Monday, November 9, 2015



Link to TechEye

Google wants to make its own chips

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 12:39 AM PST

intel_ireland_semiconductor_chip_fab_300mm_waferIt would appear that Google is looking to design its own chips and his been having a quiet word with chipmakers to make it happen.

According to The Information, Google apparently gave chipmakers a road map for how it is thinking about the future of Android and what will be required to get there.

It also wants an image processor design that can minimise the camera delay in between photos for a “video-like stream” of images.

Buried in the details is the information that Google wants to add memory capacity inside the phone's main processor so that the processor doesn't need to reach into a separate memory chip to accomplish certain tasks. In otherwords it is talking about cache.

Google also requested “more powerful sensors so that the phone can collect more data on its surroundings.” It mentions “improved sensor hubs,” which presumably means Google wants to standardize or improve the “Android Sensor Hub” and always-on voice chip present in the Nexus 5X and 6P. Google is also looking to add “support for a wider range of sensors, including one that can measure distance,” something that would be helpful for AR and VR.

The Information mentioned that these talks originated “from Google's efforts to find a manufacturer to make chips for an "enterprise connectivity device," a plan that is still ongoing.

This cunning plan is very similar to Apple’s chip strategy. Under that approach Jobs' Mob controlled hardware and software in a way that allowed it to move to a 64-bit platform.

At the moment Qualcomm has a near monopoly on Android SoCs, but it is more marketing driven than performance driven and has been doing a disservice to the mobile space lately. It rushed to get 64-bit support out the door which resulted in the very hot Snapdragon 810 SoC.

Google has apparently hired a senior product executive from Qualcomm along with several engineers from PA Semi, a chip firm that was acquired by Apple. Along with using off-the-shelf ARM designs as a starting point, it would seem Google has the expertise to pull off a chip design.

EU wants to break the internet for big content

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 12:34 AM PST

EU and country flags - Wikimedia CommonsThe European Commission
is preparing a frontal attack on the hyperlink, according to the Pirate Party MP Julia Reda.

The concept is based on a long standing wish from Big Content to be paid by search engines and news portals for articles which are free.

This is a similar to Germany's and Spain's ancillary copyright laws for press publishers which backfired.

Reda said that the Commission is considering putting the simple act of linking to content under copyright protection. This means that Big Content could sue you if you linked to content.

The drive to do this comes from a few states to try and solve the problem of hyperlinking by-passing firewalls legally and the EU law being a little too fragmented.

However the way this is framed it is basically demanding thriving internet companies such as google to bail out suffering publishing houses by giving price tags to exactly the same act of linking that has been clearly pronounced non-infringing by the European Court of Justice.

"The publishers are clearly wielding so much influence through lobbying that there is nothing that can stop big-party politicians from trying to misapply copyright law in order to support obsolete business models," Reda said.

What is worrying is the leaked text is not a law proposal, but just a summary of the Commission's plans for next year. The plan is supposed to go public on 9 December. Affecting change in the now-known versions is nigh impossibly until then.

AMD sued over Bulldozer core shortage

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 12:31 AM PST

KT1136WM_CatBulldozer_LS2__99528.1420733846.1280.1280Troubled chipmaker AMD has been sued over the number of cores in its Bulldozer chip.

A class action lawsuit, led by a bloke called Tony Dickey, claims AMD tricked punters into buying its Bulldozer processors by overstating the number of cores contained. Bulldozer was advertised as having eight cores when functionally it actually only had four.

Part of the problem is that AMD’s multi-core Bulldozer chips combine the functions of what would normally be two discrete cores into a single package, which the company calls a module. Each module is identified as two separate cores in Windows, but the cores share a single floating point unit and instruction and execution resources. This is different from Intel’s cores, which feature independent FPUs.

But the suit said that Bulldozer cores cannot work independently, and as a result, cannot perform eight instructions simultaneously and independently. The plaintiffs claim that this results in performance degradation, and average consumers in the market for a CPU lack the technical expertise to understand the design of AMD’s processors and trust the company to give accurate specifications regarding its CPUs.

The suit argues that tens of thousands of consumers were misled into buying a Bulldozer CPU that cannot perform in the same way as a true 8-core CPU. If this is true AMD violated the Consumer Legal Remedies Act, California's Unfair Competition Law, and was guilty of false advertising, fraud, breach of express warranty, negligent misrepresentation, and unjust enrichment.

AMD is being sued for damages, including statutory and punitive damages, litigation expenses, pre- and post-judgment interest, as well as other injunctive and declaratory relief as is deemed reasonable.

Court allows Apple to search its staff’s bags

Posted: 09 Nov 2015 12:25 AM PST

089010117803Fruity cargo cult Apple has been allowed by a court to conduct bag searches of its staff at least in the optimistically titled Land of the Free.

Apple retail workers sued Jobs' Mob over bag search practices at the company’s California cathedrals of the Apple faith. They wanted to be reimbursed for the time taken by Apple to search their bags to ensure they did not steal any shiny toys.

Two Apple retail store workers complained directly to Chief Executive Tim Cook that the technology company’s policy of checking retail employees’ bags as a security precaution was embarrassing and demeaning. Even more demeaning than working for Apple in the first place.

Lee Shalov, an attorney representing the plaintiffs, said they are disappointed by the ruling and intend to explore all options, including a possible appeal.

Plaintiffs Amanda Frlekin and Dean Pelle alleged that “screenings”, or bag searches, designed to discourage theft, are conducted every time sales reps leave the store, including for meal breaks.

Alsup said Apple workers did not have to bring a bag to work, and thus would not be subjected to the delays of a search. No Apple employee filed court papers mentioning that they need to bring a bag, Alsup wrote.

"Apple took a milder approach to theft prevention and offered its employees the option to bring bags and personal Apple devices into a store subject to the condition that such items must be searched when they leave the store,” the Judge wrote.

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