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Monday, 15 August 2011 21:35

Has nVidia already moved to 28nm?

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nV_LogoAccording to a few articles on the internet and a few things that are rumbling along the “usual lines” nVidia could already have working 28nm Silicon. Although no one seems to know what this silicon is a good guess would be Tegra.  Jen-Hsun Huang, nVidia’s CEO, has been quotes are saying they have an entire team working to make this move much smoother than the one to 40nm.

If you were not around for that one let’s just say it was a mess and nVidia lost a lot of money due to bad yields and other issues that were spawned by TSMC (Taiwanese  Silicon Manufacturing Company) and their own rough transition to this die size. However, if you remember during this troubling time for both nVidia and TSMC there was an announcement that TSMC had already begun work moving to 28nm.

This announcement was made by TSMC around September/October which would make the timing for this about right. So, if TSMC has gotten their 28nm process right and nVidia is truly moving Tegra to 28nm first (and has working silicon) then the logical guess for this working Silicon is Tegra. The question now is which Tegra? It is highly unlikely to be Kal-El, but considering the claims that Jen-Hsun is making, a quad core ARM based SoC (System on Chip) that uses less power than the current dual core, we have to wonder. This is speculation of course but we do have some evidence for this supposition. It would also seem to fit the delays of this new mobile chip that we have heard about (now they are saying Holiday Season). It would not be beyond the realm of probability to see these SoCs ready for December and products out in January/February time frame which again could mean the Kal-El will show up as 28nm and not 40nm… But to be honest it is VERY unlikely.

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screenshot-page-28It looks like Apple may have made a serious blunder in their EU case against Samsung. As we have told you previously Apple has made the claim that Samsung copied the iPad2 in their design of the Galaxy Tab 10.1. As such they have sought an injunction and been granted a preliminary one banning sales of the Tab 10.1 in all areas of the European Union except the Netherlands.

However, we are hearing now that some of the evidence presented was inaccurate. According to Macworld and WebWereld.nl the images used do not show the Tab 10.1 properly. According to Samsung’s site the Tab 10.1 has dimensions of 257.7 x 175.3mm this represents an aspect ratio of 1:1.46. Careful review of the image in Apple’s complain reveal that it has an aspect ratio closer to 1:1.36 putting it very close to the dimensions of Apple’s iPad2.

Now the question is whether Apple actually manipulated this image or if they used outdated images (knowingly or not). If it is the former then Apple is in serious trouble as they have presented false evidence in a legal proceeding. If it is the later then they will still face some serious consequences as it is the plaintiff’s responsibility to present accurate information in any litigation (even in the EU). Samsung has filed an appeal to the original injunction and with this new evidence they have a very good chance of winning. No matter the cause I am sure that the Court System will be keeping a closer eye on Apple in the future. Let’s remember Apple’s presentation during the “grip of death” problem and the iPhone 4 where they cherry picked three phones to prove the grip issue was global. After that incident it was shown that even with those phones the issue was very limited and not the same as what Apple was trying to show. It actually prompted statements and the threat of legal action from Samsung and HTC at the time. So we would honestly not be surprised to find that Apple knowingly used an outdated image of the Tab 10.1 in their evidence to further their case.


Apples-Flawed-EvidencePicture Credit WeWerld.nl

It will be interesting to watch the outcome of this one.

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Credit to forum member Kelevmor for passing this one along.

Monday, 15 August 2011 17:10

Intel Offers CPU Upgrade Plan, For some CPUs..

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55Intel is offering another upgrade plan for some of their Core i3 and Pentium G CPUs (the Core i3 2312 and 2102 and the Pentium G622). This is similar to an upgrade offer that was given last year for another group of CPUs. For a small fee (it was $50 last year) you can purchase a code that will unlock features in the CPU to increase performance. These features are reportedly able to bring an alleged 11-15% performance boost over the “locked” CPUs.


Of course the fact that Intel locked off those features to begin with have some a tad bit annoyed, but a quick look around finds that most of these are not retail CPUs but OEM ones. This means a quick and easy upgrade for just about any consumer. We do not have any information on how much this will cost, but it should not be more than $50-$60. Check out Intel’s site for more information.

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TransformerApple has been having a blast dropping patents for vague concepts and even an entire device type (with their pending Pico Projector patent) regardless of prior art and at times regardless of if the patent is actual technology or not (the look and feel of something). Then they take these patents and wave them in the face of judges that have no real idea of what the patent is (or is not) covering asking for injunctions and outright bans on products from companies that are relatively underfunded in the legal department. If you ask Apple about this they will stand and say that they are protecting their Intellectual Property (which in many cases was “borrowed” from another company that cannot afford a legal fight with Apple like S3). This abuse of the patent and copyright system is detestable, but is an article for another day.

The question I am wondering is, why has Apple not gone after Microsoft? Windows 7 on a tablet has Pinch to Zoom, finger gestures and even the same “look and feel” when you scroll with your finger. Now, I could be wrong, but if Apple is trying to protect their IP you would think they would be going after Microsoft in a big way. I am also pretty sure they would be adding Asus (who has one of the best-selling Windows Based Tablets on the market right now) to their legal wish list as well. So, why do they leave these two obvious copy cats out of the litigation arena?

Well, here are a few reasons that we were able to come up with based on research. Microsoft is safe simply because they have bailed out Apple multiple times in the past and also have several patents and items that Apple needs to survive (Office for Mac is still a huge seller). Whether the Apple faithful and Steve Jobs want to admit it or not Apple owes it very existence to their rival; without Bill Gates and Microsoft we would be talking about Apple in the past tense. Right now Adobe is wishing they had dropped money into that bailout instead of just spending time and money making their products work on Apple’s RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) based systems (the PowerPC days). If they had, they perhaps they would have some leverage in the whole HTML5 Vs. Flash competition. This also applies to Microsoft’s net generation operating system Windows 8. In fact is applies even more as Microsoft is writing it to work on ARM based CPUs. The previews that we have seen also make it very tablet friendly and an obvious threat to Apple’s weakening hold on the tablet market. Yet, we have heard no call to arms from the Apple legal team over this.  

So, what about Asus and their tablets? Asus is also untouchable right now because they also have something that Apple wants; A manufacturing facility. Apple has been looking for alternatives to Foxconn due to the bad press surrounding the company’s many suicides. The world now knows that the iPhone, iPod and many other Apple products are assembled there and with the many deaths over working conditions at these plants the eyes are turning to look at Apple. The question has already been raised by many humanitarian groups “why has Apple done nothing about this?” You would think that a company that claims to be so “Green” and Earth Friendly would be appalled by what is happening over there. However, other than a few press releases (which usually tame the faithful) Apple has done nothing. At least on the surface, we have heard rumors that Apple is courting Pegatron as an alternative manufacturing site for the next generation of iToys. If this is true (and as of now we have no evidence to the contrary) then Apple would not want to get Asus upset. After all Asus owns Pegatron. It is their manufacturing company.

So then next time you hear an Apple press representative standing on the soapbox and loudly declaiming how they are protecting their Intellectual Property from the masses of thieves and copy-cats out there, just remember that they are only throwing this around at the companies they feel they can bully into submission. In the end no one likes a bully, and bullies usually reap what they sow in the long run.

Saturday, 13 August 2011 20:25

We Put the Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H B3 Through its Paces Featured

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09After a look into the design and features of the Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H we are now diving into how well it performs. Unlike the MSI Z68A-GD80 we do not have any indications that we will run out of PCIe lanes, however we are still a little concerned about how well the Z68X will perform when we drop in the HD5870. We are also more than a little curious to see how the touchBIOS will work on the real world. So, let’s dive in and get to testing the Gigabyte Z68X-UD3H.

Friday, 12 August 2011 22:20

Who copied who?

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Electric-Kettle-with-Tea-Pot-WX-8971-Looks like things are heating up between Apple and Samsung. I am not talking about anything like a war between the two companies or anything like that, but in the realm of stupid and asinine complaints. We kick off things with Apple’s complaint that Samsung “Copied” the iPad and iPhone. They base this in the fact that the Galaxy Tab 10.1 looks like the iPad and that some of Samsung’s phones look like the iPhone… (their words not mine). Apple then goes on to say that Samsung copied the look and feel of the iOS (where have I heard that before).

I hate to say this but, if you were to pick up 20 smart phones they would all be very alike. They are all around the same size and shape and the UI’s are also very close. If you dig deeper, the way they operate are also nearly identical; after all how many different ways can you swipe or tap with your finger? No, this one smells of Apple trying to delay a product that has a very good chance of hurting their sales. There is no other reason to ask for the injunction. The funny thing is that there are almost no real patents being bandied about here by Apple. This is because if they throw those out Samsung has a few of its own to drop on Apple some that could even be tied to the A4 SoC in the original iPad…

For Samsung’s part they are making the claim of “Nuh-Uh!” followed by the “you never said that!” defense. As it stands right now they are pushing for a rehearing on the claim that an injunction was not mentioned or requested in the original complaint. They are also claiming that the judge that approved the temporary ban did so without allowing Samsung to present evidence in its defense.  This is very hard to believe as it represents both an unethical and illegal move by the judge in question. It is even harder to believe considering that an injunction and ban is exactly what Apple went for in Australia.

To be honest both companies are acting a little childish and unprofessional. If you ever wanted to see just how arrogant companies can be here it is, and to top it off you get to see just how ignorant the legal system is to how technology and the tech industry as a whole works.

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Thursday, 11 August 2011 22:11

How Apple does it different

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Patent_PendingEveryone talks about Apple innovation and how they are great designers and creators. They have come up with some amazing ideas; marketing ideas. If you look at the history of Apple they have really not “created” much. They have taken ideas and concepts and made them work and in some cases even made them better, but for the most part they have not really created anything new.

For those that are going to nay-say this let’s look at a few items. The original Apple, was based off of concepts that were seen at Xerox and also on the IBM “PC” concept that was out. The Original iPad was taken (as proved in court) from the Creative Nomad MP3 player. The iPod was a much better product, but it was based on the Creative design. You can look back and see this trend in almost all of Apple’s devices. I am not calling apple out on anything new here as this is also the trend with most companies.

Where Apple does things different though is to file a patent on their way of doing things and make those patents so vague and broad that they can easily be extended to encompass almost anything in the event that Apple feels threatened. A case in point on this is one of the core patents in the Apple Vs the world of Android suits around the world. The Patent that was granted by to Apple actually covers “the look and feel” of the way a touch screen works. Excuse me? The look and feel? How to you patent that? Maybe I am wrong, but I thought patents were for technology. As such they should be about the actual hardware and workings involved not the concept or thought. Still Apple has managed to push these through even with prior art in evidence and on the books.

So Apple’s success (and bank roll) comes from being able to market old ideas as new and innovative, and to patent concepts and ideas that are so broad that they can sue anyone that even tries to invent a competitive product. Considering they are getting away with it on a massive scale it is really not a bad business model.

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tegradimeAbout three or four years ago nVidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang made the bold announcement that he wanted nVidia’s ARM based SoC (System on Chip) named Tegra to become 50% of nVidia’s revenue. One of the products that has had at least good success has been Microsoft’s ZuneHD. We were given the chance to play around with one of these and found it to be a great product. Unfortunately between the launch of the Tegra and the Tegra 2 was a serious delay. This had something of a negative impact on the market acceptance for this processor. When you combined these delays with the issues (and rumors) around the Fermi GPUs things did not look good for nVidia’s dream.

However, since that time they have managed to turn much of that around and pulled off some great design wins. We have found nVidia’s dual core Tegra 2 in devices such as Asus’ Transformer and the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1. Both of these devices have grabbed the market’s interest and have begun to nibble away at the strangle hold that Apple has on the tablet market (and prompted a number of lawsuits from Apple).

Now with the Tegra 2 still tumbling out into the market nVidia is talking Kal-El a quad core Tegra that is reportedly faster and more power efficient than the Tegra 2. Now, having a power efficient quad core ARM based SoC is a very cool feat, but if nVidia is to be believed then the Kal-El Tegra will use less power than the current dual core Tegra 2. For those that will sat that the Android based Tablet and phone is in serious trouble due to Apple’s recent lawsuits and patent complaints do not worry. According to Huang, nVidia is still investing heavily in Android and also looking forward to Microsoft’s Windows 8. Windows 8 will be the first Windows operating system for ARM based SoCs.

We have some questions into nVidia to see just what they see as the future for Terga and the whole world of the Tegra and Smart device. We hope to hear back from them soon on this, but for now… it will be interesting to watch and see if nVidia can get Kal-El out of the gate soon and not repeat the same mistakes that plagued Tegra 2.

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Kingston Wi-Drive Wins Best of Show at Flash Memory Summit

Wireless, Portable Storage Solution for Apple Devices Recognized as

“Most Innovative Flash Memory Consumer Application”

Fountain Valley, CA -- August 11, 2011 -- Kingston Digital, Inc., the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the independent world leader in memory products, today announced that Wi-Drivehas been chosen by the Flash Memory Summit as a Best of Show award winner for 2011 in the Most Innovative Flash Consumer Application category. The award was handed out last night at the Flash Memory Summit Best of Show Awards event in Santa Clara, Calif.

“We are honored to have received the Best of Show award this year as Wi-Drive is truly an innovative Flash memory-based wireless solution that extends the storage capacities of Apple devices,” said Andrew Ewing, Flash memory business manager. “Wi-Drive allows users to wirelessly view documents and media files, and choose to share them with others, while on the go for work or pleasure.”

The Flash Memory Summit conference, held once a year, is dedicated entirely to Flash memory and its applications. The summit features exhibits and technical sessions that bring together Flash vendors, engineers, system designers and other professions. Wi-Drive was reviewed by a panel of industry experts prior to the show. Winning products were evaluated according to the following criteria:

  • Distinctiveness of the application, technology, or product
  • Central use of Flash memory as a solution or innovation
  • Technical and business significance to the general marketplace

“The judges of the Flash Memory Summit Awards Committee had the daunting task of selecting the Most Innovative Consumer Application from such a large pool of quality submissions,” said Tom Coughlin, Summit Chairperson and President of Coughlin Associates.  “We are proud to select Kingston Digital’s Wi-Drive as a wireless, portable storage device that allows users of the Apple iPad®, iPhone® and iPod touch® to expand their storage.”

Wi-Drive began shipping in July and is available in both 16GB and 32GB capacities. Through the Kingston Wi-Drive app from the App StoreSM, three users can simultaneously watch movies, listen to music and view photos or documents. Its sleek, extremely portable and functional design allows users to view their files anywhere, without having to rely on cloud-based technology or Internet access.

To learn how users can easily enhance the storage capabilities of the Apple iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, a video demonstration and more information is available at www.kingston.com/flash/wi_drive.asp

For a complete list of all the Flash Memory Summit Best of Show awards winners, visit www.flashmemorysummit.com

 

Kingston can be found on:

 

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/kingstontechmemory

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/kingstontechnology

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/kingstonhq

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/164609?trk=tyah

 

About Kingston Digital, Inc.

Kingston Digital, Inc. (“KDI”) is the Flash memory affiliate of Kingston Technology Company, Inc., the world’s largest independent manufacturer of memory products. Established in 2008, KDI is headquartered in Fountain Valley, California, USA. For more information, please visit www.kingston.com or call 800-337-8410.

 

About Flash Memory Summit

Flash Memory Summit is the only conference dedicated entirely to flash memory and its applications.  It is intended for system designers, analysts, hardware and software engineers, product marketing and marketing communications specialists, and engineering and marketing managers.  It features forums, half-day tutorials, paper and panel sessions, and expert tables.  Subjects include harsh environments, laptops, enterprise storage system applications, consumer products, performance, product design, caching methods, design methods, software, new technologies, market research, testing and reliability, and security.  The Summit also includes exhibits of the latest products and product awards. For more information, visit www.flashmemorysummit.com. Twitter: flashmem Facebook:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Flash-Memory-Summit/72498807894

 

About Conference ConCepts, Inc.

Founded in 1994, Conference ConCepts is a full-service professional conference and association management company that provides extensive capabilities in all aspects of technical conference management. Conference ConCepts develops and produces events both on its own, and in partnership with associations, corporations, and publishers. The skill sets of the company’s employees and contractors, representing over 200 cumulative years of experience, enables Conference ConCepts to offer clients a choice of services, ranging from assistance with a single aspect of a conference to the complete development and administration of a full-fledged “turnkey” event. For more information about Conference ConCepts, visit: http://www.confconcepts.com

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starbucks-logoJonathan Stark was curious about something. As a gadget-laden mobile app developer with a thirst for Starbucks, he wondered how he could associate a single Starbucks mobile card with more than one mobile device. He tried this workaround for Starbucks limit: he took a screenshot on one device and emailed it to another. Turns out Starbucks doesn’t mind, displayed barcodes all scan the same. 

He uploaded the photo to his blog and his lucky followers were treated to this bit of information, as well as a cup of coffee on him. Before the end of the day, his initial $30 was down to $1.26. He reloaded $50 “for his friends on the west coast” and it was depleted again in hours.

Here’s where it gets interesting: a friend of Jonathan’s did him a solid and reloaded the card. It also turns out Starbucks will not only let anyone with an image of the card use it for coffee, they also don’t care who reloads it as long as they’ve got the barcode.

Being the developer he is, he quickly wrote a bot that scrapes the Starbucks site and updates a Twitter account he created for the card. Jonathan figured if you’re getting on board, you can follow the card tweets and decide whether to get a latte, or maybe help the next guy out.

Once the idea took off, more than his blog followers were playing along and his idea got the notice of more than just the tech sites for its uniqueness. The card’s Twitter account currently has over 9000 followers and in just the past hour includes seven tweets about reaching a zero balance, and 21 for positive amounts. Jonathan admits the transactions and reloads are not aggregating correctly, so it’s impossible right now to tell how often and for how much the card is being used. We’re confident he’ll figure it out though and update his followers, who have surely grown by the hundreds – full of developers, retailers, and philanthropists alike.

Links:

http://twitter.com/#!/jonathanscard

http://jonathanstark.com/images/sbux-card.png

http://jonathanstark.com/

http://jonathanstark.com/blog/2011/07/14/broadcasting-mobile-currency/#more-1486


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Editor's Note: This article, while fun does show how dangerous these mobile purchasing and mobile wallet applications can be. If someone can skim information off of your phone Via Bluetooth, Free Wilress etc you can be subjected to serious theft.

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