At the IFA 2014 in Berlin, Intel launched the new Intel Core M processor which will power new 2-in-1 devices from a variety of manufacturers including Acer, ASUS, Dell, HP, Lenovo, and Toshiba. Continue reading Intel launches the Intel Core M Processor to power new range of 2-in-1 devices
Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce marketplace, announced the launch of five new tablets under its own brand, Digiflip Pro. The tablets are exclusively available on Flipkart.com, and priced from ₹5,999. Continue reading Flipkart launches five new Digiflip Pro tablets powered by Intel Processors
As part of World Password Day earlier this week, McAfee and its partners started an effort to help educate consumers worldwide on the importance of password safety in the wake of the multiple global security breaches. Continue reading PasswordDay.org helps consumers protect personal information online
//build, Microsoft’s annual developer conference kicked off on April 2 and the marathon keynote included several announcements that finally bring Microsoft’s “One Windows” vision closer to reality.
Although it may not be an official or formalized mission, “One Windows” seems to be an ever-so-close possibility since the time Windows Phone moved to NT kernel to make it very similar to Windows 8 on PCs. First, the relevant announcements:
Windows Phone 8.1: The version number incremented by .1 would seem to imply an incremental change, but that is absolutely misleading. The number, and magnitude, of changes in Windows Phone 8.1 from Windows Phone 8 is perhaps far greater than the changes Windows Phone 8 itself introduced over Windows Phone 7. Consumer features like lock screen themes and Start Screen background image and enterprise features like VPN support are just a few. The biggest change perhaps, is the presence of digital personal assistant called Cortana, which seems to be a smart mix of Apple’s Siri and Google’s Google now.
Windows Phone 8.1 walkthrough by Joe Belfiore
Universal apps: Even though it is possible to create apps for Windows Phone and Windows 8 where a lot of code is shared between the two, Microsoft announced what they are calling “Universal apps“. These apps are actually built with the intention to be run on the phone as well as on tablet and PC. It is a single binary which potentially could render differently depending on the device on which it runs. In order to make this possible, developers would need to modify their apps and with the appropriate changes applied, have their customers purchase once and (optionally) use it on multiple devices. Until now, even though much of the code could be reused/shared, it was not possible to have a single binary nor was it possible to allow the customer to buy on a phone and use it on a tablet. That has now changed, and is a huge step in the unification of Windows. What’s more, in their “vision” part of the keynote, Microsoft executives also promised that the Universal apps would extend to the Xbox as well, thereby making these apps truly “universal”.
Windows Universal app icons
Windows for “Internet of Things”: Also as part of the vision, Microsoft introduced a new as yet unnamed version of Windows aimed at all other kinds of devices which are proliferating around us, and generically called it “Windows for the Internet of Things“. These devices, until now, have all been using Android or something else, but definitely not Windows, so it was clearly an opportunity Microsoft did not want to miss out on. The operating system will be released in preview form this Spring.
Windows license cost of $0: Along with this announcement, Microsoft also took a bold step towards increasing interest in and adoption of Windows among developers by making all versions of Windows free for devices under 9 inches in size. Essentially, this signals that device makers making devices in this hugely growing category would have no barrier in terms of cost, to sell Windows in those devices. Given that Android indirectly costs money (potentially to use Google Mobile Services on top of Android Open Source Project, but additionally, surely for patent licensing fees), device makers will find themselves looking at Windows as the *cheaper* OS for their devices!
Shared experiences: In addition to announcing keyboard and mouse user-friendly updates to Windows 8.1, Microsoft also demonstrated how experiences will span Windows Phone and Windows on tablets and PCs. With Internet Explorer 11 on Windows Phone 8.1, users will now be able to share IE settings, tabs, passwords, favorites, etc. between the phone and tablets/PCs. Similarly, via their Microsoft account, customers will also be able to have the same theme across phone and tablet/PC along with several other settings that are already possible to be synced between Windows 8.1 devices.
There were several other announcements but the above items show the steps Microsoft has taken, listening to customer feedback as well as executing on their product roadmap, to make it seamless for customers to use Windows regardless of the device they use it on. The developer story therefore becomes even more compelling because it is not just phones or not just tablets that is the addressable market. Suddenly, any device that ships with Windows, will be able to consume the apps and games developers build and not just in theory. This has always been the advantage of the iOS ecosystem and Apple executed it well from the beginning because they were in a much better position to do so, having defined the entire path themselves. Google’s Android followed, although in a slightly different way – Android phone apps stretch out on a larger screen if there is no specific tablet version available. Microsoft’s vision is definitely more like iOS but at the same time, due to the excellent tooling in the form of Visual Studio, it also seems like it may be much easier to build a universal app targeting Windows. The devil of course is in the details and we will see how developers react to this vision by observing how many existing developers convert their apps to Universal apps and how many new developers enter the ecosystem with their creative ideas.
This is a solid move by Microsoft and while some (including yours truly) may say it was long overdue, it is also better late than never. Microsoft is doing its best to court all kinds of developers including many in the Silicon Valley and many with an affinity towards open source projects, and they will have to continue to do even more going forward. Nothing matters more though, than hard numbers. If Windows devices get a decent market share and continue to prove to be higher revenue generators than the competing platforms, developers will automatically flock to the ecosystem.
Until then, Microsoft can only hope that “One Windows” matters to a developer as much as it is necessary for Microsoft.
Lava was the first handset maker to launch a smartphone based on Intel’s Medfield platform. Today, the Indian mobile phone manufacturer launched its second Intel powered smartphone, the Xolo X500. This handset is based on Intel’s Lexington platform reference design. Sadly, the entry-level Xolo X500 runs on the old Android 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) Operating System.
Lava Xolo X500 features a 3.5 inch HVGA touchscreen display, sporting a resolution of 480 x 320 pixel, 1.2 GHz Intel Atom Z2420 processor with Hyper Threading technology, 400 MHz GPU, Dual-SIM capabilities, 5 megapixel rear facing camera, full HD (1080p) video playback and much more.
It also comes with a 3.5 mm headset jack, 4 GB internal memory, MicroSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, Bluetooth 2.1, A-GPS support, WiFi 802.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, Micro USB, 512 MB RAM, Google Play Store, 15 days of stand-by time and a 1500 mAh battery.
Lava Xolo X500 comes with a price tag of Rs.8,999 (approx. $170). This handset will go on sale starting next week in India. Xolo X500 will not only compete with entry level Android smartphones from Micromax, Huawei, Sony and HTC, but it will also face a tough competition from Windows Phone 7.8 powered Nokia Lumia 510.
After Apple launched the iPad in 2010, the technology market was disrupted. The PC gave way to touchscreen tablets. Many Goliath’s at the time, like Dell, Microsoft, and Intel saw the tablet market as being complimentary instead of as a substitute to their PC and laptop market.
“Tablets have dramatically changed the device landscape for PCs, not so much by cannibalizing PC sales, but by causing user shift to tablets,” says Mikako Kitagawa, principal analyst of Gartner.
The end of the PC era seemed all too clear with the dismal earnings shown by HP and Dell last quarter. Today it seems that Dell, which is the master of custom-delivered computers, is in talks for a buyout. Sources have said that Silver Lake Partners was in discussions with Dell for a leveraged buyout at around $13 to $14 per share. This will be one of the largest deals since the global recession.
This is seen as a desperate attempt by Dell to focus on new areas away from its core PC business. Its decline has been the worst in its sectors after its shipments fell by 21% to 9.2 million. This news resulted in a surge of its stock price to $12.29. Dell has declined to comments on these developments.
Consumers are flocking towards tablets. A recent study has already claimed that at the current rate, tablets will outsell notebooks this year. This may be due to the booming tablet market in China and the recession. The report explains that tablet shipments will reach more than 240 million units worldwide this year, with notebooks forecast to reach 207 million units.
After Microsoft launched Windows 8 in October last year, the expected boost to their sales would have come from users who upgrade their operating systems, in addition to users who buy new PCs or laptops. However, the declining PC sales (down 6.4% in the last year) will give them cause for concern.
The rise of mobile systems is not helping Intel either. Its era of extraordinary profits and market invincibility seems to have come to an end. Intel’s shares have fallen by over 7% last year. Its competitors are chip manufacturers for tablets and smartphones who have to work with smaller profit margins. Having said that, Intel’s server chip market is still growing very fast. This is mainly due to the rise of cloud services. Also, Intel is fighting back with a strong focus on Ultrabook laptops that have touch screens.
(Source: Gartner and Reuters)
Huawei and ZTE are not the only companies releasing Android based smartphones at CES in Las Vegas. Joining them is Lenovo, which released its flagship smartphone earlier today at CES, the Lenovo K900.
The K900 sports a massive 5.5-inch IPS screen with 1080p Full HD resolution protected by Gorilla Glass 2, 2GGB of RAM, 16GB of on-board storage, microSD card slot, a 13MP F/1.8 camera at its back accompanied by dual-LED flash, and a front-facing 1.9MP camera with 88-degree viewing angle.
The handset is made of stainless steel alloy plus polycarbonate body inside an impressively thin 6.9mm body. Perhaps, the most interesting part of the Lenovo K900 is the processor ticking inside it. Last year, Lenovo was among the first companies at CES to announce an Intel Medfield based phone, the K800. This year, they continue that tradition with the K900, which sports Intel’s latest mobile SoC – Clover Trail+, a dual-core chip that is clocked at an insanely high 2GHz.
At the moment it is unknown how Clover Trail+ performs compared to other mobile SoC solutions like the Tegra 4, Apple’s A6X and Samsung’s Exynos series. The company did not mention anything about the pricing or release date of the K900, or which version of Android it will run out of the box.
The much-awaited Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2013 is finally here. As usual, the event will be held between January 8 – January 11 in Las Vegas, United States. HP, Lenovo and Vizio are expected to launch a number of ultrabooks, while LG, Samsung, Sony and HTC will launch their flagship smartphones and tablets. Check out the complete schedule below. All timings are mentioned in PST (GMT -0800).
Monday, January 7, 2013:
- 08:00 am – LG Press Conference
- 09:00 am – Sharp CES Press Showcase
- 09:00 am – AT&T Developers Summit
- 12:00 pm – Fujifilm Press Conference
- 12:00 pm – NETGEAR Press Conference
- 01:00 pm – Huawei Device Press Conference
- 01:00 pm – Intel CES Press Briefing
- 02:00 pm – Samsung Press Conference
- 03:00 pm – Casio America Inc. Press Conference
- 04:00 pm – Ford Motor Company Press Conference
- 05:00 pm – Sony Press Conference
- 06:30 pm – Qualcomm Keynote
Tuesday, January 8, 2013:
- 11:00 am – Audi Press Conference
- 01:00 pm – Bang & Olufsen Press Conference
- 01:30 pm – ZTE Grand S Announcement
- 04:00 pm – U.S. Launch of Motörheadphönes
- 04:30 pm – Verizon Wireless Keynote
- 05:30 pm – T-Mobile Press Event
Wednesday, January 9, 2013:
- 09:00 am – Pebble: E-Paper Smartwatch for iPhone and Android Announcement
- 11:30 am – Official Launch of SendBoo Mobile Application
- 02:00 pm – SmartKlear by LensPen launch: Remove Fingerprints from your iPhone Screen
- 02:00 pm – TAIWAN Products Launch & International Press Conference
- 03:30 pm – Synaptop: Living in the Cloud Announcement
- 06:00 pm – Kenwood USA Press Conference
Television has run on the cable model for as long as we can remember. Channel subscriptions always come in bundled packages, and more often than not, we end up subscribing for the bundle just to get those few channels. That is not a very efficient way of doing things and Intel has a grand plan to change this scenario. Intel is joining Apple and Google in the IPTV race. However, the unique selling proposition here is that Intel’s service would allow us to subscribe to individual channels of our preference, instead of complete bundles. The project has been developed in secrecy, and this is the first time anyone has heard of it.
The product will be made available to a limited set of beta-tester customers in March, and will be made available through an internet connection. This makes the service independent of any cable provider. The service will also include games, on-demand shows and Intel’s app marketplace.
Much of this effort is being worked upon by the Microsoft Mediaroom team, with Jim Baldwin as the VP of this program at Intel. Intel has the expertise in chip manufacturing, and it has also stuck just the right deals with Hollywood to keep this product profitable for everyone.
The project will not be showcased at CES this year. Moreover, there are many unanswered questions here. Some people are skeptic about content providers actually wanting to accept this model. Others have speculated that as the prices for these individual channels will be adjusted in such a way that the profitability per channel remains the same in both these systems. At the end of the day, the consumer will probably still end up paying the same amount overall.
A new report from Bloomberg reveals that Apple is considering dropping Intel CPUs in favor of its own chip design. Last year, it was rumored that was considering switching Intel to ARM processors in future laptops. Also, a year ago, Apple acquired Anobit, an Israeli based flash memory company for $500M.
Apple engineers have grown confident that the chip designs used for its mobile devices will one day be powerful enough to run its desktops and laptops, said three people with knowledge of the work, who asked to remain anonymous because the plans are confidential. Apple began using Intel chips for Macs in 2005.
While Apple is now committed to Intel in computers and is unlikely to switch in the next few years, some engineers say a shift to its own designs is inevitable as the features of mobile devices and PCs become more similar, two people said. Any change would be a blow to Intel, the world’s largest processor maker, which has already been hurt by a stagnating market for computers running Microsoft Corp.’s Windows software and its failure to gain a foothold in mobile gadgets.
Recently, the company moved away from third party chips to its own in-house chips for iOS devices like the A4, A5 and the just-released A6X chips. In my opinion, when this occurred, it was inevitable that Apple would replace Intel chips with their own in-house solution in Macs. It isn’t a question of when, but instead just a matter of time.