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2011-05-07 12:30
Category: Business, Development
Intel has claimed the biggest breakthrough in microprocessor design in more than 50 years, raising the stakes significantly for rivals in the increasingly capital-intensive global chip industry.

The world’s biggest chipmaker said on Wednesday that it would begin producing chips this year using a revolutionary 3D technology that has been nearly a decade in the making, and which it said would act as the foundation for generations of computing advances to come.

Microchip transistors, the building blocks of electronics, have to date been produced in flat structures – akin to printing on a sheet of paper. Intel’s breakthrough involves producing more complex three dimensional transistors on chips.

The new technology is one of Intel’s biggest gambles in the race to maintain and even extend its long-standing lead over other chipmakers in making components smaller and faster, while breathing fresh life into the remorseless cycle of chip improvements on which the modern computing and electronics industries are founded.

The impact of Intel’s attempt to push ahead of the rest of the industry was felt more widely on Wednesday, as Applied Materials, which supplies Intel with manufacturing equipment, announced a $4.9bn acquisition to keep up with the new technology.

2011-05-07 12:28
We all know that new tech gadgets are more expensive in the beginning when demand and expenses could bring a higher price. With hard drives, it’s amazing to see just how expensive they are versus how much they used to be.

Take a look at three shining examples of how 10- and 15-MBs looked in the past both in physical form as well as cost. Could you imagine paying that kind of money to get 10-MBs? Neither could I.

Today, they’re much cheaper:

2011-05-07 12:25
Did you hear that both Google and Facebook are looking to either partner with Skype or simply buy it? Funny, because back in the day when Skype was in play (before it was acquired by eBay), Google had a chance to buy it, but Larry Page and Sergey Brin nixed the idea.

People laughed at me when I suggested back on September 29, 2010 that Facebook should buy Skype. Here’s what I wrote then, and I still think that is the real reason for a Skype-Facebook deal:

Sure, this would be a big, hairy merger, but look at it this way: In one swoop, Facebook would dominate what I’ve maintained is both the new age and classic social networking. They have people’s credit cards; they have their real-world phone information; and in the end, they have a better, more useful, social graph than Facebook itself.

The Skype-Facebook client on the desktop would mean both Facebook and Skype will be jointly in people’s faces, and take time away from other web services, such as Google. A simple search box inside the Skype client, and the two companies are starting to take attention away from arch-nemesis, Google.

Since then, Skype is much bigger, has more revenues and has a lousy new desktop client. Facebook has taken huge strides towards owning “communications” and online “interactions.” When Facebook launched its Social Inbox, I pointed out:

For the first three years of its life, the company was merely a social network, but then it transformed itself in quick succession into a social web platform and then a social aggregator of the web. Today, the company launched its “social inbox,” a new kind of messaging system that is the first public manifestation of the new new Facebook. Facebook’s newest core competency is communications — a way to become even more indispensable in our daily web lives.

There are many other reasons why this deal makes sense, the biggest being Marc Andreessen, the web wunderkind turned über-VC who sits on the board of Facebook and has investments in both companies. It would be Christmas in summer for his fund if this deal goes through.

Tags: facebook, Google
2011-05-07 10:56
Category: Development
Smartphones’ share of the global cell phone market is poised to explode over the next four years, according to market research firm Pyramid Research. The firm on Friday released the findings of its latest Smartphone Forecast, as compiled by Senior Analyst and Practice Leader for Mobile Devices, Stela Bokun.

Bokun determined that global smartphone sell-through — or, the number of smartphones sold to end users — will total 1.46 billion units in 2011, accounting for 27% of all cell phones sold. Pyramid expects that figure to nearly double to 53% in 2015, driven by growing demand for affordable Android smartphones. “Much of the projected total market growth in 2011 will come from the Africa and Middle East (AME) region, which will see a strong demand for low-end smartphone models, ultra low-cost handsets and dual-SIM and full touch-screen feature phones,” Bokun noted in a statement. ”The main drivers of the demand in the developed markets will be the launches of a number of flagship high-end devices and new features and technologies.
However, inexpensive smartphone models, particularly those from Huawei and ZTE, also will be in high demand in some of the richest Western European, Asian and North American markets.” Finally, Bokun notes that while smartphone sales will be driven in large part by Android over the next four years, Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform will overtake Android and other operating systems to become the top-selling smartphone platform in the world in 2015.

Tags: Android, Windows
2011-05-06 23:48
Category: Development
David Braben is a very well-known game developer who runs the UK development studio Frontier Developments, but is just as well known for being the co-developer of Elite.

Over his career his studio has brought us the Rollercoaster Tycoon series, Thrillville, Lost Winds, and most recently Kinectimals. In the background, however, Braben has been trying to tackle another problem: getting programming and general learning of how computers work back into schools.

Braben argues that education since we entered the 2000s has turned towards ICT which teaches useful skills such as writing documents in a word processor, how to create presentations, and basic computer use skills. But that has replaced more computer science-like skills such as basic programming and understanding the architecture and hardware contained in a computer.

2011-04-01 18:14
Intel has announced it is to roll out a new technology for connecting computers and peripherals.

The system, known as Thunderbolt, promises transfer speeds twice as fast as USB 3.0.

However it won't reach its theoretical maximum because Intel has opted to use copper wires rather than fibre optic cables.

The company said it would gradually move to higher speeds over time.

Apple will become the first manufacturer to use Thunderbolt, on its Macbook Pro computers.

The Cupertino firm is said to have been a major driver of its development, although it remains to be seen how may other manufacturers will adopt the new standard.

Light Peak
Intel has been working on the technology for several years.

It was first announced, under the codename Light Peak in 2009.

At launch, its top speed will be limited to 10 Gigabits per second - twice as fast as USB 3.0, but still well below the theoretical maximum using optical cables.

Light Peak
Intel has been working on the technology for several years.

It was first announced, under the codename Light Peak in 2009.

At launch, its top speed will be limited to 10 Gigabits per second - twice as fast as USB 3.0, but still well below the theoretical maximum using optical cables.

Intel claims that future versions will be able to reach 100 Gb/sec.

The faster data transfer rates are likely to be welcomed by those consumers who use high-definition video, said Sarah Rottman Epps, an analyst with Forrester Research.

"This isn't an innovation that consumers have been asking for, but it's one they'll appreciate," she said.

"Especially when transferring video, as that's when [USB] starts to feel slow."

The system also promises to reduce the number of cables a user has connecting their computer setup.

It is able to carry multiple signal types at the same time, enabling power, display and peripherals to use a single cable.

However, in the short term, users may need to invest in special adaptors to connect their older devices onto Thunderbolt sockets.

Its arrival on the consumer market also raises questions about the future of other connector standards, such as USB and Firewire.

Thunderbolt's most high profile supporter, Apple, is expected to gradually transition to a single connector, according to Karen Haslam, editor of Macworld UK.

"In the long run there will be no need for Apple to support these multiple formats with individual ports - existing products can run through an adaptor," she said.

Not everyone is convinced that Thunderbolt will become the lone standard.

Ian Chiu, editor of the website told BBC News that the cost of components could put off some manufacturers.

"I don't really know how Intel will make Thunderbolt appealing to all the other first-tier PC manufacturers," he said.

"HP, Sony, Dell, Acer, Asus make most of their money from the low-end and medium-end notebooks.

"On the other hand, Apple's Macbook Pro line-up is targeted at the prosumers, professionals and other people who aren't so price conscious," said Mr Chiu.

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