Freescale Offers Smallest ARM-Powered Chip in the World

Chipmaker Freescale Semiconductor has created the world’s smallest ARM-powered chip (called the Kinetis KL02), which touts 32KB flash with 64 byte flash cache, up to 4KB RAM, a 32-bit processor and multiple flexible low-power modes. Measuring only 1.9 by 2 millimeters, the chip is a full microcontroller unit that includes RAM, ROM and an I/O control unit — all the requirements of a miniature computer. Continue reading Freescale Offers Smallest ARM-Powered Chip in the World

Myo Armband May Be the Next Generation of Gesture Control

Thalmic Labs is providing a vision of computing’s possible future — a wrist cuff that can control computers, smartphones, gaming consoles, and other devices with simple hand gestures. The Myo armband reads forearm muscles for cues regarding what the user wants, providing an alternative to both voice and camera-based computing controls. Myo will initially be offered for $149 for the one-size-fits-all model. Continue reading Myo Armband May Be the Next Generation of Gesture Control

CES 2013: Samsung Mobilizing 8-Core Exynos 5 Octa Processor

Samsung’s Wednesday keynote was a sizzler that built to an appearance by former President Bill Clinton, but it was the new Exynos 5 Octa Processor that was the star of the stage. Samsung Electronics’ Dr. Stephen Woo shared details of the company’s new mobile chip. The eight-core Exynos 5 Octa features two sets of four cores each, and is the first mobile processor to use chip manufacturing firm ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture, which toggles between each core depending on the application. Continue reading CES 2013: Samsung Mobilizing 8-Core Exynos 5 Octa Processor

Strategic News: Mark Anderson Delivers 10 Predictions for 2013

Forbes provides an overview of the latest computing and telecommunications predictions for 2013 from tech guru Mark Anderson, as published in his Strategic News Service newsletter.

1) Tablets or “CarryAlongs” will become the dominant segment of computing devices.

2) Intel will fade into obscurity as Qualcomm and ARM take over computing, dominating the production of mobile chips.

3) Most U.S. homes will have Internet-enabled TVs, and other developed nations will follow suit as bandwidth improves.

4) The LTE vs. fiber battle will determine carriers’ business model for the years to come. “Customers choosing broadband LTE in DSL-served regions will be paying more and getting more; but those choosing LTE in fiber-served regions will be paying more for wireless broadband but getting less.”

5) Google will become the next Apple. “Google’s efforts in email, video, smartphones, maps, and driverless cars open up new long-term expansion paths, with more to follow.”

6) The driverless car will work toward ubiquity as countries pass laws to allow it and major brands work on developing new features.

7) e-Books will substantially outpace paperback sales in 2013 and will eventually dominate the market.

8) “Enterprise IT struggles to achieve very modest gains, with executive purchase decisions captured between large cash holdings, increased Asian competition, and their own poorly performing customers.”

9) “‘Hacktivist’ efforts acquire an important and permanent role in political transparency.”

10) Supply chain security will determine global technology purchases. “Recognition that today’s supply chains are virtually all compromised will lead to plant relocations and a new set of business opportunities for onshore component makers.”

Will Future Intel Chips Provide MacBooks with Infinite Battery Life?

  • Intel introduced its new Haswell architecture this week at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco. The Haswell technology is a few generations away, but is already impressing analysts.
  • John Brownlee, writing for Cult of Mac, explains that Haswell was created using a 22 nanometer 3D transistor process, which makes possible ARM-like power consumption on an x86 chip. “That means all day battery life, as well as ten days of connected standby,” writes Brownlee.
  • The architecture reportedly uses up to 20 times less power than current Intel chips, and can actually run on a solar cell, suggesting that future MacBooks would theoretically have no constraints on battery life.
  • According to Brownlee, the Haswell architecture has some serious potential: “You think those new Sandy Bridge MacBook Pros are beasts? Just wait a couple years. That’s when Apple will be able of releasing bleeding edge MacBooks capable of not only running for 24 hours on a single charge, but of recharging their cells as they run by sucking up the ambient light in the room around them. Wow.”

Windows 8: Viable Solution for the New Post-PC Era?

  • For the first time in many years, Microsoft is facing a serious challenge to its Windows desktop monopoly — not in the form of any operating system, but in the new computing concept of “post-PC.”
  • “The worry is that upstart tablets threaten to drive the computer out of the home, taking the Windows operating system with it,” reports Ars Technica.
  • Microsoft has been in the tablet business longer than anyone, but it has always been an add-on to Windows. Windows 8 will give the company another opportunity to create something new — a full featured PC that not only works on the desktop but on a post-PC device as well.
  • Windows 8 will work with touch devices and not require a stylus. It will support real multitasking. It will run on power-efficient ARM processors. It will still have a huge legacy of software, including Office. It will support a myriad of hardware and accessories.
  • In short, it will be able to do everything the tablet can and much more. Ars Technica concludes: “Still, this tablet-as-a-PC model hasn’t worked well despite 20 years of trying. Microsoft’s decision to stick with it might look like a mistake — why would this approach start working now when it hasn’t before? — but signs suggest it might be more successful this time around.”

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