WBD Teams with Samsung TV on FAST MotorTrend Channel

The MotorTrend Group, a division of Warner Bros. Discovery, has joined forces with Samsung TV Plus to launch the MotorTrend FAST TV channel in the U.S. and Canada. The free ad-supported MotorTrend VOD offering marks WBD’s move into the entertainment FAST lane. The service will feature automotive and lifestyle content from a library curated since 2002, when Discovery began acquiring related programming, eventually launching the Velocity cable channel in 2011, rebranded as MotorTrend in 2018. MotorTrend’s David Freiburger and Mike Finnegan — authorities on novelty cars — are expected to be the mainstay of the new service’s weekend programming. Continue reading WBD Teams with Samsung TV on FAST MotorTrend Channel

Intel to Restructure Chip Design and Manufacturing Divisions

Intel is fine-tuning its corporate reporting as it gears up a foundry operations that will see the longtime manufacturer and designer of its own chips extend services to third-parties. The idea is to create greater separation between its concept and creation divisions. The change comes as Intel deals with a rapidly shifting global market, where demand for chips has increased in sectors like automotive and AI data centers while the PC business that has been the company’s bedrock suffered a major decline in global shipments of nearly 20 percent in Q3. Continue reading Intel to Restructure Chip Design and Manufacturing Divisions

Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Samsung wants to dominate the global market for advanced semiconductors, unveiling plans to begin producing chips with a 2-nanometer spec in 2025 and launching into the even more advanced 1.4-nanometer market in 2027. The timeline takes the South Korean company beyond the 3-nanometer chip production it began in June. Samsung says it will more than triple production capacity in five years, positioning it to challenge Taiwan’s TSMC in terms of volume, and potentially surpass it in the high-end market for “smart chips.” TSMC said it will mass produce 3nm chips this year and start 2nm production by 2025. Continue reading Samsung 5-Year Plan Speeds Advanced-Chipmaking Timeline

Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

Lyft Media is the new business unit under which the ride hailing company is consolidating its advertising sales activities. More than two years since Lyft acquired Halo Cars Inc., manufacturer of car-top digital monitors, it is renewing its focus on generating ad revenue. In-car tablets that show advertisements in addition to letting riders track routes, control music and tip and rate their drivers are being testing in Los Angeles and by year’s end will be in 25 percent of Lyft vehicles there and in Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco. Continue reading Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

After more than a year of wrangling, the Senate on Wednesday passed a bipartisan tech and science funding bill in a 64-33 vote. The CHIPS and Science Act commits $280 billion to be spent over five years in what is being called the largest manufacturing, research and development initiative of its kind. The largest single area of investment is $76 billion to fund domestic semiconductor production, which includes $24 billion in new tax incentives. Yesterday, the bill passed in a 243-187 House vote and now heads to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law. The legislation aims to bolster national security by making the U.S. chip independent and boosting competition against China. Continue reading Congress Passes CHIPS Act to Boost Production, Research

Chip Manufacturing Delays Threaten Next-Gen Smartphones

The global semiconductor shortage that has plagued the supply chain for the past two years is threatening to affect advanced chips for next-generation smartphones as well as impacting the data centers critical to powering their apps. High-performance chips with tiny transistors had to a large extent sidestepped the scarcities that impacted the auto industry, appliances and basic consumer electronics. Now everything from production volume to manufacturing equipment has analysts worried about whether the world’s top smart chip manufacturers — TSMC and Samsung Electronics — will be able to keep up with customer demand. Continue reading Chip Manufacturing Delays Threaten Next-Gen Smartphones

Meta Launches WhatsApp Cloud API for Business, Enterprise

WhatsApp is now offering commercial services to businesses that want the global messaging app, which now has more than a billion users. The WhatsApp Cloud API lets companies build their own WhatsApp dashboard to chat with customers. WhatsApp was purchased by Facebook, now Meta Platforms, in 2014 for a reported $22 billion, and this expansion is the company’s first serious attempt to monetize the platform. Speaking at a “Conversations” live event last week, Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the new WhatsApp Cloud API was for businesses “big and small.” Continue reading Meta Launches WhatsApp Cloud API for Business, Enterprise

TikTok ‘Pulse’ Pairs Advertising with Top-Performing Videos

Social video platform TikTok has unveiled a new advertising solution that allows brands to place their messages next to the top content in TikTok’s For You feed. The contextual ad solution, TikTok Pulse, is the first to allow TikTok creators a chance to share ad revenue. The program initially makes publishers, public figures and creators with 100,000 or more followers whose videos are in the top 4 percent eligible for a 50/50 ad revenue split. Pulse launches in the U.S. in June, with plans to roll out to additional markets in the fall. Continue reading TikTok ‘Pulse’ Pairs Advertising with Top-Performing Videos

Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

Apple’s fiscal Q2 was one of the best quarters in its 46 years of business. The company reported record revenue of $97.3 billion, up 9 percent year-over-year, far outperforming analyst expectations of $94 billion. More than $28 billion in operating cash flow and a return of nearly $27 billion to Apple shareholders resulted in the January through March period. But Apple warned that the outlook could dim in the current quarter, with China’s COVID-19 resurgence threatening to slow manufacturing, stymying sales by anywhere from $4 billion to $8 billion in fiscal Q3. Continue reading Apple Reports Record $97 Billion Quarter but Somber Outlook

China COVID Woes Cause Shutdowns, Supply Chain Impact

The supply chain crunch is about to worsen due to a phased shutdown of Shanghai that began Monday, say recent reports. The coastal city of 26 million people — a seat of international finance and business, and home to the world’s biggest container-shipping port — finds itself grappling with its worst COVID-19 outbreak to date. Authorities have switched from temporary neighborhood lockdowns to a mandatory citywide shutdown in a phased implementation whose stage two runs Friday to Tuesday. China’s biggest chipmaker, however, and an iPhone plant are continuing to operate under strict rules in Shanghai. Continue reading China COVID Woes Cause Shutdowns, Supply Chain Impact

Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

Two years of global chip shortages resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic have left the semiconductor industry better prepared for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The war has created turmoil in two countries that supply neon gas and palladium, essential ingredients to create processors. One estimate puts the countries’ combined output of semiconductor-grade neon at anywhere from one-quarter to half, while positing Russia has in the past originated as much as a third of the metal palladium. Potential shortages of both materials has raised concern in an industry already struggling to meet demand. Continue reading Pandemic Prepared Chipmakers for New Scarcity Due to War

NFTs Are Poised to Move Beyond Arts into Academia, Health

As NFTs work their way into the social fabric via digital art and collectibles, there is speculation that their usefulness is only beginning to be understood. While non-fungible tokens have gained popularity due to their use in illustration, music, entertainment, gaming and sports, as a medium they’re still in their infancy. As units of data saved onto a blockchain, the provenance of every NFT is trackable, substantiating ownership and authenticity. As such, there is interest in using them for everything from educational credentialing and documenting medical treatment to automotive applications and philanthropic fundraising. Continue reading NFTs Are Poised to Move Beyond Arts into Academia, Health

Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

Intel announced it will purchase Israeli chipmaker Tower Semiconductor in a deal valued at $5.4 billion. Tower — which specializes in analog semiconductor solutions for high-growth markets including mobile, automotive, medical devices and power management — will make Intel instantly more competitive in sectors dominated by Taiwan’s TSMC. Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger cited “Tower’s specialty technology portfolio, geographic reach [and] deep customer relationships” among the assets that will help scale Intel to “a globally diverse end-to-end foundry” to help meet growing chip demands across the nearly $100 billion addressable foundry market. Continue reading Intel to Acquire Israel’s Tower Semiconductor for $5.4 Billion

Commerce Secretary Sounds Alarm on Global Chip Shortage

U.S. demand for semiconductors was as much as 17 percent higher in 2021 than it was in 2019, yet there hasn’t been a commensurate increase in the available supply, with median inventory falling to less than five days in 2021, from 40 days in 2019, according to a Commerce Department report. “If a COVID outbreak, a natural disaster, or political instability disrupts a foreign semiconductor facility for even just a few weeks, it has the potential to shut down a manufacturing facility in the U.S.” that makes anything from medical devices to automobiles to computers, the report concludes. Continue reading Commerce Secretary Sounds Alarm on Global Chip Shortage

CES: Hisense Debuts NextGen Sets, Cars Plan for ATSC 3.0

NextGen broadcast TV, also known as ATSC 3.0, is progressing more rapidly than predicted, with coverage in more than 40 markets that account for approximately 45 percent of the nation’s population, with a summer household target of 75 percent reach, according to Pearl TV, a coalition of U.S. broadcasters fueling the advance. The debut at CES 2022 by Chinese manufacturer Hisense of its first ATSC 3.0 TV sets — joining LG, Sony and Samsung — was well-received, as were showcases for ATSC 3.0 automotive broadcasts and fabless semiconductor firm MediaTek’s steps to hasten market delivery times for new ATSC 3.0 TV sets. Continue reading CES: Hisense Debuts NextGen Sets, Cars Plan for ATSC 3.0