Surging Chip Demand Spurs TSMC Plants in U.S. and Japan

New chip factories are springing up worldwide to meet a historic shortage of semiconductors. The effort to increase output to meet chip demand in everything from computers to cars to smart TVs includes a new $12 billion plant located in Arizona for the world’s largest wholesale chipmaker, Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. TSMC’s Arizona plant is scheduled to begin producing advanced 5nm chips by 2024. And as part of its commitment to spend $100 billion over three years to increase production, TSMC just announced plans to build a new manufacturing facility in Japan. Continue reading Surging Chip Demand Spurs TSMC Plants in U.S. and Japan

Google Search Will Use MUM AI to Combine Text and Images

Google Lens visual search will be updated to incorporate the company’s new AI technology, the Multitask Unified Model (MUM), which understands context and draws from various formats, including text, images and videos. With MUM, users will be able to incorporate text in order to specify queries on visual search. For instance, you could use your phone to snap a photo of a favorite shirt using the Google Lens feature — or find a shirt you like through Google Search — then tap the Lens icon on the open image and type in “socks with this pattern” to search with specificity. Continue reading Google Search Will Use MUM AI to Combine Text and Images

Thinking About CES: Increasing Computational Sophistication

The entertainment industry has traditionally piggybacked on primary development in other sectors to fuel our own innovative adoption of practical and compelling technologies. History shows that we consistently benefit from numerous advances across industries for reuse or adaption in our key areas ranging from internal communication all the way to distribution of content. As we start compiling our wish lists for emerging standout technologies to be featured at CES 2022 (returning to Las Vegas January 5-8), we anticipate that an expanded computational sophistication of consumer devices will be in the cards. Continue reading Thinking About CES: Increasing Computational Sophistication

Gaming Industry Reacts to New Entertainment Rules in China

Chinese online game companies are falling in line with Xi Jinping’s government mandate to curb negative influences on the country’s youth, vowing to self-police the workarounds kids have found to circumvent regulatory limits on play-time. In August, China banned persons under 18 from playing video games more than three hours each week. More than 200 game firms including Tencent and NetEase say they will comply with regulations announced by China’s National Press and Publication Administration and take steps to ensure the rules are enforced. The NPPA suggested use of facial recognition to accomplish that goal. Continue reading Gaming Industry Reacts to New Entertainment Rules in China

Amazon Plans High-Tech Department Store Dressing Rooms

Amazon’s planned department stores will leverage technology to boost clothing sales. The company is testing concepts such as having customers use their phones to scan QR codes of apparel they’re interested in so employees can place the items in a dressing room. Customers could then request alternative items using a touchscreen that may prompt with additional suggestions based on their taste. Amazon is considering opening department stores next year, primarily as a way to sell clothing from Amazon’s private labels as well as select third-party brands that sell on Amazon.com. Continue reading Amazon Plans High-Tech Department Store Dressing Rooms

Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

In the midst of troubling press attention as the company faces antitrust claims and ongoing criticism of its App Store business model, Apple unveiled its iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 during a streaming event yesterday. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared live on a virtual set rather than the traditional in-person stage as a precaution during COVID-19. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro features a new camera system that promises a new cinematic mode, improved low-light capabilities and an updated ultra-wide lens. The Apple Watch 7, touting a revamped look, includes new features such as a larger screen, softer corners, more support for e-bikes and fall detection for cycling. Continue reading Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

Tech Firms Raid Security Flaws with ‘Bug Bounty’ Programs

In the security world, “bug bounty” programs are becoming more common, from Facebook to the Department of Defense. Hackers who can reveal the hidden vulnerabilities of a device, system or corporation can reap significant financial rewards. Apple launched its program in 2016 and offers payouts of up to $1 million for the most elusive flaws. The tech giant reportedly spent $3.7 million on such exercises in the 12-month period ending in July 2021, during which time Google shelled out $6.7 million and Microsoft spent $13.6 million. Such programs have become a valuable tool in security maintenance, putting hackers’ inquisitive natures to productive use.  Continue reading Tech Firms Raid Security Flaws with ‘Bug Bounty’ Programs

FTC Reveals Comscore Data Detailing Facebook Dominance

The Federal Trade Commission released Comscore figures showing Facebook’s marketplace dominance. From September 2012 through December 2020, the network generated 92 percent of the monthly time U.S. users spent on social media. In contrast, the combined market shares of Snap, Google+, MeWe and Friendster never exceeded 18 percent in any month during that time frame. A federal judge dismissed the case in June noting that the FTC did not offer details of its monopoly claim; these findings are now part of the FTC’s lawsuit. Continue reading FTC Reveals Comscore Data Detailing Facebook Dominance

TSMC to Raise Its Chip Prices as Global Shortage Continues

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co. (TSMC) — the world’s largest contract chipmaker — plans to raise prices on its most advanced chips by about 10 percent and less advanced chips by about 20 percent, to take effect late this year or in early 2022. The price hike is taking place during a global shortage of semiconductors that already impacts auto companies including General Motors and Toyota Motor, an array of consumer electronics, and major tech companies such as Apple, which uses TSMC chips in its smartphones. GM closed three North American factories and Toyota will slow production by 40 percent in September. Continue reading TSMC to Raise Its Chip Prices as Global Shortage Continues

YouTube Adds Visuals and Multi-Language Results to Search

Google’s YouTube revealed a plan to release improvements to its search functionality that will use visual appeal to provide a better sense of what videos contain, making it easier and more efficient for users to find their desired video content. In the YouTube app, both the Android and iOS versions, users will be able to see a snippet of video rather than a mere thumbnail while scrolling through the content. A section below the videos will also show all chapters, if relevant, enabling the user to click on a specific chapter of the video. Continue reading YouTube Adds Visuals and Multi-Language Results to Search

Samsung First to Design Commercial Semiconductor with AI

Samsung is using Synopsys’ DSO.ai tool to design some of its next-gen Exynos mobile processors for 5G and AI, which will be used in smartphones including its own and other devices. Synopsys chair and co-chief executive Aart de Geus said this is the first example of a “real commercial processor design with AI.” Google, IBM and Nvidia are among the other companies that have discussed designing chips with AI. Synopsys, which works with dozens of companies, also has years of expertise in creating advanced designs to train an AI algorithm. Continue reading Samsung First to Design Commercial Semiconductor with AI

Samsung Unpacks New Watches, Buds and Foldable Phones

At its second Galaxy Unpacked event, Samsung debuted two new versions of folding phones, the Galaxy Z Fold3 5G, which opens like a book and acts like a mini-tablet, and the Galaxy Z Flip3 5G, which opens like a compact mirror and offers a smaller form factor. Also new are two new smartwatches, the Galaxy Watch4 and Galaxy Watch4 Classic, both the first to run Wear OS 3, the Google-owned operating system co-developed with Samsung and Fitbit. Samsung also debuted Galaxy Buds2. All the new gear will go on sale August 27. Continue reading Samsung Unpacks New Watches, Buds and Foldable Phones

Global Smartphone Industry Feeling Impact of Chip Shortage

The smartphone industry is finally feeling the impact of the semiconductor shortage that has bedeviled the auto, PC and home appliance industries. Samsung Electronics, for example, expects a 20 percent drop in shipments from last quarter, due to problems sourcing key parts. Google’s Pixel 5a 5G device will only be available in the U.S. and Japan, even though last year’s models were given a wider release. China’s Xiaomi, which recently surpassed Apple to capture the No. 2 spot in global shipments, has raised the price of its flagship India device, the Redmi Note 10, to $174 from $161.  Continue reading Global Smartphone Industry Feeling Impact of Chip Shortage

Marketers Struggle as Facebook Users Decline to Be Tracked

According to Branch, which analyzes mobile app growth and tracks ad conversions, since Apple’s updated iOS asked users if they wanted to be tracked by apps, only 25 percent have agreed. That response has “been pretty devastating for … the majority of advertisers,” suggests mobile analyst Eric Seufert. Advertisers on social network Facebook have seen a particularly strong impact, according to media buyers who noted that not being able to reliably determine how many sales clients are making means it is challenging to figure out which ads are working. Continue reading Marketers Struggle as Facebook Users Decline to Be Tracked

Samsung TV Plus Is Now Streaming Online After Soft Launch

Samsung debuted its TV Plus streaming service on the Internet, with the ability to cast videos to devices that support Google’s Chromecast to its mobile app. Previously, TV Plus was only available on Samsung’s smart TVs and smartphones. The web-based TV Plus apparently had a soft launch in May but had not yet been publicly announced by the company. With this expansion, TV Plus has become a rival to other free streaming services such as Pluto TV and Tubi. U.S. consumers will have access to about 140 streaming channels. Continue reading Samsung TV Plus Is Now Streaming Online After Soft Launch