1.2 billion smartphones expected to ship this year in total

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Sep 17, 2014 3:32 AM CDT

According to the latest report from mobile research specialist Juniper Research, global smartphone shipments are expected to swell this year to 1.2 billion units. This number is up 19% over the 985 million smartphones shipped in 2013.

This 19% growth is thanks to the increase in shipments in the emerging markets, where smartphones shipments are driven by low-cost economy ($75-$150) and ultra-economy (sub-$75) smartphones. Developed markets have been seeing a sign of slowing growth for a while now, as everyone has a smartphone, with some having no reason to upgrade.

Juniper Research does note that both Samsung and Apple have a massive 45% chunk of the global smartphone shipment pie, which is a mammoth number. The research specialist has said that the average price of a smartphone will slowly decline by 2019 to around $274, which will be thanks to increased advances in technology, as well as new competition.

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Sony prepares for massive $2B financial year loss

Ben Gourlay | Business, Financial & Legal | Sep 17, 2014 2:03 AM CDT

For far too many years, Sony has been bleeding cash, facing increased competition and selling off key assets and even business, such as the VAIO computing arm in a desperate effort to stay afloat. Now, things are getting a lot worse.

Sony prepares for massive $2B financial year loss

According to the Wall Street Journal, the struggling Japanese giant is set to announce a $2.15B loss for the last financial year, four and a half times the previously forecast loss, in results that are set to be published shortly.

Whilst specifics are forthcoming, it is expected that the former jewel in the companies crown; television, will continue to cause heavy losses, whilst the mobile division which encompasses tablets, phones and peripherals is also expected to post significant write downs.

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Microsoft unveils an Xbox controller made specifically for Windows

Anthony Garreffa | Peripherals | Sep 17, 2014 1:31 AM CDT

For what has felt like forever, gamers have wanted the Xbox controller made available for Windows, and now that day has come. Microsoft has unveiled an Xbox controller made specifically for Windows, as well as a few other peripherals, with a new mouse and keyboard that will work on virtually any tablet on the market, including an iPad.

The new Xbox controller for Windows is different to the one console gamers know and love, with a USB cable tethering it to your PC. The new Xbox controller, while made for Windows, still works on the Xbox. The new controller sports infrared LEDs that can be picked up by the Kinect, working with other Xbox hardware such as the Charge Kit and Chat Headset.

Microsoft has made its new Xbox controller for Windows compatible with Windows 7 and Windows 8.1, requires a single USB port, and is priced at $59.95. Microsoft will make the new Xbox controller available to all in November.

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MSI's GeForce GTX 970 GAMING with TwinFrozr V spotted, looks hot

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards & GPUs | Sep 16, 2014 11:59 PM CDT

It looks like we are just days away from meeting the new GeForce GTX 900 series from NVIDIA, with a very detailed look at MSI's offering of the GTX 970 GAMING card, which features the company's TwinFrozr V cooler.

MSI's GTX 970 GAMING features TwinFrozr V, which includes two 100mm propeller-blade fans, with a beautiful black-and-red design. The GeForce GTX 970 itself features 1664 CUDA cores, with MSI's factory-overclocked 1140MHz and Boost clock of 1279MHz. 4GB of RAM is on the card with a 256-bit memory bus, with a TDP of just 148W. MSI requires one 8-pin and one 6-pin, which is up from the two 6-pin PCIe power connector requirements of the reference GeForce GTX 970.

One of the weird things that MSI has done to its GTX 970 GAMING card, is remove some of the DisplayPort outputs that the reference GTX 970 sports. The reference GTX 970 and GTX 980 GPUs include three DisplayPort outputs, but the MSI GTX 970 GAMING has just one DisplayPort, one HDMI and two DVI ports.

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NASA chooses Boeing and SpaceX to send Americans to the ISS

NASA has announced that astronauts will once again travel to and from the International Space Station (ISS) from the US on American spacecraft, thanks to new contracts announced just hours ago. The US space agency announced its partnerships with Boeing and SpaceX to transfer US crews to and from the ISS using their CST-100 and Crew Dragon spacecraft, ending its reliance on Russia by 2017.

NASA administrator, Charlie Bolden, said at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida: "From day one, the Obama Administration made clear that the greatest nation on Earth should not be dependent on other nations to get into space. Thanks to the leadership of President Obama, the hard work of our NASA and industry teams, and support from Congress, today we are one step closer to launching our astronauts from U.S. soil on American spacecraft and ending the nation's sole reliance on Russia by 2017. Turning over low-Earth orbit transportation to private industry will also allow NASA to focus on an even more ambitious mission - sending humans to Mars".

This deal has seen Boeing end up with $4.2 billion, while SpaceX receives a cheque from NASA for $2.6 billion. These new contracts include at least one rewed flight test per company, with NASA having one astronaut aboard to "verify the fully integrated rocket and spacecraft system can launch, maneuver in orbit, and dock to the space station, as well as validate all its systems perform as expected".

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Cypress intros the new SuperSpeed Explorer Kit at IDF 2014

William Harmon | Storage | Sep 16, 2014 7:26 PM CDT

IDF 2014 - At Intel Developer Forum (IDF) 2014, Cypress Semiconductor Corp. introduced a low-cost, easy-to-use development platform that enables designers to add high-performance USB 3.0 throughput to virtually any system.

The EZ-USB FX3 is the industry's only programmable USB 3.0 peripheral controller. It is equipped with a highly configurable General Programmable Interface (GPIF II), which can be programmed in 8-, 16-, and 32-bit configurations. GPIF II allows FX3 to communicate directly with application processors, FPGAs, storage media, and image sensors and provides a data transfer rate of up to 400 Megabytes per second, while using lower power than alternative solutions. The SuperSpeed Explorer Kit easily interfaces with external devices via three accessory boards that connect to Aptina image sensors, Altera FPGAs and Xilinx FPGAs, respectively. The kit also includes an integrated debugger with a standard USB interface to further simplify designs and speed time to market.

For more information SuperSpeed Explorer Kit.

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Supermicro releases X10 server solutions at IDF 2014

William Harmon | Computer Systems | Sep 16, 2014 6:45 PM CDT

IDF 2014 - Supermicro Releases X10 Server Solutions Featuring New Intel® Xeon® Processor E5-2600/1600 v3, DDR4 and NVMe at IDF 2014.

Charles Liang, President and CEO of Supermicro said "Supermicro's X10 Green Computing solutions offer the most optimized DP/UP server and storage platforms on the market supporting advanced technologies and new Intel Xeon E5-2600/1600 v3 processors. Leading the wave is our new 1U/2U Ultra SuperServers which integrate hot-swap NVMe SSDs and SAS3 storage with high bandwidth 10G/40G networking in a new thermal optimized architecture that minimizes fan count and fan power consumption to provide exactly the best platform for enterprise-class virtualization and hyper-scale computing applications. Combined with our new X10 TwinPro, MicroBlade and FatTwin systems as well as the industry's widest range of server building blocks with Titanium level high efficiency power supplies, Supermicro is delivering total solutions to address the critical power, space and cost challenges facing today's data driven businesses."

Supermicro has many new products to offer up with this new release of X10 servers. At IDF 2014, we happened to catch up with Supermicro to check out the new products they have to offer.

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Samsung rumored to be working on its on GPU

Anthony Garreffa | CPU, APU & Chipsets | Sep 16, 2014 7:56 AM CDT

We found out not too long ago that NVIDIA was suing Samsung and Qualcomm, without going after any other companies, even if those companies used chips and parts from Samsung and Qualcomm, but now we might have found out why: Samsung is rumored to be working on its own GPU.

The news is coming from Fudzilla, and is just a rumor right now, but the company has been reportedly hiring people from the likes of AMD, NVIDIA and Intel. If Samsung were to be building its own GPU, it would be competing directly against Qualcomm and NVIDIA, with the latter having a very capable SoC with its Tegra K1 processor.

If Samsung did build its own GPU, it would save itself from having to license one from another company, as it would have nearly all of the components it needs for a flagship device built-in-house, from the screen, right down to the GPU.

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Micron Announces M600 2.5 SATA, mSATA and m.2 SSDs for OEMs

Chris Ramseyer | Storage | Sep 16, 2014 7:00 AM CDT

Today Micron announced the new M600 SSD with Micron's innovative 128Gb 16nm MLC NAND flash. Availability comes in three form factors, 2.5" SATA, mSATA and m.2 (NGFF).

The M600 product series was designed for system builders and OEMs for use in off-the-shelf or custom PCs like corporate notebooks, Ultrabooks, tablets, video production, workstation and even embedded systems that require predictable high performance, low power consumptions, data security and high reliability.

Micron claims sequential read performance at 560 MB/s and sequential write performance at 510 MB/s. Random performance is rated at 100K read and 88K write. The 4-corner numbers are impressive but just as impressive are the endurance ratings. Micron claims the 128GB models deliver a staggering 100TB enduarance. The 256GB takes that up to 200 TB, the 512GB model up to 300 TB and the large 1TB model can deliver 400 TB of write endurance.

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Google wants to provide remote lands with Internet access from drones

Anthony Garreffa | Drones | Sep 16, 2014 4:27 AM CDT

With Google's recent acquisition of Titan Aerospace, many have wondered what it would do in our skies - well, now we have somewhat of an idea what the Mountain View-based giant will do. Google has asked the Federal Communications Commission for permission to take to the skies with experimental drones that would provide Internet access to remote areas.

Google wrote to the FCC on Friday, asking it to keep most of the testing details under wraps, but it did write: "Google recently acquired Titan Aerospace, a firm that specializes in developing solar and electric unmanned aerial systems ('UAS') for high altitude, long endurance flights. These systems may eventually be used to provide Internet connections in remote areas or help monitor environmental damage, such as oil spills or deforestation. The STA [Special Temporary Authority] is needed for demonstration and testing of [REDACTED] in a carefully controlled environment".

Starting on October 6, 2014, Google wants to start testing out its drones for 180 days. We should see the site of these tests "in a square east of Albuquerque and south of Santa Fe, New Mexico, centered roughly on the unincorporated community of Stanley", according to consulting engineer Steven Crowley. Google will transmit at frequencies between 910MHz and 927MHz, and from 2.4GHz to 2.414GHz. What will Google be transmitting at those frequencies? No one knows, as this information was redacted from the document, with the company refusing to comment on its application.

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