Posts Tagged ‘Mobile computing’

Smartphoneuser

It would be inappropriate to prevent mobile network Everything Everywhere from providing 4G LTE technology to UK customers, according to the network’s senior adviser, Kip Meek.

According to Three, one of Everything Everywhere’s rival networks, Everything Everywhere has the biggest (43 per cent) spectrum share in the market, while Vodafone (25 per cent), O2 (22 per cent) and Three (10 per cent) are lagging behind.

Further reading

This has allowed Everything Everywhere to apply to use its existing 2G spectrum to deliver 4G services, potentially by the end of the year, while other operators have to wait until the outcome of the 4G spectrum auction, which is also set to take place at the end of 2012.

Speaking at an event in Westminster this week, Meek said that when T-Mobile and Orange merged to create Everything Everywhere, it gave up a quarter of its spectrum and it would therefore be unfair for regulator Ofcom to stop the network launching 4G LTE technology this year.

“It would not be fair for Ofcom to say 4G should not be launched in the final quarter of 2012 and instead to be launched in the first quarter of 2013.

“In the interest of consumers, we are already behind globally in LTE technology and it would be inappropriate to deny customers the technology when it could be available,” he said.

The CEO of rival network Three, David Dyson, said that an early 4G launch for Everything Everywhere would give it an unfair advantage.

“If Everything Everywhere got their spectrum liberated, it would use it to its advantage. Customers would have to pay a reasonable premium for the service and it wouldn’t be a broad proposition but a niche one. This will give them marketing power,” he said.

Dyson believes that Ofcom should prevent Everything Everywhere from launching 4G before any of the other operators.

“They should not be able to use spectrum for 4G services. Ofcom should have waited until after the auction [to consider this]. A lot of spectrum should be available [to all operators] next year, which is when Everything Everywhere should be able to use 4G LTE technology,” he said.

Head of spectrum at Telefonica O2, Nicholas Blades, said O2 shared the concerns of Three but also had concerns about Three.

Blades questioned Dyson on reports that Three and Virgin Media had signed a contract to provide 4G services six months after Everything Everywhere.

Dyson said that there were on-going discussions taking place.

Earlier this month, Everything Everywhere submitted an application to Ofcom to use its existing 2G spectrum to deliver 4G services that give mobile networks a more efficient capacity at higher speeds.

At the time, Ofcom said that it had “provisionally concluded that [Everything Everywhere delivering 4G services] would not” distort competition.

However, the communications regulator has bowed to pressure from rival networks and has since extended the consultation period until 8 May 2012.

“We have decided to extend this period following requests from stakeholders for more time to respond,” it said in a statement.

via Ofcom must play fair over 4G, says Everything Everywhere – 29 Mar 2012 – Computing News.

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Android Ice Cream Sandwich 4.0.4 has reportedly started rolling out to the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S devices

Published on Mar 29, 2012

The Android ICE Cream Sandwich update (version 4.0.4) is now rolling out across SIM free Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S devices in Europe.

Google announced the milestone on its own Google+ page.

The exact announcement read:

‘We’ve started rolling out Android 4.0.4, Ice Cream Sandwich, to UMTS/GSM Nexus S, Xoom Wi-Fi, and HSPA+ Galaxy Nexus devices, and we’ll be rolling it out to more devices in the coming weeks. Some of you will be receiving Ice Cream Sandwich for the first time, while others will be receiving an update to your existing Ice Cream Sandwich experience with stability improvements, better camera performance, smoother screen rotation, improved phone number recognition and more.’

Followed by a load of predictable comments asking when it will be released for other devices, including the HTC Desire HD, Xperia-branded devices, Galaxy Note and Galaxy S2 (network-branded devices).

Google declined to comment when all these other updates would be coming, but everyday we’re hearing about more devices benefiting from the update.

If you do have the Galaxy Nexus or Nexus S, it may be a good idea to check whether the update has arrived. For those with network-branded devices, you may have to wait a little longer for your network to properly test the update before rolling it out.

via Android ICS 4.0.4 rolling out to Galaxy Nexus and Nexus S? – News – Know Your Mobile.

Android devices will surge to slim lead in 2016

Number of ‘smart devices‘ shipped worldwide will DOUBLE in five years to 1.84 billion in 2016

By 2016, devices running Windows will be eclipsed by phones and tablets running Google’s Android, according to a report by analysts IDC.

More than 90 per cent of the world’s PCs still run Windows – but the whole technology landscape is changing around Microsoft’s operating system.

By 2016, Microsoft’s leading market share of 35.9% will slip to 25.1%.

Devices running Google’s Android will climb from 29.4% to 31.1%.

As smartphones grow in relation to PCs, Microsoft's market share will slide so that its once-dominant Windows software will be second-placed after Google's Android

As smartphones grow in relation to PCs, Microsoft’s market share will slide so that its once-dominant Windows software will be second-placed after Google’s Android.

Microsoft is to launch a new ‘tablet friendly’ version of Windows, Windows 8, later this year.

But analyst IDC still predicts a ‘dramatic shift’ towards devices running Android.

IDC expects a relatively dramatic shift between 2011 and 2016, with the once-dominant Windows slipping from a leading 35.9% share in 2011 down to 25.1%,’ the analyst predicts.

The number of Android-based devices running on ARM CPUs, on the other hand, will grow modestly from 29.4% share in 2011 to a market-leading 31.1% share in 2016.

Google ‘to launch’ new GDrive storage service in April to take on rivals such as Dropbox

Meanwhile, iOS-based devices will grow from 14.6% share in 2011 to 17.3% in 2016.

Last year, 916 million smartphones, tablets and PCs were shipped worldwide.

By 2016, that figure will have doubled to 1.84 billion units.

‘Android’s growth is tied directly to lower-priced devices,’ said Tom Mainelli, research director, Mobile Connected Devices. ‘So, while we expect dozens of hardware vendors to own some share in the Android market, many will find profitability difficult to sustain.’

Samsung's mid-sized Galaxy Note device which recently passed 5 million units shipped: In the next four years, Android devices are predicted to pass Microsoft's Windows in terms of units shipped

Samsung’s mid-sized Galaxy Note device which recently passed 5 million units shipped: In the next four years, Android devices are predicted to pass Microsoft’s Windows in terms of units shipped.

‘Whether it’s businesses looking at deploying tablet devices into their environments, or educational institutions working to update their school’s computer labs, smart, connected devices are playing an increasingly important role in nearly every individual’s life,’ said Bob O’Donnell, vice president, Clients and Displays at IDC.

Next year, 1.1 billion ‘smart devices’ – smartphones, PCs and tablets – will ship worldwide.

The numbers are growing at a compound annual growth rate of 15.4%.

Research conducted by IDC suggests that many individuals own and regularly use multiple smart connected devices. ‘We are in the multi-device age,’ continued O’Donnell, ‘and we believe the number of people who use multiple devices will only continue to increase. The trick, moving forward, will be to integrate all these devices into a unified whole through use of personal cloud-type applications and services. That’s the real challenge of what we have often called the ‘PC Plus’ era.’
‘Smartphone growth will be driven by Asia/Pacific countries, especially China, where mobile operators are subsidizing the purchase of 3G smartphones, thus increasing the total addressable market. In many if not all instances, the smartphone will be the primary connection to the Internet,’ said Will Stofega, program director, Mobile Phone Technologies and Trends. ‘In countries where devices are not subsidized by the mobile operators, competitive and component-based pricing will help drive volume.’

Google’s Android will overtake Windows by 2016 | Mail Online.

Google wants to sell you “content” that you might otherwise buy from Amazon, Apple or Microsoft etc. It has therefore rebranded the Android Market as Google Play, and pulled its apps, ebooks, music, and movies — excluding its YouTube movie service — into a single cloud-based offering. Or at least, it has if you live in the USA. If you’re one of the UK residents contributing £6 billion a year to Google’s revenues, you can just wait in line with the rest of the world, though there is hope….

Google introduced Google Play in a blog post today that says:

“In the US, music, movies, books and Android apps are available in Google Play.

In Canada and the UK, we’ll offer movies, books and Android apps; in Australia,

books and apps; and in Japan, movies and apps. Everywhere else, Google Play

will be the new home for Android apps.”

However, the link from “When will I get Google Play?”, at the bottom of the home page, brings up a page that says: “We’re sorry, but the information you’ve requested cannot be found.” It should lead to the Play FAQ.

Google says that “Google Play is entirely cloud-based so all your music, movies, books and apps are stored online, always available to you, and you never have to worry about losing them or moving them again.”

If so, “always available” means users can access their files when they have a working internet connection. This could work out very expensive for people who pay for bandwidth.

Cross-platform approach

Only Android apps are actually written for Android, and the content files are mainly cross-platform, so the Android name had to go. Google could have held on to “Market” but this has a somewhat downmarket feel, so that went as well. Play is dull but does the job, though it remains to be seen if the popular online retailer Play.com will object. (Google would have rejected iPlay as making the service sound too much like an iTunes knock-off.)

Being cross-platform should give Google an advantage against Apple, which is only really interested in providing content to play on Apple devices, and tries to force Windows PC owners to use its widely-hated iTunes software. However, that hasn’t helped Amazon much, even though it frequently offers better products than Apple at lower prices.

But at this stage, it’s not clear whether Google actually intends to target Play at the cross-platform market. Play could be aimed mainly at users of Google TV, and possibly at owners of Google-branded mobile phones and tablets, in the way that Amazon uses its Kindle Fire tablet as a shop window.

In December, Google chairman Eric Schmidt apparently told an Italian publication: “In the next six months, we plan to market a tablet of the highest quality.” In May, before that, Google showed developers some Android@Home devices that streamed music. An FCC application has revealed that Google is testing the device in homes this year, from 17 January to 17 July.

Google is in the process of buying Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion — a 63 percent premium on what it’s worth — so it should soon own its own hardware division. This would enable Google to make phones, tablets, set-top boxes and other devices without consulting or involving other Android users such as Samsung and HTC… and risk wrecking the Android ecosystem.

@jackschofield

English: Android Robot. Français : le logo d'a...

via Google rebrands US Android market as ‘Google Play’ | ZDNet UK.

Google and Intel on Tuesday said that the two companies will work together to ensure that future versions of Google’s Android operating system function on Intel’s Atom processors.

The partnership will help Intel compete against ARM chips, which have been supported by Android since 2008. It also underscores the fact that the “Wintel” alliance between Microsoft and Intel isn’t what it used to be.

Top 20 Android Productivity Apps

Intel CEO Paul Otellini showed off a smart-phone running Android on a Medfield chip at the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday, though details about the specific version of Android were not revealed.

He characterized the partnership as a step toward bringing Intel-powered phones to market.

Google SVP of mobile Andy Rubin showed up too, signalling the two companies’ continued commitment to a relationship that encompasses Intel’s involvement in Chrome OS, Google TV, and its effort to port Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” to the x86 chip architecture. Rubin said that all future versions of Android will be optimized for x86. Presumably this includes the next major Android release, known as Ice Cream Sandwich, which is expected before the end of the year.

Intel has had trouble convincing mobile device makers to use its x86-based chips because of their power consumption characteristics. Instead, many have preferred the ARM architecture.

Apple, for example, bought chip design company PA Semi in 2008 and has been deploying its own ARM-based A-series chips in its mobile devices. Intel is reportedly interested in manufacturing Apple’s chip designs, a testament to the direction in which the mobile market is moving.

Even Microsoft is moving to support ARM chips in Windows 8, in addition to x86 chips. The company provided details about its ARM support plans at its BUILD conference on Tuesday.

To compete more affectively against ARM designs, Intel is betting on its Medfield chip platform, which includes a low-power Atom design for mobile phones, and on chips arriving in 2012 based on a 22-nm manufacturing process.

Android To Run On Intel Chips – Hardware – Processors – Informationweek.

Tomorrow’s Transistor, Built Atom by Atom

Applied Materials announces the details of a machine for making the next generation of transistors.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

By Katherine Bourzac

  • Chip stack: This illustration shows the layers that make up a gate in a 22-nanometer transistor. The white balls on the bottom are silicon. The light blue balls in the middle are silicon dioxide molecules; the larger turquoise balls higher up are hafnium oxide; and the yellow balls are nitrogen atoms.
    Credit: Applied Materials

Applied Materials, the world’s leading supplier of manufacturing equipment to chipmakers, has announced a new system for making one of the most critical layers of the transistors found in logic circuits.

Applied Materials’ new tool, called Centura, announced at the Semicon West conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, deposits a critical layer in transistors one atom at a time, providing unprecedented precision.

As chipmakers scale transistors down to ever-smaller sizes, enabling speedier and more power-efficient electronics, atomic-scale manufacturing precision is a growing concern. The first chips with transistors just 22 nanometers in size are going into production this year, and at that size, even the tiniest inconsistencies can mean that a chip intended to sell at a premium must instead be used for low-end gadgetry.

Transistors are made up of multiple layers: an active silicon material topped with an interfacing layer and then a layer of a material called a dielectric, which makes up the “gate” that switches the transistor on and off.

Applied Materials sells equipment for depositing these layers, called the gate stack, on top of silicon wafers. In the switch from today’s 32-nanometer to the next generation of 22-nanometer transistors, it’s become trickier to make the gate. The interface and dielectric layers both have to get thinner, and the behavior of the layers can be affected by tiny flaws where the materials touch. And as the layers get thinner, tiny flaws can be magnified even more than in larger transistors made from thicker layers.

Manufacturing accuracy will be even more important in the next-generation three-dimensional transistors that chipmaker Intel will begin producing later this year. In these devices, the active area is a raised strip that the interface and gate layers contact on three sides. This increased area of contact helps these devices perform better, but it also means an increased vulnerability to flaws.

Centura uses atomic-layer deposition, or ALD, which lays down a single atomic layer of the dielectric at a time. This method is more expensive, but it’s become necessary, says Atif Noori, global product manager of Applied Materials’ ALD division. For the heart of the transistor—the gate—to work, “you have to make sure you’re putting all the atoms right where you want them.”

One source of inconsistencies in microchips is exposure to air. In Applied Materials’ new tool, the entire process of depositing the gate stack is done in a vacuum, one wafer at a time. Making the gate stack entirely under a vacuum also leads to a 5 to 10 percent increase in the speed at which electrons travel through the transistor; this can translate into power savings or faster processing. Ordinarily, there’s significant variation in the amount of power it takes to turn on a given transistor on a chip; manufacturing under a vacuum tightens that distribution by 20 to 40 percent.

via Tomorrow’s Transistor, Built Atom by Atom – Technology Review.

Researchers at Stanford University have demonstrated a set of materials that could enable solar cells to use a band of the solar spectrum that otherwise goes to waste. The materials layered on the back of solar cells would convert red and near-infrared light—unusable by today’s solar cells—into shorter-wavelength light that the cells can turn into energy. The university researchers will collaborate with the Bosch Research and Technology Center in Palo Alto, California, to demonstrate a system in working solar cells in the next four years.

 

 

Even the best of today’s silicon solar cells can’t use about 30 percent of the light from the sun: that’s because the active materials in solar cells can’t interact with photons whose energy is too low. But though each of these individual photons is low energy, as a whole they represent a large amount of untapped solar energy that could make solar cells more cost-competitive.

The process, called “upconversion,” relies on pairs of dyes that absorb photons of a given wavelength and re-emit them as fewer, shorter-wavelength photons. In this case, the Bosch and Stanford researchers will work on systems that convert near-infrared wavelengths (most of which are unusable by today’s solar cells). The leader of the Stanford group, assistant professor Jennifer Dionne, believes the group can improve the sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency of amorphous-silicon solar cells from 11 percent to 15 percent.

The concept of upconversion isn’t new, but it’s never been demonstrated in a working solar cell, says Inna Kozinsky, a senior engineer at Bosch. Upconversion typically requires two types of molecules to absorb relatively high-wavelength photons, combine their energy, and re-emit it as higher-energy, lower-wavelength photons. However, the chances of the molecules encountering each other at the right time when they’re in the right energetic states are low. Dionne is developing nanoparticles to add to these systems in order to increase those chances. To make better upconversion systems, Dionne is designing metal nanoparticles that act like tiny optical antennas, directing light in these dye systems in such a way that the dyes are exposed to more light at the right time, which creates more upconverted light, and then directing more of that upconverted light out of the system in the end.

The ultimate vision, says Dionne, is to create a solid. Sheets of such a material could be laid down on the bottom of the cell, separated from the cell itself by an electrically insulating layer. Low-wavelength photons that pass through the active layer would be absorbed by the upconverter layer, then re-emitted back into the active layer as usable, higher-wavelength light.

Kozinsky says Bosch’s goal is to demonstrate upconversion of red light in working solar cells in three years, and upconversion of infrared light in four years. Factoring in the time needed to scale up to manufacturing, she says, the technology could be in Bosch’s commercial solar cells in seven to 10 years.

via Solar Cells that See Red – Technology Review.

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Image via CrunchBase

Rumours of Intel’s demise have been greatly exaggerated it appears, as the chip giant seems set to quell suggestions that it cannot survive due to the boom in mobile computing by joining the party itself.

Intel Android hook-up leads to share price boost…

After announcing that its first quarter earnings rose by 29 per cent to $3.16 billion, its shares closed up 7.8 per cent.

But the rise in share price may also have a lot to do with the fact that Intel’s chief executive Paul Otellini used the earnings announcement to confirm that the tech company would be getting friendly with Google and allowing Honeycomb to work on its chips.

“We’ve received the Android code – the Honeycomb version of Android source code – from Google, and we’re actively doing the port on that,” Otellini said.

Expect a wave of Intel based Honeycomb tablets to arrive in the next few months then as Otellini also said that he expected Intel “to be able to ramp those [Honeycomb] machines over the course of this year for a number of customers” and admitted that Intel based smartphones were on the horizon too.

“I would be very disappointed if we didn’t see Intel-based phones for sale 12 months from now,” he said.

It’s new territory for Intel, that’s for sure – but it’s also a brand that the mainstream population is familiar with, so we’d expect nothing but success.

It’ll be interesting to see which manufacturers are first to welcome Intel aboard the mobile bandwagon.

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via Intel Android hook-up leads to share price boost – Yahoo! News UK.