Epic Games’ Debut of ‘Fortnite’ Free Mode Results in a Big Hit

When Epic Games debuted “Fortnite” in July for $40, it wasn’t a big hit, so the company debuted a free version to create buzz. Since then, Epic Games’ servers have been nearly overwhelmed by an estimated 40 million gamers playing the free and paid versions of the game, putting it in the same category as Activision Blizzard’s big hit “Overwatch.” Epic Games, which would not disclose sales numbers, plans to make the main version free later this year. “Fortnite” is available on PCs and consoles such as PlayStation 4. Continue reading Epic Games’ Debut of ‘Fortnite’ Free Mode Results in a Big Hit

Amazon Joins Major Tech Companies Working on AR Solution

Virtual reality made a strong showing at CES 2018 in Las Vegas last week. Among those highlighting products were Facebook, which promoted new features in its $200 upcoming Oculus Go, a Google/Lenovo designed headset that will sell for half the price of an iPhone, and HTC, which will debut a new-gen Vive headset with more robust graphics. All of this, however, is a prelude to what many companies are planning: an entrance into augmented reality. One of those companies is Amazon, which sources say is exploring AR headset technologies. Continue reading Amazon Joins Major Tech Companies Working on AR Solution

Flaws in Intel Chips Could Present Security Risk for Computers

Intel confirmed a report indicating that its microprocessor chips contain two major security flaws, which makes the vast majority of world computers vulnerable to hacking. Intel is working with Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), ARM Holdings and other chipmakers and operating system providers to develop a comprehensive, industry-wide approach to combating the potential problems. The two major security flaws, dubbed Meltdown and Spectre, could let hackers access the entire memory contents of computers. Continue reading Flaws in Intel Chips Could Present Security Risk for Computers

Qualcomm, Microsoft Debut Laptops Powered by Mobile Chips

Qualcomm just showcased Asustek Computer and HP laptops with mobile phone chips that allow their wireless connections to use battery power so sparingly that they can go for days between charges. That’s part of the chip titan’s strategy to break Intel’s dominance in the laptop market, where 90 percent ship with Intel chips. By using mobile chips, says Qualcomm, the company hopes to create a new kind of PC that represents a new category. Qualcomm aims to expand in this market through its purchase of NXP Semiconductors. Continue reading Qualcomm, Microsoft Debut Laptops Powered by Mobile Chips

Tech Companies Produce 5G Chips and Test 5G Networking

In 2019, Intel will launch 5G radio modems that will transfer data wirelessly at multiple gigabits per second. Intel, Qualcomm and others tout the promise of the 5G economy which, predicated on the existence of 5G chips, will enable self-driving cars, replace home-based cable modems and generate trillions of dollars in revenue over time. Intel will release its XMM 8000 series. The company says it has made a 5G phone call based on early prototypes and that its XMM 7560 chip already reaches gigabit speeds. Continue reading Tech Companies Produce 5G Chips and Test 5G Networking

Clicking Flash Update on the Equifax Site Results in Adware

In the wake of May’s Equifax website breach that reportedly involved personal data of 145.5 million U.S. consumers, the credit reporting service’s site was manipulated again this week. On Wednesday, and again on Thursday, fraudulent Adobe Flash updates appeared that infected computers with adware when clicked. Only three of 65 antivirus providers detected the adware. Security analyst Randy Abrams discovered the issue while investigating false information that had appeared on his credit report. Meanwhile. federal legislators have introduced a new cybersecurity bill to help protect consumers. Continue reading Clicking Flash Update on the Equifax Site Results in Adware

Americans Spend Half of Their Media Day Consuming Digital

According to new data from eMarketer, the average U.S. adult is expected to spend two more minutes each day consuming media than the average time per day last year, up two hours from a decade ago. The researcher estimates that adult consumers will average 12 hours and 1 minute per day with major media this year. This increase, not surprisingly, reflects a continued shift in consumer behavior toward multitasking, thanks in large part to mobile tech. The average American still spends the most time watching television (nearly four hours per day), while mobile continues its ascent (currently at three hours and 17 minutes per day). Continue reading Americans Spend Half of Their Media Day Consuming Digital

Instagram Looks to Expand its Global Audience With Stories

As part of its larger strategy to attract international users who may face inconsistent or costly mobile Internet service, Facebook-owned Instagram has been ramping up the web version of its photo- and video-sharing application. The latest upgrade brings Stories, “one of Instagram’s most popular features, copied from Snapchat, which lets people post videos and photos that disappear after 24 hours,” reports Bloomberg. “The number of people accessing Instagram through the web, instead of an app, is growing, the company said. More than 80 percent of its users are outside the U.S.” Continue reading Instagram Looks to Expand its Global Audience With Stories

Intel Claims Big Performance Leap for Next Gen Core Chips

Intel reports that the eighth generation of its Core line of chips, to be debuted in new laptops in September, will offer as much as a 40 percent increase in performance over its previous generation. Although the PC market has been declining, Intel — whose chips are already in 80 percent of PCs globally — is still posting upticks. In Q2, Intel saw a 12 percent increase in chip sales. Intel’s only remaining competitor in this sector is Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), which is also bringing its new Zen chips to market this year. Continue reading Intel Claims Big Performance Leap for Next Gen Core Chips

Intel Is Topped by Samsung After 25-Year Lead in Chip Sales

Samsung Electronics’ semiconductor unit posted Q2 sales of $15.7 billion and operating profit of $7.1 billion, surpassing Intel’s Q2 earnings of $14.8 billion and operating profit of $3.8 billion. This marks the first time in nearly 25 years that Intel has lost its No. 1 position in the chip-making market. Up until this quarter, Santa Clara, CA-based Intel has enjoyed a comfortable lead over Samsung’s chip unit, which got its start with a focus on mobile devices. The semiconductor industry is currently valued at $365 billion. Continue reading Intel Is Topped by Samsung After 25-Year Lead in Chip Sales

Intel Eyes the Future With New Family of Xeon Server Chips

Intel just unveiled its Xeon Scalable line, a new generation of 58 processors designed for “secure, agile, multi-cloud data centers.” Priced from $200 to $10,000 each, this array of new chips should serve as a clear message to would-be competitors that Intel plans to continue its dominance in the data-center market segment, which offers better profit margins than chips for PCs. Threatening Intel’s leadership are companies creating specialized chips aimed at maximizing performance of artificial intelligence programs. Continue reading Intel Eyes the Future With New Family of Xeon Server Chips

Intel’s 18-Core PC Chip Designed For 4K, VR, Gaming, More

Intel’s new Core i9 is the first consumer desktop processor with 18 cores and 36 threads in a single chip, ideal for today’s world of 4K video and virtual reality. Cores and threads allow a CPU to accomplish dedicated tasks at the same time, without sacrificing performance, and the Core i9 is progress for creators doing video editing, running virtual reality experiences, compiling code and, especially, for live-streaming video games. Intel is also fighting off Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), a rival in computer processors. Continue reading Intel’s 18-Core PC Chip Designed For 4K, VR, Gaming, More

Nielsen Research Suggests Consumers Still Using Their TVs

According to Nielsen, U.S. consumers may be cutting the pay-TV cord, but they are still using their televisions. “The measurement firm found that 92 percent of all viewing among U.S. adults (those 18 and older) still takes place on the TV screen,” reports TechCrunch. The Q4 2016 data “compares TV screen-based viewing to viewing on PCs, tablets, smartphones, and other TV-connected devices like game consoles and streaming players such as the Apple TV, Chromecast, Roku and others.” Time viewing content on TV represented 82.1 percent, while time using TV-connected devices accounted for 10.2 percent. Continue reading Nielsen Research Suggests Consumers Still Using Their TVs

Mossberg Retires Weekly Column, Talks Ambient Computing

Veteran tech journalist Walt Mossberg has been writing a weekly personal technology column since 1991, first at The Wall Street Journal, and then at The Verge (for which he serves as executive editor) and Recode (where he is co-founder and editor-at-large). As he retires his weekly column, Mossberg takes one more look at how consumer tech has evolved over the last three decades, “and what we can expect next.” Specifically, he addresses “The Disappearing Computer” as we enter a new world of ambient computing, in which personal computers start to fade into the background. Continue reading Mossberg Retires Weekly Column, Talks Ambient Computing

Google Reveals More of Its Fuchsia OS for ‘Modern Phones’

Google is working on its third operating system after Android and Chrome OS, this one dubbed Fuchsia, an open-source, real-time OS that first appeared in August last year as a command line. Rather than being based on Linux, Fuchsia relies on a microkernel called Magenta that was developed by Google and incorporates other Google-developed software. According to Google, Magenta is aimed at “modern phones” and PCs with fast processors and large amounts of RAM with “arbitrary peripherals doing open-ended computation.” Continue reading Google Reveals More of Its Fuchsia OS for ‘Modern Phones’