All good things must come to an end. In April of 2013 we published an article that Apple and their iOS based devices would begin to slide in 2016. It was in response to a survey/analysis claiming that Apple would reclaim the crown from Google by 2016 and dominate through 2018. For some reason the technical and financial press were jumping at the announcement for Windows phone 8.x. The fact that Windows phone held a single digit market share at the time did not seem to matter to them.
It is said that nature abhors a vacuum and that is certainly true. Something will come along to fill the void if we let nature take its course. Unfortunately this law is a little mutated in the consumer electronics market and especially in the PC component world. Here is reads; the market cannot stand not having an “It” technology, so we much create one. It seems that the last few years we have been watching this happen.
On the 19th of January Samsung announced that they had begun mass production of their 4GB HBM 2.0 3D memory. This announcement was the starting gun for the next big GPU race. As we know both AMD and NVIDIA are racing to get viable products to the market in time for Oculus and HTC to launch their consumer version VR headsets. Up until now we have really only seen the developers’ kits and while these have been impressive they are not what most are hoping for in the final product.
Remember that little patent squabble that NVIDIA and Samsung got into last year? Well some things have happened and they are not all that good for NVIDIA. If you have already forgotten about this incident (we do not blame you) we will fill you in. NVIDIA decided to file a complaint with the ITC against Samsung and Qualcomm. The claim was that Samsung was using technology that violated patents that they owned (programmable shaders, parallel processing etc.). NVIDIA also filed a patent law suit at the same time.
Around 2013, AMD entered into an extended partnership with a group of companies to create the Heterogeneous Systems Architecture Foundation. These companies mostly ARM licensees and included Samsung, MediaTek, Texas Instruments (Ti), AMD, Imagination, Qualcomm, and even ARM themselves. The group was similar in nature to the one that AMD had with Motorola and Ti back before the Athlon processor came into existence. The partners were all working on technology and resource sharing to make programing for devices simpler. We also saw it as a chance for AMD to offset R&D costs and potentially enter into some beneficial agreements.
Last week there was an announcement by Global Foundries that they were licensing Samsung’s 14nm FinFET process for their own use. This immediately started the internet going with talk about how AMD would be using this new process despite there not being any indication that AMD was ready for 14nm for APUs, CPUs, or GPUs for that matter. Now, in true internet fashion the rumor mill has shifted from AMD to NVIDIA. The claim is that NVIDIA will soon utilize Samsung’s 14nm FinFET tech too.
So Apple has released review samples to the press in order to build up interest in their entry into the smart watch market. It is an interesting move for Apple as they have sent out their $1,000 product to a select group of reviewers just to see what they think. After reading a number of them (some I could not get all the way through) it seems that Apple might not have the magnificent product they were hoping for and even the most Apple faithful sites had a hard time spinning the deficiencies that are there.
When it comes to competing in the CPU market, one of AMD’s big issues has been trying to get to the same process as Intel. Ever since the purchase of ATi by AMD they have always been one (and in some cases two) processes behind. What made this even worse was when AMD hit such bad financial times that they had to sell off their FABs just keep the lights on. They now had to deal with a fledgling foundry company that still had some of the same old managers. This has meant that even when AMD might have a design they were still going to be behind Intel when it came to performance per watt.
A couple of days ago Apple formally announced their Apple watch product along with specifications and pricing. The majority of the press and market analysts have been in a frenzy since the announcement and have tried to act like this product is more than a late comer to an already large vertical. According to people that were present at the event the announcement was met with very little excitement and the applause that happened for the Apple watch was very limited.
The concept of the fingerprint ID has been around for a long time and, for the most part, has been seen as a rather secure method of locking your things away. At least that is the way it is seen by the public. For most of the security crowd finger print ID as a security system have one major flaw in them, they are all little more than optical scanners. If you can fool the scanner, which does not do much more than compare one image to another, then you are in.