Thursday, October 29, 2015



Link to TechEye

Nokia does well without its phones

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 02:53 AM PDT

wellington-bootEver since selling its phone business to Microsoft, the former rubber boot maker, Nokia has been doing rather well.

Now a network equipment maker, Nokia announced it would pay special dividends after reporting stronger than expected profits, as growth in China offset weaker demand in North America and Europe. We don’t know if it makes boots any more.

The Finnish outfit has secured regulatory approval for its proposed $17.1 billion takeover of Froggie rival Alcatel-Lucent.

Third quarter operating profit at the company’s network unit was $427 million, or 13.6 percent of sales.

That was roughly in line with $434 million year earlier but significantly above analysts’ average forecast of a profit of $324 million and a margin of 10.2 percent.

Nokia last year sold its once-dominant phone business to Microsoft and its navigation business  to German car makers.

Curiously the company is thinking of releasing a smartphone again soon.  Hard to think why. Maybe it should get back into the boot business.


Nintendo’s share price flushed down the U bend

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 02:51 AM PDT

Funny-Toilet-221The console maker with a toilet fixation has seen its shares plummet after delaying a move to offer its games on mobile phones.

Nintendo, the maker of much Wii, has ignored calls to put its games onto mobile phones for ages. Then after it changed its mind and set an early 2016 date for the launch, it saw its shareholders get excited.

Now the outfit has pushed the launch of the games a few months to March 2016, disappointing gaming fans as well as investors who drove its shares down by more than 10 percent.

Fans and investors had hoped it would include its best-selling videogame franchise Mario in the first lineup.

Chief Executive Tatsumi Kimishima said the delay would help Nintendo concentrate on selling its existing consoles and game software during the year-end holiday season.

“The year-end is traditionally our peak season for sales. This way, we’d be able to introduce our new applications after the holiday season is over.”

He did not say if Mario would come to smartphones, instead introducing a new social networking service-style application called “Miitomo” which would be available in March.

However the news knocked Nintendo’s shares down more than 10 percent in morning trade, erasing earlier gains. DeNA Co, Nintendo’s mobile gaming partner, fell as much as 19 percent.

Although shareholders and gamers want Nintendo to put its catalogue onto mobiles there are some fears that its traditional reluctance are justified. If done incorrectly Nintendo could cannibalise traditional console sales.


Nintendo reported a weaker than expected operating profit for the July-September quarter on tepid sales of game software, apparently. Tepid. Now that’s a word and a half.

Sparc returns to Ellison’s eyes

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 02:49 AM PDT

oracle-founder-larry-ellisonAfter seeing its Sparc processor as its red-headed stepchild, Oracle has started getting motivated about the chip again.

It has been talking about selling a Sparc M7 processor since 2014, It’s a RISCy business.

Oracle has done so with all the speed and motivation of an archaeologist on his way to a dig at Palmyra.

Now suddenly Oracle's chief oracle, Larry Ellison, is talking about the 64 bit CPU’s security defences.  Yesterday, Ellison was sitting in front of lots of slides which suggested that the M7 will have the ability to tag regions of memory so software hijacked by hackers cannot read or write data.

It should render vulnerabilities such as Heartbleed useless to attackers.

The M7 has a defence mechanism called Silicon Secured Memory (SSM) which seems incredibly similar to Oracle’s Application Data Integrity (ADI) technology.

When an application requests some new memory to use via malloc(), the operating system tags the block of memory with a version number, and gives the app a pointer to that memory. The pointer also contains the version number, which is stashed in the top four bits.

When a pointer is used to access a block of memory, the pointer’s version number must match the memory block’s version number, or an exception will be triggered.

This would stop all major Adobe Flash and Internet Explorer exploits.

Ellison reckons it would have stopped the OpenSSL Heartbleed and QEMU Venom buffer-overrun attacks dead. He was keen to stress this feature will be always switched on and available.

“We’re pushing security down into the silicon. This gets us ahead of the bad guys,” Ellison told his audience.

Oracle reckons its M7 has broken “world record results in over 20 benchmarks.” The M7 is a 4.13GHz 32-core, 256-hardware-thread CPU with 64MB of on-chip L3 cache. It can scale up to 512 cores and 4,096 threads, and address up to 8TB of physical RAM. The CPU architecture is Sparc V9.

New Servers

The chips will be seen in the following new servers:

SPARC T7-1 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPU, up to 512GB of RAM, four 10GbE ports, up to eight 600GB or 1200GB 2.5in SAS-3 drives, or up to eight 400GB SSDs or four 1.6TB NVMe drives. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SPARC T7-2  Two 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 1TB of RAM, four 10GbE ports, up to six 600GB or 1200GB 2.5in SAS-3 drives, or up to six 400GB SSDs or four 1.6TB NVMe drives. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SPARC T7-4  Two or four 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 2TB of RAM, four 10GbE ports, up to eight 600GB or 1200GB 2.5in SAS-3 drives, or up to eight 400GB SSDs or eight 1.6TB NVMe drives. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SPARC M7-8 Two to eight 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 4TB of RAM, up to 24 low-profile PCIe 3.0 (x16) slots. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SPARC M7-16  Four to 16 32-core 4.1GHz M7 CPUs, up to 8TB of RAM, up to 48 low-profile PCIe 3.0 (x16) slots. Oracle Solaris 11.3 or later recommended.

SuperCluster M7  in lots of flavours

Samsung smartphone sales improve

Posted: 29 Oct 2015 02:47 AM PDT

samsung-galaxy-note-5Samsung is starting to recover the ground it lost to its sworn rival Apple over the last two years.

Apple's business model has been to grab the high end of the market by charging high prices for a similar phone to what Samsung sold. In this market, where consumer intelligence is not a prime motivator, Jobs' Mob did very well.

Samsung also had its mid-range phones being eaten alive by low cost Chinese rivals.

In April, It introduced the high-end and well-reviewed Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge, flagship handsets made of premium materials, something consumers have requested for years.

Now it reported an 82 percent rise in operating profit, snapping a streak of seven consecutive quarterly profit declines, even though revenue from its mobile division was largely flat.

Samsung reported third-quarter operating profit $6.45 billion, on revenue of $51.68 billion. The company said it saw a “significant increase” in smartphone shipments but that revenue was hurt by price cuts for its Galaxy S6 and S6 Edge and shipments of low- to midrange smartphones.

The mobile division’s profit increased by about 33 percent, providing about a third of total operating profit in the quarter but sharply lower than the two-thirds it’s provided in the past. Meanwhile, profits doubled at the division housing Samsung’s chip and display businesses.

Annoyingly for Samsung it does not think that things will stay good for long. It forecast profits would fall in the fourth quarter.

This is because its next flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S7 will not be around until January. This is earlier than normal, but is designed to undercut sales of the iPhone 6S. Samsung rightly senses that the iPhone 6S is vulnerable to a product which is cheaper and has more to offer.

IBM to buy the Weather Company

Posted: 28 Oct 2015 07:48 AM PDT

IBM: The Weather CompanyIBM said it will buy The Weather Company assets, excluding the TV channel.

Big Blue will take over the Weather Company's B2B, mobile and cloud based web properties.

The reason for the acquisition, IBM said, is to act as the foundation stone for IBM's Watson Internet of Things (IoT) unit and its Watson IoT Cloud platform.

IBM will license content to the Weather Channel for its TV broadcasts.

IBM said that the Weather Company generates an extremely high volume of data. John Kelly, a senior VP at IBM, said: "This powerful cloud platform will position IBM to arm entire industries with insights… and take action from the oceans of data being generated."

The Weather Company has models that analyse data from three billion weather forecast reference points, over 40 million smartphones and 50,000 air flights every day.

IBM did not say how much it has paid for the outfit.

BT gets provisional nod to take over EE

Posted: 28 Oct 2015 07:31 AM PDT

Telephone BoxThe Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will not oppose BT's proposed takeover of UK mobile company EE.

The deal, which will cost BT £12.5 billion will see it become a major contender in the mobile market again.

Competitors, including Vodafone, thought the acquisition would make BT too powerful.

The CMA, however, believes that there will be no real harm done to either ordinary people on the street or to the mobile industry.

Although the CMA has given provisional approval to the merger, competitors will have a further three months to make further objections before a final ruling comes in January next year.

If the deal does go through, the four biggest operators in the UK will be Vodafone, O2, Three and BT-EE.

LCD TV shipments down in third quarter

Posted: 28 Oct 2015 06:50 AM PDT

Samsung LCDEconomic stagnation meant that sales of LCD TVs fell by 1.8 percent in the third calendar quarter, compared to the same quarter last year.

Market research firm Trendforce Witsview said that Chinese TV sales fell for the first time, and the analysts think worldwide demand for LCD TVs is generally weak.

While the fourth quarter is usually a bouyant period because it's the holiday period, Trendforce is predicting that 62.2 million units will ship but this is a 7.5 percent drop compared to the same quarter last year.

Koean companies Samsung and LG Electronics dominate the market place, with Samsung shipments increasing by 3.8 percent in the third quarter. But LG Electronics suffered from currency exchange rates in emerging markets and fell seven percent quarterly.

TCL, a Chinese firm, took number three slot in the quarter, showing impressive growth. But while Sony showed a quarterly growth of 3.8 percent, it showed a year on year fall of 26.2 percent.

2015 Q3 LCD TV sales

Smartphone shipments soar

Posted: 28 Oct 2015 06:42 AM PDT

HTC smartphoneThe third quarter was a buoyant period for smartphones shipped worldwide, according to a report from IDC.

IDC said that 355.2 million phones shipped worldwide in the quarter, making it the second highest quarter for shipments.

But the figures were below IDC's own predictions, beause of lower than expected iPhone shipments.

Anthony Scarsella, IDC research manager, said there's fierce competition at the high end as vendors vie with each other to bring out fancier machines. But the bulk of the volumes came from low and mid range smartphones, he said.

Samsung is still the leader in the worldwide market, shipping 84.5 million units, up by 6.1 percent from the same period last year.

Apple, however, showed a rise in shipments of 22.2 percent compared to last year, shipping 48 million units.

Huawei took third spot, shipping 26.5 million units, up by 60.9 percent compared to the third quarter 2014. Lenovo and Xiaomi were in the fourth and fifth slots.

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