New Chip Licensing Model Introduced with ‘Intel On Demand’

Intel is shaking up the business model for computer chips, debuting Intel On Demand, a software-defined silicon (SDSi) service designed to get customers to pay to enable features built into future Xeon server processors. The move signals a major change in how computer chips are marketed and could increase flexibility in how organizations configure their infrastructure. While Intel hasn’t indicated whether SDSi will be mandatory for users buying next-gen Xeons, the concept has created some concern among IT professionals, many of whom view it as charging extra for features that are already hardwired into the silicon. Continue reading New Chip Licensing Model Introduced with ‘Intel On Demand’

Comcast, Charter Provide Details of Xumo Streaming Venture

Comcast and Charter Communications have christened their streaming joint venture Xumo, taking the name from the FAST platform Comcast acquired in 2020 for a reported $100 million. Built to challenge biggies like Amazon, Apple, Google and Roku, the Xumo joint venture aims to create “an entire entertainment ecosystem” to include hardware as well as content and a platform to help advertisers “reach audiences at scale.” The first Xumo devices are targeting late 2023 delivery, with distribution through Comcast, Charter and Walmart (and other vendors to be announced). Xumo’s FAST service will be rebranded Xumo Play. Continue reading Comcast, Charter Provide Details of Xumo Streaming Venture

Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

Google and Amazon have struck a deal to end simmering hostilities over a battle for control of smart TVs. After a particularly damning report by the Competition Commission of India last week, Amazon announced that TCL — a major player in the drama — will this fall release in Europe two new models equipped with Amazon Fire TV software. The new pax has also paved the way for Amazon to work with consumer electronics companies including Hisense, Xiaomi, and more, who were previously forbidden from using the Amazon OS under Google’s licensing terms. Continue reading Google, Amazon Reach an Accord in OS Battle for Smart TVs

CTA: Streaming Services Will Be Focus for Holiday Shoppers

Tech items are making the list this holiday season, with the Consumer Technology Association’s annual shoppers survey forecasting a record-breaking 78 percent of U.S. adults — nearly 199 million people — will purchase devices and related services this season. Streaming services, headphones and earbuds, mobile cases, smartphones and game consoles top the trade organization’s survey, the 2022 Hot Tech Holiday Preview. The seasonal projection marks a 4 percent increase over last year. The 78 percent of American shoppers who intend to purchase tech gifts in the coming months will spend an estimated $145 billion. Continue reading CTA: Streaming Services Will Be Focus for Holiday Shoppers

Amazon Promotes Device Updates at Its Fall Hardware Event

A Kindle that lets you annotate text, a “no-contact” sleep tracker and a refresh on the Fire TV Cube were among the new products Amazon showcased at its annual fall hardware event this week. Updates for Echo smart speakers, an expanded Ring camera inventory and updates to its Eero Wi-Fi extender line were also in the spotlight. Home devices that enable “a silent infrastructure of ambient intelligence to do just about anything” was the through line, according to Wired, with news ranging from pet detection for Astro the robot to a feature called Alexa Shop the Look. Continue reading Amazon Promotes Device Updates at Its Fall Hardware Event

Profits Down as FTC Sues Meta to Block Purchase of Within

Meta Platforms’ revenue dropped 1 percent in the second quarter, totaling $28.8 billion, just missing Wall Street’s expectation. It was the first year-over-year revenue drop since the company went public 10 years ago. Meta logged $6.69 billion in Q2 profit, down 36 percent over the same period in 2021. Costs increased by 22 percent, largely due to ongoing heavy investment in the metaverse, where the company’s ambitions took a hit Wednesday when the Federal Trade Commission filed a lawsuit to prevent Meta from buying Los Angeles-based virtual reality firm Within. Continue reading Profits Down as FTC Sues Meta to Block Purchase of Within

Replenished GPU Inventory Results in Return to MSRP Pricing

The graphics processor unit drought may be over as retailers report inventory is plentiful with prices returning to pre-scarcity norms. Nvidia GeForce RTX 3090 Ti’s that were marked up to nearly double the MSRP on sites like eBay are now available for approximately their intended $2,300 price. “GPU prices continue to drop on a monthly basis,” reports Tom’s Hardware, attributing the favorable conditions in part to the cryptocurrency crash, which has “resulted in more mining firms shutting down,” selling off hardware and not competing for new units. The easing of COVID-19 supply chain bottlenecks is another mitigating factor. Continue reading Replenished GPU Inventory Results in Return to MSRP Pricing

AWS, Microsoft, Google Likely to Continue Cloud Domination

The global cloud storage market is white hot, and the big keep getting bigger while indies lose ground, according to a study by Synergy Research Group that says the top three companies — Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft and Google — account for 65 percent of what was in the first quarter of 2022 assessed as a $53 billion worldwide market. That’s up from a combined 52 percent of worldwide sales four years ago, Synergy notes, explaining the trio’s slice of this rapidly growing market is expected to expand as their efficiencies of size make them better equipped to continue investing and wooing new clients.  Continue reading AWS, Microsoft, Google Likely to Continue Cloud Domination

Apple Reportedly Has iPhone Subscription Plan in the Works

Apple is reportedly working on a plan that will make its popular iPhone and additional devices available on a subscription basis. Popular first among content providers, then software firms like Microsoft and Adobe, subscription contracts are less usual in the hardware space, other than the long-term payment plans mobile service providers add to a customer’s monthly bill for costlier phone models, including iPhones. Apple itself has been offering iPhones in monthly payments. A hardware “subscription” would possibly bundle other Apple products, like Apple TV and Apple Music. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Has iPhone Subscription Plan in the Works

EU Private Risk Assessment Reveals 5G Security Concerns

According to a privately circulated risk assessment prepared by European governments, the European Union (EU) has identified security threats coming from foreign telecommunications equipment vendors, raising particular concerns about Huawei Technologies Co. A public report was released and warned of hostile states or state-backed companies posing a threat to new 5G networks rolling out across the globe. These promise faster connection speeds and the ability to link many devices (cars, pacemakers, and more) to the Internet. 

Continue reading EU Private Risk Assessment Reveals 5G Security Concerns

Microsoft Shares Vision For Present and Future Productivity

Microsoft recently invited journalists into its Envisioning Center for a peek into its vision of the future — in particular, its vision of the future of productivity. Inside the center, Microsoft houses some of its prototype work. Journalists witnessed teams working together on giant collaborative screens, meeting in rooms equipped with devices to automatically recognize participants, and doing work at touch-powered desks. The bulk of all provided demonstrations revolved around the use of touch, voice, and augmented reality. This marks a new way forward for Microsoft.

Continue reading Microsoft Shares Vision For Present and Future Productivity

Apple Reportedly Pitching its Texture Service to Newspapers

In March, Apple purchased digital magazine service Texture, described as a Netflix for magazines, which lets subscribers read as many stories as they want from dozens of magazines for $10 per month. Now, according to sources, Apple — led by senior vice president of Internet software and services Eddy Cue — wants to add daily news and is in talks with The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post about adding their stories to the app. The move is part of Apple’s increased interest in content. Continue reading Apple Reportedly Pitching its Texture Service to Newspapers

Snap Refocuses With Debut of Stylish Next-Gen Spectacles

Snap has unveiled two new versions of Spectacles 2 — the Veronica (for women) and the Nico (for men) — that incorporate all the features of the company’s second generation Spectacles, but tout a sleeker, more stylish design and cost $200, versus $150 for the previous version. Many of Snapchat’s core demographic has left for Instagram, and critics question why Snap is still making hardware. When Spectacles initially debuted in 2016, Snap created hype by selling them out of pop-up vending machines. A few months later, the company was stuck with $40 million worth of unsold glasses. Continue reading Snap Refocuses With Debut of Stylish Next-Gen Spectacles

Snap Introduces its Second, Enhanced Version of Spectacles

Snap’s first version of its Spectacles was not a big hit, and the company is trying again with its second version, stating its commitment to hardware. Snap began working on this second iteration when the first one launched. The form factor of the second version Specs is slightly different: no more yellow rings around the lenses and much thinner temples. The Specs, priced at $150, also come in new colors with two variations on mirrored lenses. But the big changes address all of the criticisms of the first Spectacles. Continue reading Snap Introduces its Second, Enhanced Version of Spectacles

Facebook Said to Be in Early Stages of Developing Own Chips

As part of the company’s recent push to develop new hardware, Facebook is reportedly working toward designing its own custom chips to be used in its consumer devices, data centers and AI software. The social media giant is currently developing devices such as smart speakers and VR headsets, and building its own chips could provide more control over design and development of these projects. Facebook’s strategy follows similar approaches by other tech giants, including Google and Apple. Continue reading Facebook Said to Be in Early Stages of Developing Own Chips