Things were looking bleak for Samsung not long ago when it announced a profit for Q2 that fell short of what analysts were expecting. The reason for that shortfall was competition from Chinese smartphone makers and gains for the Korean won. Despite the weak profit that Samsung reported, the company is now forecasting an improvement in smartphone sales.
Samsung has said that new products and demand for 4G devices will boost its sales in Q3. Samsung is counting on new products from competitors like Apple to increase the demand for devices overall. The company is also hoping that demand for 4G phones in China will increase in Q3.
In Q2, Samsung saw sales of its smartphones slide to 78 million units compared to 87.5 million units in Q1 marking the third straight quarter with sales decline. Several analysts agree with Samsung's expectation for improved sales.
A team of researchers at CrowdStrike is claiming China's "Deep Panda" cyber offensive group has begun targeting, and has now compromised, US national security think tanks. In an alarming statement, co-founder Dmitri Alperovitch asserted that the attacks seem to be tied into monitoring activity from the newly founded Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).
In a blog post, CrowdStrike's co-found Dmitri Alperovitch outlined the company's work with human rights groups and security think tanks. Former senior government officials frequently work in organizations like these, and so are a natural target of hostile intelligence services, Alperovitch said, adding that he has "great confidence" the Deep Panda group is affiliated with the Chinese government. It's one of 30 CrowdStrike closely follows in China, but the company points out it is also one of the most sophisticated.
As the armed ISIS faction launched an attack on an oil refinery, Alperovitch claims Deep Panda began a hunt for files from US thinktank employees. He pointed out that China is the top foreign investor in Iraq's oil infrastructure, and so espionage fits in with the country's national interests. "It wouldn't be surprising if the Chinese government is highly interested in getting a better sense of the possibility of deeper US military involvement that could help protect the Chinese oil infrastructure in Iraq," Alperovitch wrote. "In fact, the shift in targeting of Iraq policy individuals occurred on June 18, the day that ISIS began its attack on the Baiji oil refinery."
A group of volunteers has been working out of an old abandoned McDonalds on the campus of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View. These researchers have been working to establish communications with an old NASA satellite called ISEE-3 that was retasked decades ago by NASA to study comets.
The team was able to establish communications, but was unable to get the spacecraft to fire its thrusters previously. The team has announced that it has now been able to get the thrusters to fire before the satellite was too far away and lost again for thousands of years.
The ultimate goal of the volunteers is to get ISEE-3 back to the Earth-sun Lagrange point 1 to resume its original task of observing solar winds. NASA has to give the volunteer team the final approval to bring the satellite into its intended orbit.
The 2014 Samsung Global SSD Summit 2014 in Seoul, South Korea, was somewhat of an SSD nirvana. Samsung touted their industry-first 3D NAND (V-NAND), the first 3bit MLC SSDs for the datacenter (the 845DC EVO), the world's first M.2 SSD for the datacenter, and to top it all off we were finally able to take a peek at Samsung's NVMe offerings.
Samsung has the distinct advantage of being the first to receive NVMe interoperability certification from UNH-IOL, but the OEM market has kept the drive hidden from the retail space.
We start with the SM1715 and its unique heat sink that encompasses the entire side of the drive. The SM1715 utilizes the standardized NVMe protocol. NVMe provides numerous advantages with its simplified driver stack, command set, and enhanced queue/pairing mechanisms. For an in-depth view of NVMe, reference our recently released Defining NVMe article.
The SM1715 delivers up to 750,000 random read IOPS and 180,000 random write IOPS via its PCIe Gen3 x4 connection. The incredibly dense package comes in the standard HHHL form factor with capacities of 1,600 GB and a whopping 3,200 GB. The drive also features enhanced power loss protection in the form of the discrete capacitors that are hiding under the heat sinks.
Fossilized remains of the largest flying bird ever discovered have been identified after being unearthed 30 years ago. It has taken scientists that long to identify the species, but the identification is complete. Scientists say that the massive bird would have resembled a seagull with a wingspan between 20 and 24-feet.
The fossil was discovered in South Carolina and scientists on the project say that the fossil is remarkable for its size and its preservation. The skull is said to be remarkably intact and the scientists are surprised that the bird made it to the bottom of the ancient sea without being destroyed by scavengers.
Scientists say that despite its massive size, the bird would have been a very elegant flier. The team believes that the massive bird would have used air currents to soar over the ocean looking for food.
Samsung is on a roll with V-NAND and 3bit MLC datacenter products making a huge splash at the 2014 Samsung Global SSD Summit in Seoul. The SM953, the world's first M.2 SSD designed for the datacenter, was yet another exciting Samsung-exclusive product on display in the product showcase.
The chains of legacy HDD form factors have been binding SSDs into large bulky cases that are not required for today's dense NAND. M.2 provides a new standardized form factor that limits the device to the size of the NAND, controller, PCB, and other components. This will allow for denser deployments and enable even smaller blade and microserver designs. Storage and performance density are paramount in the datacenter and SSDs provide the ultimate in both respects. It is encouraging to see these new designs finally making their way into the datacenter.
Other than the 1,800 MB /s sequential read performance, there is precious little information publicly available at this point. We do know that the SM953 comes in one capacity of 480GB. M.2 also has standardized designs that are longer, which will allow for even more NAND per device. The inclusion of V-NAND, with its enhanced density, will also provide much more capacity in these 'gumstick' devices. There is no mention of the NAND employed on the SM953.
A few interesting details were outlined briefly during the presentation. The first is that the SM953 will deliver incredible power efficiency. Power is always a big concern and can lead to excessive heat generation. Active power is rated for 6W, whereas the competition is rated for 10-25W per device. Compatibility with NVMe v1.1 assures that the SM953 provides the latest in power optimizations from the NVMe spec. NVMe revision 1.1 includes enhanced autonomous sleep state functionality for NVMe devices, which will enable lower idle power draw much like DEVSLP. NVMe provides even more streamlined efficiency by allowing the device to automatically transition into lower sleep states without host initiation.
Cruise ships are massive machines that ply the seas like floating hotels packed with people. Some of the cruise ships have more to do on them than others and it can be hard to figure out exactly what the ship looks like before booking a trip. Google is fixing that issue with Street View mapping its very first cruise ship.
Google Street View has mapped the Royal Caribbean Allure of the Seas cruise ship. The mapping of the cruise ship was done as part of Google Maps Business View, a service where business pays to have its location imaged by a Google certified photographer and then features on Street View.
The imagery of the cruise ship was shot using a DSLR camera over eight days and then pieced together from 20,000 separate images. Passengers thinking of booking a trip on the ship can see the ships neighborhoods with a replica of Central Park, the Royal Promenade, and the outside sun deck. The ship's swimming pools and ice rink are also visible.
Home Depot has been offering a few smart home products that run on the Wink platform and can be controlled using a Wink app on Android or iOS devices for a while. Home Depot has now expanded the number of Wink devices in its stores to almost 60 including things like smart light bulbs, sprinklers for the yard, and even water heaters.
The new Wink devices will be available in almost all of its 2000 stores in the US as well as its website. Wink devices can be controlled by a Wink hub that sells for around $50 normally, but can be purchased for half that amount when bought with another Wink enabled device like a light bulb.
When the hub is bought with two Wink devices, it can be purchased for 99 cents. Wink apps also allow control of certain other smart home items from Chamberlain, Honeywell, and LED bulbs by Philips and GE.
The 2014 Samsung SSD Global Summit took place last week in Seoul. With tight schedules, long international flights, and a holiday weekend as well, our detailed analysis will begin rolling today. Chris will dive in on coverage on the consumer side, and also post video of the entire Global Summit presentation. I will be weighing in on some of the datacenter storage solutions provided by Samsung.
The majority of the Global Summit presentations focused on the innovative new V-NAND products from Samsung. V-NAND is 3D NAND that achieves better density, performance, endurance, and power consumption, via vertical stacking of the NAND cells. This runs counter to the established norm of increasing density through NAND shrinks, and with good reason. Shrinks provide more density, but actually reduce endurance. V-NAND provides a revolutionary path forward, and Samsung is the first to mass-produce and bring to market 3D NAND-based solutions.
Some of the major tech firms in the US and abroad have banded together to start a new consortium that is focused on promoting standards for the Internet of Things. The new consortium is called the Open Interconnect Consortium and it boasts among its participants Intel, Samsung, Dell, Broadcom, and Amtel.
The group wants to define a common communication framework that is based on industry standards that will allow wireless connectivity and intelligent management of data between devices. Connectivity under the plan will be possible regardless of form factor, OS, or service provider according to the group.
For now, the group is offering no details on how it plans to pull that goal off. The bad news for these firms is that there is another group called the Allseen Alliance trying to do the same thing and that group boasts 50 members including Microsoft, Cisco, LG, Panasonic, Sharp, and others.