Booming Computer Sales Still Cannot Meet School Demand

Remote working, learning and home entertainment have soared during the COVID-19 pandemic, and with it, sales of personal computers. Gartner reports that sales of Chromebooks have risen 90 percent in the third quarter, in part driven by school districts’ desperate need for Chromebooks and low-cost laptops for students learning from home. Gartner states that worldwide PC sales rose about 9 percent year-over-year in the quarter, with Chromebooks representing 11 percent of the combined market. Continue reading Booming Computer Sales Still Cannot Meet School Demand

Apple Plans to Unveil Its New Chips at Developer Conference

As early as June 22, at its annual developer conference WWDC, Apple may reveal its plan to replace Intel chipsets with its own internally developed ones, code-named Kalamata. Sources indicate that announcing Kalamata this time of year will give third-party developers time to shift gears before the new Macs debut in 2021. Apple’s new chips will be based on the same technology as those in iPhones and iPads, although Macs will continue to run the macOS operating system rather than iOS software of the mobile devices. Continue reading Apple Plans to Unveil Its New Chips at Developer Conference

Ampere Debuts High-Performance 80-Core ARM-Based Chip

Ampere introduced the industry’s first-ever 80-core ARM-based 64-bit server processor — the Ampere Altra processor — for use in cloud and edge computing data centers. The move puts the company in direct competition with Intel and Advanced Micro Devices. Intel currently has 95.5 percent of the server chip market, with AMD taking the rest. The Ampere Altra, which runs on 210 watts, is aimed at artificial intelligence, cloud-native applications, data analytics, database, edge computing, storage, telco stacks and web hosting. Continue reading Ampere Debuts High-Performance 80-Core ARM-Based Chip

Laptop Manufacturers Debut Foldable Tablets at CES 2020

During CES in Las Vegas last week, companies unveiled prototypes of foldable tablets. Among them, Lenovo launched its ready-to-ship ThinkPad X1 Fold, with pricing, specifications and accessories. Dell, Intel and TCL showed prototypes of a foldable screen, the first two of which run Windows 10 as a stand-in for Microsoft’s dual-screen Windows 10X; TCL’s prototype was shown as an Android device. Lenovo’s laptop will ship before this software launches. Software that takes the best advantage of two screens is the challenge for these device makers. Continue reading Laptop Manufacturers Debut Foldable Tablets at CES 2020

Wi-Fi 6-Enabled Routers, Phones and Laptops Come to CES

At CES 2020, Wi-Fi 6 — which promises more efficient and speedy data delivery — finally made an appearance in affordable routers and devices. Last year’s CES showed such routers for sale, but were too expensive to create widespread adoption. Further, the routers shown this year are significantly better than less expensive ones they replace. Netgear unveiled the Nighthawk Mesh, the first mesh router from any trusted manufacturer, at $230 for a two-pack and built to work well with Internet connections up to 400 Mbps. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6-Enabled Routers, Phones and Laptops Come to CES

Qualcomm Introduces Snapdragon Chipsets for 5G Devices

Qualcomm debuted two chipsets for smartphones: the flagship Snapdragon 865 with an add-on X55 5G modem, aimed at high-end smartphones, and the mid-tier Snapdragon 765 or 765G, with integrated 5G capabilities. The Snapdragon 865 is the obvious successor to last year’s 855, which was integrated into 2019 devices including the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Samsung Galaxy S10 phones and the Google Pixel 4 handset. The Snapdragon 865 offers an updated AI engine that the company says is twice as powerful as the 855’s engine. Continue reading Qualcomm Introduces Snapdragon Chipsets for 5G Devices

Qualcomm Offers Roadmap of Global 5G Networks Rollout

At Qualcomm’s Analyst Day in New York City, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon presented a visual roadmap projecting the global rollout of 5G networks in 2020, stating that mid-band (sub-6GHz) 5G will spread broadly, first in major cities and then, in 2021, in developing countries. The deployment of 5G is important for Qualcomm, which is expected to be a major provider of 5G chips and IP to global carriers and OEMs. The deployment projected by Amon is subject to change based on potential regulatory changes. Continue reading Qualcomm Offers Roadmap of Global 5G Networks Rollout

Motorola to Launch New Razr Phone With Foldable Display

Lenovo-owned Motorola is bringing back the iconic Razr flip phone as a 6.2-inch smartphone with a foldable display. The phone, which is priced at $1,499 and will be available in December for pre-order in the U.S. as a Verizon exclusive and in Europe, looks like a modern version of the phone originally launched in late 2004. The first Razr sold 130 million units and was a cultural touchstone before Apple launched the iPhone in 2007. Currently, Lenovo only owns a small fraction of the global smartphone market. Continue reading Motorola to Launch New Razr Phone With Foldable Display

5G Offers Wireless Carriers More Security, Privacy Options

One of the benefits of 5G, expected to be 100 times faster than 4G networks, is the improved protection of sensitive data. Much of the conversation about 5G networks has focused on the security issues related to Chinese vendors of gear used in 5G networks. But Verizon chief information officer Chandra McMahon noted that “security is designed into 5G and there will be additional [security] technical features.” Another advantage is that 5G providers will rely on the cloud, providing more capacity and flexibility. Continue reading 5G Offers Wireless Carriers More Security, Privacy Options

GlobalFoundries Claims Taiwan Chip Giant Violated Patents

Chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries requested the U.S. International Trade Commission impose an import ban on Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), part of a multi-front attack. An import ban would impact iPhones, Lenovo laptops and other electronic devices. The company has also filed 25 complaints in courts in the U.S. and Germany, alleging that TSMC violated 12+ patents for chips and chipmaking methods. Apple, Google, Qualcomm, Cisco Systems, Nvidia, Broadcom, Xilinx, Lenovo and Motorola are also named in the suit. Continue reading GlobalFoundries Claims Taiwan Chip Giant Violated Patents

Ahead of G20, U.S. Adds Chinese Tech Entities to Blacklist

In advance of a meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jinping during the G20 summit in Japan, the Commerce Department added four Chinese companies and one Chinese institute to a blacklist that prevents them from buying U.S. tech products without a waiver. Those “entities” are Sugon (a leading supercomputer manufacturer); microchip makers Higon (AMD’s Chinese joint-venture partner), Chengdu Haiguang Integrated Circuit and Chengdu Haiguang Microelectronics Technology; and the Wuxi Jiangnan Institute of Computing Technology. Huawei was added to the list in May. Continue reading Ahead of G20, U.S. Adds Chinese Tech Entities to Blacklist

HPE Acquires Cray, Advancing Supercomputing in the U.S.

Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) is acquiring Cray, a pioneer in supercomputing, for about $1.4 billion. With 1,300 employees, Cray, based in Seattle, was founded by Seymour Cray in 1972 in Minnesota and purchased in 1996 by Silicon Graphics. The company was later sold in 2000 to Tera Computer, which changed its name to Cray. Cray designed some of the most powerful supercomputers used by the military, intelligence agencies and for civilian companies involved in weather prediction, pharmaceutical research and auto design. Continue reading HPE Acquires Cray, Advancing Supercomputing in the U.S.

Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

Oculus unveiled a new version of its Rift VR headset at GDC 2019 yesterday. The $399 Rift S, available this spring, will feature a new design, higher resolution display (up to 1280×1440 per eye), two updated Oculus Touch controllers, and embedded sensors for tracking (rather than cameras). The current $349 Rift relies on an array of external webcams to sense the environment. The new Rift S will require a PC in order to power its high-res graphics, while the wireless Oculus Quest, also available this spring for $399 will not need additional power. Continue reading Oculus Reveals its Upcoming PC-Connected Rift S Headset

USB Forum and Intel Team to Build USB 4 on Thunderbolt 3

The USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has introduced USB 4, which doubles the maximum speed to 40Gbps or more over certified cables. That throughput could power two 4K displays, one 5K display or an external graphics card. It does this via a new transfer scheme that uses existing USB Type-C cables to tap two lanes and supports numerous data and display protocols that more efficiently parcel total available bandwidth over the bus. Most importantly, USB 4 will be built on Intel’s Thunderbolt 3, ending competition between the two. Continue reading USB Forum and Intel Team to Build USB 4 on Thunderbolt 3

CES: Voice Assistants Are No Longer Just for Smart Speakers

If CES is any indication, 2019 may be the year that voice assistants become more integrated into our daily lives. Amazon and Google went head-to-head in Las Vegas last week with a flood of partnerships touting smart home and CE devices that now support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Among the products featuring voice support included LG’s much-hyped rollable OLED TV; Panasonic’s new 4K OLED TV; Samsung’s 2019 TV lineup; Vuzix Blade AR glasses; an array of speakers, soundbars and headphones; new smart displays from Lenovo, Archos and KitchenAid; and a collection of home security devices, kitchen and bathroom appliances — even toilets. Continue reading CES: Voice Assistants Are No Longer Just for Smart Speakers

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