At a town hall meeting in November 2014, he predicted, ”In five years, most of [Facebook] will be video.”
And it’s likely that most of that video will be consumed over mobile networks.
Among Facebook’s heaviest users — the billion people who access it on a daily basis — 90 percent use a mobile device, either solely or in addition to their PC.
It’s financial results for the fourth quarter were strong. Revenue was $5.8 billion, up 52 percent from the same period in 2014, while net profit more than doubled to $1.6 billion.
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.
Software Giant Microsoft has joined Mozilla and will consider blocking the SHA-1 hashing algorithm on Windows to keep the US spooks from using it to spy on users computers.
Redmond had earlier said that Windows would block SHA-1 signed TLS (Transport Layer Security) certificates from January 1, 2017, but is now mulling moving up the date to June.
There have been concerns about the algorithm’s security as researchers have proven that a forged digital certificate that has the same SHA-1 hash as a legitimate one can be created. Users can then be tricked into interacting with a spoofed site in what is called a hash collision.
In October, a team of cryptoanalysts warned that the SHA-1 standard should be withdrawn as the cost of breaking the encryption had dropped faster than expected to US$75,000 to $120,000 in 2015 using freely available cloud computing.
Programme manager for Microsoft Edge Kyle Pflug wrote in his blog that Redmond will coordinate with other browser vendors to evaluate the impact of this timeline based on telemetry and current projections for feasibility of SHA-1 collisions.
Mozilla said in October that in view of recent attacks it was considering a cut-off of July 1, 2016 to start rejecting all SHA-1 SSL certificates, regardless of when they were issued, ahead of an earlier scheduled date of January 1, 2017.