Facebook’s Open-Source Telecom Project Challenges Telcos

Voyager, Facebook’s telecom infrastructure effort, is a side project, but it’s still rattling the telecom industry, which worries that revenues from its specialized products are at risk. Facebook and European telecom company Telia tested Voyager over the latter’s thousand-kilometer-telecom network, and German-based ADVA Optical Networking, which is manufacturing the device, has nine potential customers trying it out. Also testing Voyager is Paris-based Orange, working with Equinix and African telecom company MTN. Continue reading Facebook’s Open-Source Telecom Project Challenges Telcos

Intel Debuts Memory Products Based on 3D XPoint Technology

Intel is shipping its first products based on 3D XPoint, a technology it has been developing for more than ten years to bridge the gap between conventional memory, which holds data for immediate use, and longer-term storage. The company reports that 3D XPoint is 1,000 times faster than NAND flash often used in storage drives, but only 1 percent the speed of DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) temporary memory. Intel says it can speed up tasks in fraud detection, retail recommendations and autonomous vehicles. Continue reading Intel Debuts Memory Products Based on 3D XPoint Technology

Mixed Reality Technology Is Coming to Xbox Game Consoles

Microsoft plans to integrate its Windows Mixed Reality technology into the Xbox One and the next iteration of the Xbox (currently codenamed “Project Scorpio”), coming out next year. Windows Mixed Reality tech powers Microsoft’s HoloLens AR headset, as well as AR and VR headsets from other manufacturers. Acer is making a Windows Mixed Reality headset that can support both VR and AR experiences. Microsoft will compete with Sony’s Playstation VR and others in the VR gaming space. Continue reading Mixed Reality Technology Is Coming to Xbox Game Consoles

Intel Demos Merged Reality Headset, Compute Card, 5G Modem

Intel demonstrated the first version of its Project Alloy headset, a “wearable” computer that enables a combination of virtual and augmented realities, or “merged reality.” At CES 2017, Intel chief executive Brian Krzanich announced Project Alloy will ship in Q4 this year, a fairly quick turnaround for a headset/project only first made public in August 2016. Project Alloy is evidence of Intel’s effort to position itself as a leader in wearable computing, in which the device contains all its essential computing components. Continue reading Intel Demos Merged Reality Headset, Compute Card, 5G Modem

Lenovo Plans to Launch Windows VR Headset Later This Year

Microsoft is planning a push into VR this year with its Windows Holographic software and Windows-compatible VR headsets. At CES, Chinese consumer tech company Lenovo is previewing its own upcoming headset based on the Windows Holographic platform (users will need a PC with Windows 10), which is expected to launch during the second half of 2017. Priced under $400, it seems Lenovo is looking to compete with the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Interestingly, the unnamed Lenovo headset will also feature the ability to run some augmented reality experiences using external cameras. Continue reading Lenovo Plans to Launch Windows VR Headset Later This Year

Microsoft Releases its Server Design Early to Jumpstart Cloud

Microsoft is submitting designs for its new server, Project Olympus, to the open source Open Compute Project eight months before it will be completed, in an effort to influence the data center market. By offering open source designs, the company pressures hardware manufacturers such as Hewlett-Packard to lower pricing of its own cloud infrastructure products. Among the new server’s key strengths are that it can use different international power standards without a need to tweak the hardware and can run a variety of applications. Continue reading Microsoft Releases its Server Design Early to Jumpstart Cloud

Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

Microsoft has debuted Surface Studio, a desktop personal computer that transforms into a digital drafting table — and the company’s first desktop PC. Surface Studio is an all-in-one-PC that sports an aluminum body with a 28-inch screen on top of a stand. An accessory device, dubbed Surface Dial, is an add-on to the mouse, for a more precise way to zoom into images. The company also revealed that an upcoming update to its Windows 10 operating system will make it easier to create, manipulate and view 3D objects. Continue reading Microsoft Debuts its First Desktop PC, Designed for ‘Creators’

Qualcomm Agrees to Buy NXP Semiconductors for $39 Billion

Qualcomm, known for its mobile processors and wireless modems, has agreed to purchase NXP Semiconductors for $39 billion. Including debt, the acquisition is valued at $47 billion, representing the largest semiconductor deal to date. The agreement exceeds the Avago Technologies $37 billion deal to buy Broadcom Corp. In terms of pure tech deals, the agreement lands behind only Dell’s $60 billion purchase of EMC. Dutch company NXP, formerly Philips Semiconductors, is a leader in the growing automotive-chip market, and Qualcomm wants to supply its chips for autonomous vehicles. Continue reading Qualcomm Agrees to Buy NXP Semiconductors for $39 Billion

Testing VR and AR as Next Wave of Videoconferencing Tools

Several companies and academic institutions are studying the use of virtual reality as a way to replace the videoconference call. Among those experimenting in the field is the NYU Media Research Lab, which showed a video of researchers using Samsung Gear VR headsets to collaborate in a simulated environment. The Bank of Ireland and U.K. utility National Grid PLC have also tried out early VR software. Skype, the Microsoft company often used for videoconference calls, is working on an augmented reality solution. Continue reading Testing VR and AR as Next Wave of Videoconferencing Tools

Chips From Barefoot to Offer Blazing Speed, Programmability

A new series of high performance chips, dubbed Tofino, run at a rate of 6.5 terabits per second, twice as fast as any other on the market, and can be programmed to change functionality. Developed by Palo Alto-based computer networking company Barefoot Networks, they are designed so that it won’t take a hardware specialist to code the chips. Due out later this year, the chips will reside inside networking switches, which direct traffic across the Internet. For companies such as Google and Facebook, the ability to program a chip opens up tremendous opportunities.

Continue reading Chips From Barefoot to Offer Blazing Speed, Programmability

Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Microsoft is positioning itself as providing, with Windows 10, the only platform for “mixed reality,” which the company describes as “providing devices with the ability to perceive the world, breaking down the barriers between virtual and physical reality.” In a three-minute video, Microsoft shows how it believes various types of augmented reality will be able to interact, using HoloLens headsets, VR helmets and other devices. Microsoft invites its partners to build on the Windows Holographic platform. Continue reading Microsoft Pushes Windows 10 as Only ‘Mixed Reality’ Platform

Intel Debuts Chips, Partnerships for Next-Gen Cloud Computing

Intel just introduced the Xeon E5-2600 v4 chip family, which includes up to 22 calculating engines on each chip (up from a maximum of 18) and has built-in features to encrypt data more quickly, thus potentially improving security of cloud computing. Dell, HP and Cisco Systems will use the chips to make new servers. Intel also revealed its collaboration with CoreOS and Mirantis whose technologies are aimed to make it easier for companies to move data between different cloud services or their own data centers and the cloud. Continue reading Intel Debuts Chips, Partnerships for Next-Gen Cloud Computing

Users Seek New Storage and Cloud Solutions as Data Explodes

IBM estimates that smartphones and devices related to the Internet of Things will generate 44 zettabytes (exabytes to the thousandths) by 2020. To handle all that information, IBM is looking at storage solutions that combine machine learning and artificial intelligence, both of which excel at finding patterns. Other companies are looking for solutions, including Pure, which is combining flash storage and engineering to create a storage unit that currently holds 16 petabytes, or five times most storage devices. Continue reading Users Seek New Storage and Cloud Solutions as Data Explodes

Amazon is Quietly Building “One-Click-Ship” Global Delivery Biz

Although rumors are swirling that Amazon plans to open a global shipping and logistics operation to compete with both FedEx and United Parcel Service, the company’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said that Amazon is merely looking to supplement its shipping partners during busy periods such as Christmas. But Amazon might actually have more ambitious plans than Olsavsky is willing to admit. A 2013 report targeting Amazon senior management actually proposes a major expansion of its Fulfillment By Amazon. Continue reading Amazon is Quietly Building “One-Click-Ship” Global Delivery Biz

PC Sales at Lowest Level Since 2007, Could Rebound in 2016

Recent industry reports suggest that 2015 was a challenging year for PCs. Industry analysis companies Gartner and IDC both issued reports showing a drop in the PC market of 8 and 10.4 percent, respectively. That 2.4 percent difference is based on how the two companies defined PCs. Gartner included detachable devices such as Microsoft’s Surface — which are becoming more popular — in its numbers, but IDC did not, now saying that including hybrid devices would have meant a 7.5 percent decline. Continue reading PC Sales at Lowest Level Since 2007, Could Rebound in 2016

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