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Consumer Reports: Best cell phone services

Consumer Reports: Best cell phone services | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
The vast majority of people get their cell phone service from one of the four major wireless providers — Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint.
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3 companies—Ting, Consumer Cellular and Republic—were the only carriers in the Consumer Reports' survey to receive the highest marks for value for the money. The lowest ratings for value among contract plans went to AT&T, Sprint and Verizon.

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Rise of the Asian Black Swans - Semiconductor Strategic Inflection Point - Samsung vs. Intel (Chap 4 of 5)

This is part 4 of a 5 part series of presentations on the Strategic Inflection Point of 2017 in the Semiconductor, High Tech and Electronics industries, when S…
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This is part 4 of a 5 part series of presentations on the Strategic Inflection Point of 2017 in the Semiconductor, High Tech and Electronics industries, when Samsung took the top spot in the Semiconductor domain from Intel, it was a surprise to all, even though the indicators started to show in late 2016 that Samsung might take the top slot. It is also an illustrative example of what a Minimum Winning Game is. There are 2 geographical located super user groups that use and apply TRIZ/Systematic Innovation methods, in the industrial, corporate domain, they are located in South Korea and Japan. Case study examples of those applications are illustrated here. I close the presentation with the description of what a Black Swan is and that these two groups, do strongly follow the rules of what it means to be a Black Swan, an Outlier, and will have a significant effect upon those and other industries as a result.

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Intel confirms its new discrete GPU coming in 2020

Intel confirms its new discrete GPU coming in 2020 | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Most recent Intel processors for desktops, laptops, and tablets feature integrated graphics capable of driving 4K displays and maybe even some gaming tasks. But Intel has been beefing up its graphics team recently, and now the company has confirmed recent reports that it plans to launch a discrete graphics card in 2020. The news comes …
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Most recent Intel processors for desktops, laptops, and tablets feature integrated graphics capable of driving 4K displays and maybe even some gaming tasks. But Intel has been beefing up its graphics team recently, and now the company has confirmed recent reports that it plans to launch a discrete graphics card in 2020.  The news comes via a short video posted on Twitter, and while it’s light on details, the company does promise that in 2020 it will “set our graphics free,” indicating that we’ll see a GPU that’s not built into the same silicon as an Intel CPU.  This isn’t Intel’s first foray into discrete graphics solutions. The company launched the Intel i740 graphics card in 1998… but it was a commercial flop and the company scrapped the entire product line not long after that (a small number of i752 cards were released, but Intel canceled the i754 graphics card before it ever launched).  At this point it’s unclear what Intel hopes to bring to the table in 2020. A lot has changed in the past two decades and the discrete GPU space is still dominated by NVIDIA and AMD (which acquired GPU maker ATI). But Intel has also been chugging along all that time pushing more and more advanced features into integrated graphics.  The company also hired former AMD vice president Raja Koduri last year, to head up Intel’s graphics division.  While Intel may be set to start competing directly with AMD in a few years, right now the two companies are partnering in a few interesting ways in an effort to compete with rival NVIDIA.  Intel launched a line of Kaby Lake-G processors with AMD Radeon Vega M graphics instead of Intel UHD graphics this year. And the company’s new Crimson Canyon NUC mini computers feature Intel CPUs and AMD Radeon graphics.  It’ll be interesting to see if that kind of partnership continues once Intel starts offering its own discrete graphics solutions again

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10nm Cannon Lake: Coming to Intel NUC, Officially

10nm Cannon Lake: Coming to Intel NUC, Officially | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
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Intel late on Wednesday formally introduced its Crimson Canyon NUCs based on its 10nm Cannon Lake processors and equipped with AMD’s standalone Radeon 540 graphics chip. The new NUC8i3CY-series PCs are the first systems of their kind (SFF) to use Intel’s CPU made using its 10 nm process technology as well as a discrete GPU on a separate chip.  A retailer specializing on custom-built Intel’s NUC UCFF PCs disclosed virtually all specifications of Intel’s NUC8i3CYSM and NUC8i3CYSN earlier this month, so we already know most of the details regarding the systems. The new NUCs are powered by Intel’s dual-core Core i3-8121U processor that works in tandem with AMD’s Radeon 540 dGPU (codenamed Lexa, based on Polaris architecture, featuring 512 SPs) with 2 GB of GDDR5 memory. The NUCs are outfitted with soldered-down 4 GB or 8 GB of LPDDR4-2666 memory and come with a 1 TB SATA hard drive. Users that want faster storage can install an M.2-2280 SSD with a SATA or a PCIe interface.  When it comes to wireless connectivity, the NUC8i3CY-series UCFF PCs are equipped with Intel’s Wireless-AC 9560 CNVi 802.11ac Wi-Fi + Bluetooth 5 solution that supports up to 1.73 Gbps throughput over 160 MHz channels. As for physical connectors, the NUCs have one GbE, two HDMI 2.0a outputs, four USB 3.0 Type-A ports (one supporting charging), an SD card reader, a TRRS audio connector for headsets, and a digital audio connector for 7.1-channel sound systems.

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SEC has reportedly served Tesla with a subpoena after Elon Musk's take-private tweet

SEC has reportedly served Tesla with a subpoena after Elon Musk's take-private tweet | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Musk publicly floated the possibility of taking the company private in a tweet that sent shares fluctuating and company leadership scrambling.
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The Securities and Exchange Commisison has served Tesla with a subpoena after CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he was considering taking the company private and that he had the necessary funding lined up, according to reports from The New York Times and other outlets published Wednesday.  Earlier reports said the SEChad intensified scrutiny of the automaker after the controversial tweet. A subpoena would be one of the first steps in a formal inquiry.  Shares of Tesla were down 3 percent in afternoon trading, though they moved only a fraction of 1 percent following the Times article.  Representatives of Tesla and the SEC declined to comment to the Times.

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Apple patent suggests multiuser support for Siri in HomePod

Apple patent suggests multiuser support for Siri in HomePod | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
A new Apple patent hints at a multiuser, highly individualized Siri experience on iOS devices and the HomePod, the Cupertino company’s smart home speaker.
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Google Home, Google’s eponymous smart speaker, supports multiple users. So do the devices in Amazon’s Echo lineup. And if a newly granted patent application is anything to go by, Apple’s HomePod might be next.  AppleInsider today spotted an Apple patent –“User profiling for voice input processing” — published by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office that describes how voice recognition could be used to identify a user based on their unique speech pattern, or “voice print,” and how a smartphone or smart device could leverage that information to tailor its behavior.

For example, if you asked a phone with such a system to see your email (“Hey Siri, show me my email”), it would recognize your voice and, as a result, surface only messages from an inbox associated with your profile. Another user would have a different experience — they’d see their messages instead.  The patent goes a step further. The system would learn users’ unique intonations, pronunciations, style of language, device usage patterns, and preferences over time in order to respond to voice commands more quickly and accurately.  As The Verge points out, Siri (Apple’s digital assistant) can already distinguish an iPhone user’s voice from other people, but it doesn’t currently support multiple users. That said, there’s evidence to suggest multiuser support is on the way — in an iOS 11.2.5 beta, developers spotted code strings referencing “custom responses” and support for multiple voices.

There’s no guarantee any of what’s described in the patent will come to pass, of course, but an adaptive, personalized approach to voice recognition might be the key to closing the so-called “accent gap.” Recent studies show that popular voice assistants are up to 30 percent less likely to understand non-American speakers than native-born users, and that the datasets used to train most voice assistants favor speakers from particular regions of the country.  Siri in its current state might not be perfect, but Apple has made inroads to improve it. It recently enhanced the assistant’s ability to recognize local points of interest (POIs), reducing errors for popular places by as much as 48.4 percent. And earlier this year, it brought Siri-powered calling capabilities to the HomePod in private beta and introduced Siri shortcuts, a feature that gives iOS users the ability to create custom voice commands that can connect to any app.  Still, improving Siri’s performance remains a challenge for Apple in part because of the company’s adherence to an offline, on-device approach to machine learning. In July, reportedly in an effort to formulate a clearer development roadmap for the digital assistant, the Cupertino company consolidated its Core ML and Siri teams under a new artificial intelligence and machine learning division headed by John Giannandrea, a former Google executive who joined the company in April.

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Y Combinator will expand to China with Qi Lu as CEO

Y Combinator will expand to China with Qi Lu as CEO | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Y Combinator is planning to launch a startup accelerator in China. YC China will also have its own CEO: artificial intelligence champion Qi Lu. The former Baidu and Microsoft executive will also act as head of YC Research, which will open offices in Seattle.
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Y Combinator is planning to launch a startup accelerator in China. YC China will also have its own CEO: artificial intelligence champion Qi Lu. The former Baidu and Microsoft executive will also act as head of YC Research, which will open offices in Seattle.  “One of the things that Qi and I really bonded over was an interest in AI, ” Y Combinator president and OpenAI co-chair Sam Altman told VentureBeat in a phone interview. “I believe that will be the most important investment thesis of the next decade for software companies, and so I like that he’s focused on that as well.”  Though Y Combinator has a history of working with startups from both the U.S. and abroad, this is its first international expansion. With a history of backing companies like Airbnb, Stripe, Twitch, and Reddit, Y Combinator is one of the best known startup accelerators in Silicon Valley. It‘s also one of the biggest, with nearly 2,000 startups taking part in the accelerator since 2005. Each graduate receives $120,000 in backing and three months of training and prep to scale their businesses.  Lu was hired as Baidu’s COO in January 2017 and led the company’s AI strategy to grow its AI services alongside initiatives like the Apollo autonomous driving system and AI assistant Duer, which is now available on over 100 million devices. In May, Lu stepped down from his position at Baidu for personal and family reasons, a company spokesperson told VentureBeat.

Before his time at Baidu, Lu played a role in the creation of major Microsoft products, including Cortana, and put a deeper emphasis on artificial intelligence.  In a blog post today announcing the news, Atman called China “an important missing piece of our puzzle.”  “YC has been very successful in the world by emphasizing that hackers — not business people — can build the biggest companies. We are confident that with Qi at the helm, YC China will do the same,” Altman said in the blog post.

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NVIDIA's Turing GPUs can process 8K video in real time

NVIDIA's Turing GPUs can process 8K video in real time | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
You and I won't likely be working with 8K video anytime soon, but a lot of the movies and YouTube videos we enjoy are shot in that format. NVIDIA announce
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You and I won't likely be working with 8K video anytime soon, but a lot of the movies and YouTube videos we enjoy are shot in that format. NVIDIA announced that with camera company RED's help, it has solved one of the thorniest problems with 8K. The latest Quadro RTX Turing GPUs will support real-time 8K playback and effects, significantly speeding up workflow for video editors, compositors and colorists. Eventually, the tech will make it possible for the all of us to play videos in 8K glory, once we graduate to supported monitors and TVs. 8K might seem like overkill, but the extra pixels offer more creative choices in post-production. "There's more flexibility for image stabilization, or panning and zooming to reframe a shot without losing image quality in the final [4K] delivery format," wrote NVIDIA. "For visual effects, high resolution can provide more detail for tracking or keying. Downsampling high-resolution video can help reduce noise as well as maintain a high level of quality." It's not just Hollywood studios that shoot 8K, as YouTubers Marques Brownlee and Linus Sebastian both own high-end RED cameras, and Brownlee has even uploaded a few videos in 8K. Right now, most editors must view 8K footage at a reduced resolution because the 35-megapixel images can't be played back in real time without stuttering or dropped frames. Turing takes the load off by handling wavelet decoding and debayering, enabling real-time playback and beyond. "We expect there to be headroom in the decode performance to allow for effects layers as well in real-time, depending on your system specs," said RED CEO Jarred Land. The tech will also make new effects possible, NVIDIA adds. "Editors will gain from new functionality like AI-enabled upscaling, which will let them intermix archival footage or zoom in beyond 8K resolution with the best possible results."  NVIDIA's latest Quadro RTX GPUs with advanced ray-tracing tech cost between $2,300 and $10,000. Land said that 24fps 8K has been tested on the $6,300 P6000, but added "we are confident that the lowest-end Turing will [also] work well." Interestingly, the tech will eventually allow for 8K playback on current-generation cards like the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti. "This is more a code thing than a hardware thing," said Land.

RED also strongly hinted that the new tech will work on NVIDIA's incoming consumer GPUs, too. "The release of this is tied to the new hardware but everyone on NVIDIA will eventually win," said Land. "The story is only half complete ... there are a slew of new 'consumer' NVIDIA cards coming."

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Phone-cracking firm advertises that it can unlock any Apple iPhone

Phone-cracking firm advertises that it can unlock any Apple iPhone | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Israeli security firm Cellebrite claims it can now even unlock iPhones running the very latest version of iOS.

Via Constantin Ionel Milos / Milos Constantin
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As Thomas Fox-Brewster reports at Forbes (danger! there’s an irritating anti-ad-blocker interstitial at the end of that link), Israeli security firm Cellebrite claims it can now even unlock iPhones running the very latest version of iOS.  Forbes was told by sources (who asked to remain anonymous as they weren’t authorized to talk on the matter) that in the last few months the company has developed undisclosed techniques to get into iOS 11 and is advertising them to law enforcement and private forensics folk across the globe. Indeed, the company’s literature for its Advanced Unlocking and Extraction Services offering now notes the company can break the security of “Apple iOS devices and operating systems, including iPhone, iPad, iPad mini, iPad Pro and iPod touch, running iOS 5 to iOS 11.”  Sure enough, a January 2018-dated marketing document from Cellebrite, touting its ability to unlock smartphones and extract data from them, appears to confirm the company has found a method to meddle with iOS 11’s security on the latest Apple devices.  Such a technique has ramifications for all users of Apple products. Because if Cellebrite has found a way to do this, the ability could also potentially be found by others - including law enforcement agencies and dodgy authoritarian regimes.  And if they haven’t discovered how to do it… well, they could always pay Cellebrite to do it for them.  The one thing you can be pretty sure about is that Cellebrite is unlikely to have shared details with Apple. After all, Apple would presumably work quickly to secure any vulnerability, protecting hundreds of millions of its users around the world. And that would simply work against Cellebrite’s business model.

Forbes has also uncovered that the US government has used the phone-cracking technology in a criminal investigation, extracting information from a suspected arms trafficker’s iPhone X.

One interesting aside. Bruce Schneier notes the possibility that whatever Cellebrite has up its sleeve against latest iPhones may “only” stop iOS from preventing you from multiple attempts at guessing an owner’s PIN or password:

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Generational Cycles – Deadhead Stickers On Cadillacs

Generational Cycles – Deadhead Stickers On Cadillacs | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Darrell Mann “I was driving down the San Diego Freeway and got passed by a $21,000 Cadillac Seville, the status symbol of the Right-wing
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“I was driving down the San Diego Freeway and got passed by a $21,000 Cadillac Seville, the status symbol of the Right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie – all the guys with the blue blazers with the crests and the grey pants – and there was this Grateful Dead ‘Deadhead’ bumper sticker on it!”  So said Eagles vocalist and drummer, Don Henley of his 1984 solo single release, ‘The Boys of Summer”. It was the lead single from Henley’s album Building the Perfect Beast, song was released on October 26, 1984 and reached No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US as well as No. 1 on the Billboard Top Rock Tracks chart and number 12 in the UK Singles Chart. The song’s music video won several awards. In 1986, Henley won the Grammy Award for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance for the song. “The Boys of Summer” was ranked No. 416 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. “The Boys of Summer” is also included in The Pitchfork 500, Pitchfork Media’s “Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to Present.” In other words, the song is pretty iconic.  The Henley quote comes from an interview he did with the NME in 1985. He called out the ‘Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac’ lyrics as an example of his generation selling out.  Henley was born in 1947, making him one of the early Baby Boomer generation. When the song was released, Henley was in his late 30s, on the verge of the ‘moralistic’ phase of his generation’s life journey. While clearly a stab at his generation’s selling out of the ideals of their Woodstock/flower-power youth, it more likely served as a signal moment for the next generation, the GenX Nomads. The song was released as the spearhead of this new generation was hitting their peak music-listening years. Punk had happened, and the previous generation of Boomer rock-stars were finding life tough in the new market of Nomad record-buyers. Some Boomers never made the transition. Others, like the Eagles, stuck to their generation. Henley, on the other hand, earned himself a whole career’s worth of credibility with the X’ers. ‘Not selling out’ is one of the main characteristics of Nomads. Henley gave them the ‘proof’ that the Boomers had sold out. The evocative lyric became something that would continue to be quoted for the next twenty years. A living reminder to everyone what the Boomers had done…

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Microsoft’s Halo arcade game is now deployed to Dave & Busters across the US and Canada

Microsoft’s Halo arcade game is now deployed to Dave & Busters across the US and Canada | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Coming to 20 other countries soon
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At E3 this year, Microsoft unveiled a new Halo gameHalo: Fireteam Raven. It wasn’t Halo 6 or Halo: Infinite, but an arcade game set during the events of Halo: Combat Evolved. The game is now available to play across the US and Canada at Dave & Busters.  The game follows a team of Orbital Drop Shock Troopers (ODSTs), as they fight alongside Master Chief on the original Halo ring. The game booth uses a 130-inch 4K screen to allow up to four players to play, manning four turrets in the game console, which allows them to fight across six levels. Players will also be able to log into the game with their gamertag to add their progress on Halo Waypoint.  The games have been installed at Dave & Busters, a chain of arcade restaurants with 117 locations in the US and Canada. Microsoft says that it will roll the game out to 20 additional countries in the next couple of months.

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Amazon launches Auto SDK to bring Alexa to more cars

Amazon launches Auto SDK to bring Alexa to more cars | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Amazon today announced an open source release of the Alexa Automotive Core (AAC) SDK, or Auto SDK, to help automakers integrate Alexa voice control into cars and their infotainment systems, screens often used for navigation, media, or climate control.
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Amazon today announced an open source release of the Alexa Automotive Core (AAC) SDK, or Auto SDK, to help automakers integrate Alexa voice control into cars and their infotainment systems, screens often used for navigation, media, or climate control.  The software development kit is free for download on GitHub and is optimized for bringing Alexa to in-car dashboards to accomplish tasks common with hands-free voice control — like playing music, providing turn-by-turn directions from native navigation systems, helping people find local businesses, and making phone calls.  The Auto SDK will also be able to do things Alexa can do in a smart speaker, such as control smart home devices, check the weather, and launch Alexa skills.  In recent years, carmakers like Ford and Toyota have brought Alexa to some of their popular vehicles, and Alexa skills have been introduced by Mercedes-Benz, Hyundai, General Motors, and others to let you do things like unlock your car door with your smart speaker, but the launch of the Alexa Auto SDK represents the first time Amazon has made a development kit especially for vehicles.  The Auto SDK comes from the Alexa Auto team, which was first formed last year and aims to help Alexa compete with Siri in Apple’s CarPlay, Google Assistant in Android Auto, and SoundHound, whose Houndify platform is being deployed for voice control in Hyundai cars and the Nvidia Drive autonomous vehicle platform.  The team has worked with carmakers like Ford, as well as companies like Anker, whose Roav Viva gadget plugs into a cigarette lighter and brings Alexa into cars without an infotainment console for $50.  The kit was open-sourced in order to make it easier for teams to collaborate with each other and to integrate Alexa into their products, particularly since in-car infotainment centers can vary widely by car brand and country, an Amazon spokesperson told VentureBeat in an email.

As part of a sweeping plan to put Alexa everywhere, Amazon earlier this year introduced a mobile accessory kit to encourage hardware manufacturers to bring Alexa to wearable tech, wireless earbuds, and headphones.  Other kits available to encourage hardware manufacturers to bring Alexa to their products include the Smart Home Skill API for smart home devices, the Gadgets SDK for game companies to make hardware that works with Alexa, and the Alexa Voice Service, the original kit for third-party Alexa integration into devices.  The Auto SDK for infotainment consoles is the most recent step in a broader initiative to bring Amazon’s AI assistant to more surfaces with a visual interface. Since May, Alexa has been introduced in LG televisions and personal computers from HP, Acer, and select other brands, while Show Mode for Amazon’s Fire 10 tablets made its debut in June.

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Hyundai delivers first Kona Electric CUV to Norway, says it has over 20,000 reservations

Hyundai delivers first Kona Electric CUV to Norway, says it has over 20,000 reservations | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
The first boatload of Hyundai Kona Electric has arrived in Norway to be the first vehicles to be delivered to customers outside of South Korea. The relatively affordable long-range EV is already ma…
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The first boatload of Hyundai Kona Electric has arrived in Norway to be the first vehicles to be delivered to customers outside of South Korea.  The relatively affordable long-range EV is already making waves in the popular market for electric vehicles.

Hyundai claims to have accumulated over 20,000 reservations for the new all-electric CUV.   Øyvind Lillestrøm Knudsen, Product manager at Hyundai Motor Norway, said:  “It’s no wonder that KONA Electric wakes up so much demand. This is the first electric car with a sensible price tag that offers both tremendously long range, full range of active safety and a complete multimedia package,”  For some customers, just over 100 to be more precise, the wait is over as the first boatload of Hyundai Kona Electric CUVs arrived at Drammen Harbor this week: Hyundai says that “hundreds of cars” are also coming in other boats with the next one coming in “mid August.”  We reported last month that Hyundai has now produced the first ~2,000 Kona Electric and shipped out the first 1,000 vehicles for exports – keeping the rest for domestic deliveries.  The new Kona Electric compact SUV will be offered in a ‘Short-range’ battery pack option, which consists of a 39.2 kWh battery pack enabling a range of 300 km (186 miles) on a single charge.  That version of the vehicle will also be equipped with a 99 kW permanent magnet synchronous electric motor putting down 395 Nm of torque and a top speed of 167 km/h (103 mph).  But for now, a higher-performance version with a ‘Long-range’ battery pack option is currently in production. Under this configuration, the Kona Electric is equipped with a 64 kWh battery pack, which will enable “nearly 470 km (292 miles) of range,” according to the automaker.  The price of the Long Range version has been released in Norway where it starts at 325.900 kr, which is the equivalent of around $40,000 USD.  It makes the vehicle highly competitive in the market.  Prices and availability haven’t been confirmed for other markets, but it is expected to be available in the coming months. Electrek’s Take: The Kona Electric is an exciting new entry in the EV space due to its price point. It’s likely going to fit the needs of many more people who will now have access to EV ownership.

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Intel plans array of upgrades to stave off AMD data center competition

Intel plans array of upgrades to stave off AMD data center competition | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Intel Corp plans to upgrade its existing chips and combine them with a new memory technology to help stave off competition from Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) and others, its data center chief told Reuters on Monday.
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Intel Corp plans to upgrade its existing chips and combine them with a new memory technology to help stave off competition from Advanced Micro Devices Inc (AMD) and others, its data center chief told Reuters on Monday.   The world’s second-largest chipmaker by revenue has come to rely on the market for data centers - which help power most mobile and Web apps - for growth in recent years as the PC market has stagnated. But the company’s shares dropped 8.5 on July 27, after the data center business missed Wall Street growth targets.  Analysts expect AMD to eat in to Intel’s market share with its planned launch next year of chips with a tiny 7 nanometers between transistors. Intel chips have 14 nanometers between transistors, indicating potentially slower speed. There is some dispute about the measurements, with analysts saying Intel’s numbers are better than headline figures convey, but AMD appears to have secured a lead for 2019.  Moreover, Intel will not launch its own 10-nanometer chips in PCs until late 2019, with server chips coming in 2020.  The Santa Clara, California, company, which for years boasted about its factories’ ability to make cutting-edge chips, has “completely lost control of the narrative” as rivals tout their more efficient plants, said Bernstein analyst Stacy Rasgon, who has a “market underperform” rating on Intel stock.  “They’ve made their bed, now they have to lie in it,” he said on Monday.  Navin Shenoy, Intel’s data center chief and a 23-year veteran of the chipmaker, will lay out Intel’s plans to Wall Street analysts on Wednesday.  His message will be that the data center market is larger and faster-growing than the company previously thought, as he lays out expectations for that market and for the first time reveals Intel’s revenue from fast-growing fields such as artificial intelligence.  While the 10-nanometer chips are expected to give Intel a shot in the arm, they will not start shipping in large volumes until 2020. Until then, Intel believes its earnings growth can outpace the overall market’s growth if the company focuses on improving its existing chips, Shenoy told Reuters ahead of the meeting.  Shenoy, who took over the data center business last summer, said he was surprised by the late July share drop after the second-quarter earnings report. “It wasn’t that long ago that people were asking me how we were going to grow the data center in double digits,” he said, noting that the business grew by 26 percent in the last quarter.  Intel’s plan rests on its ability to “stitch together” its CPUs, the processing brains, with its memory chips, its semi-customizable computing chips and its software offerings. The company also plans to tweak its chips to make them more competitive against offerings from Nvidia Corp for artificial intelligence work. Together they will compete in costs and computing horsepower with rivals’ systems, Shenoy said.  Intel plans to pair a new memory chip technology called Optane with its processors next year, gaining some capability its rivals will not have because Intel has spent the past decade inventing the technology from scratch.  “We’re excited, we’re hungry, we’re ready to compete and we’re ready to get after it,” Shenoy said.

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Foreshadow – Spectre-Style Vulnerability Affecting Intel Chips

Foreshadow – Spectre-Style Vulnerability Affecting Intel Chips | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Researchers discovered another speculative execution side-channel vulnerability, named Foreshadow, affecting Intel CPUs to steal data.
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After the infamous Spectre and Meltdown flaws, once again, Intel CPUs were again threatened by two critical vulnerabilities that allowed hackers to steal data. Together, these vulnerabilities induce speculative execution attack – named Foreshadow – on Intel chips. After the discovery of the flaws, Intel has rolled out patches for them.

Foreshadow – Critical Security Vulnerabilities Threatening Intel CPUs:  Intel has recently rolled out patches for a new Spectre style vulnerability triggering speculative execution side-channel attacks on Intel chips. Two different groups of researchers discovered the vulnerability, named ‘Foreshadow’ (CVE-2018-3615), in January who reported about it to Intel. Like Spectre and Meltdown, Foreshadow also targets the central processing units. But, it appears more significant owing to its robust action that attacks Intel’s Software Guard Extensions (SGX) – a component immune to Meltdown and Spectre.  Researchers have described the vulnerabilities in a separate paper. Intel describes the Foreshadow vulnerability as below.  “Systems with microprocessors utilizing speculative execution and Intel® software guard extensions (Intel® SGX) may allow unauthorized disclosure of information residing in the L1 data cache from an enclave to an attacker with local user access via a side-channel analysis.”   Regarding what is SGX, Intel explains,  “This Intel technology is for application developers who are seeking to protect select code and data from disclosure or modification. Intel® SGX makes such protections possible through the use of enclaves, which are protected areas of execution in memory."

Intel Discovers Two Related Variants:  After the researchers reported Foreshadow to Intel, Intel began investigations over the flaw and found two more related variants, CVE-2018-3620 and CVE-2018-3646. The researchers call these variants as Foreshadow-NG. Whereas, Intel collectively named all three vulnerabilities as L1 Terminal Fault (L1TF). Describing the impact of these two vulnerabilities, Intel states,  “Further investigation by Intel has identified two related applications of L1TF with the potential to impact additional microprocessors, operating systems, system management mode, and virtualization software.”

The researchers explained further about Foreshadow-NG flaws that these flaws pose a risk to the cloud infrastructure as well since they can read the data stored on virtual machines on the third-party cloud. These virtual machines form an important component of popular cloud systems such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon’s AWS.

Moreover, these flaws can even bypass previous countermeasures to combat speculative execution attacks, including Spectre and Meltdown.

Intel confirms that Foreshadow affects all core processors that have SGX enabled (Skylake and Kaby Lake), and that Foreshadow specifically targets Intel processors only.

No Real-World Exploitations Yet:  The good news about these two vulnerabilities is that Intel successfully patched L1TF before an attacker could exploit it. Intel confirms about it in its blog,

“We are not aware of reports that any of these methods have been used in real-world exploits.”Besides, Intel is in the process of releasing patches for the vulnerabilities that should entirely mitigate these L1TF attacks.  Oddly, the number of Intel CPU vulnerabilities reported this year seems continuously increasing. Besides Spectre and Meltdown, TLBleed and Lazy FP State Restore have also posed threat to Intel CPUs. Now, the L1TF flaws simply add more to the count.

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Google is reportedly developing an AI assistant that recommends workouts and meal plans

Google is reportedly developing an AI assistant that recommends workouts and meal plans | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Google is reportedly developing an AI assistant that tracks not just your workouts and activity, but your nutrition.
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Hot on the heels of a report that Apple might be developing a coprocessor for health data analysis, news broke this afternoon of Google Coach, a rumored Google wellness product powered by artificial intelligence (AI).  Fitness will be Google Coach’s bread and butter, Android Police reports. But unlike Google Fit, Google’s activity-tracking platform, it’ll deliver insights proactively, informed in part by calendar appointments, reminders, and logged activities. If you skip a scheduled gym day, for example, it might nudge you to find another time. And if you’re falling short of a fitness goal, it could suggest workouts and routines that would help you achieve it.  Fitness is just one of several domains in Google Coach, apparently. The wellness assistant will keep track of your nutrition and the foods you consume, and use other signals (like location) to make actionable recommendations. At a restaurant, it might point you toward healthier menu items, and before you go grocery shopping, it could email you a weekly meal plan personalized to your schedule.  Google Coach’s suggestions will come in the form of notifications and messages, mostly, but according to Android Police, algorithms will attempt to consolidate multiple ideas in one so as to prevent “notification overload.” The AI-powered assistant will reportedly launch first on smartwatches — live activity tracking will require a Wear OS device — but eventually come to smartphones, set-top boxes, smart speakers, and other devices “in some capacity.”  The idea isn’t a novel one. Startups like Noom leverage AI to analyze diet, weight, and exercise and suggest recipes and workouts. And Vi, a New York-based company that raised $20 million in June, sells earbuds with a conversational running coach who provides feedback in real time.  But if Google Coach ever sees the light of day, it’ll be the Mountain View giant’s most ambitious attempt yet to merge AI with the treasure trove of fitness data wearable devices collect. Google Fit, which launched in 2014, is less a fitness assistant than an aggregator, unifying sensor and activity data from third-party apps and software in a single dashboard.

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ARM promises 15% annual performance increases for laptop CPUs through 2020

ARM promises 15% annual performance increases for laptop CPUs through 2020 | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
ARM projects that its central processing units (CPUs) for always-connected laptops will improve performance at a rate of 15 percent per year through 2020. The company said that chips based on its designs will power ARM-based Windows laptops and other devices (such as Chromebooks), and the performanc…
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ARM projects that its central processing units (CPUs) for always-connected laptops will improve performance at a rate of 15 percent per year through 2020. The company said that chips based on its designs will power ARM-based Windows laptops and other devices (such as Chromebooks), and the performance for the ARM chips could improve at a faster rate than Intel-based Windows laptops.  Ian Smythe, an ARM marketing executive, said in a blog post that the company is positioning itself to gain share against Intel in the always-connected 5G laptop market.

“Over the last five years, advances in ARM technology have brought desktop-class PC performance into our smartphones, fundamentally changing how we use technology in our daily lives,” Smythe said. “This is a direct result of ARM’s annual cadence of introducing new world-class CPU designs, which have delivered double-digit gains every year in instructions-per-clock (IPC) performance since 2013.”  ARM is making the projections based on its designs in progress, as well as expected gains in process technology by its chip manufacturing partners. The company made the projection despite the fact that Moore’s Law, which predicts that the number of transistors on a chip will double every couple of years, is slowing down.  That slowdown comes amid new challenges for the semiconductors needed to handle 5G wireless network processing.  “This is the first time I have been involved in a forward-looking roadmap at ARM,” Smythe said in a press briefing.  Part of the reason for that is ARM’s desire to “develop in the open,” Smythe said.  He said that the latest example of ARM’s improving client CPU performance is the launch of the Cortex-A76 CPU, which is delivering a 35 percent gain in performance compared to the previous generation, without compromising energy efficiency.  ARM expects the first 7-nanometer manufacturing products to be in production later this year, which will give ARM CPUs a performance boost. Looking ahead, ARM foresees improvements in both manufacturing and chip design from now through 2020.

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Size of Semiconductor Acquisitions May Have Hit Limit

Size of Semiconductor Acquisitions May Have Hit Limit | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Richard Platt's insight:

Mega-mergers become less likely because of the high-dollar value of major acquisitions, increasing scrutiny from regulators, rising protectionism among more countries, and growing global trade frictions.

The demise of Qualcomm’s pending $44 billion purchase of NXP Semiconductors in late July along with growing regulatory reviews of chip merger agreements, efforts by countries to protect domestic technology, and the escalation of global trade friction all suggest semiconductor acquisitions are hitting a ceiling in the size of doable deals.  It is becoming less likely that semiconductor acquisitions over $40 billion can be completed or even attempted in the current geopolitical environment and brewing battles over global trade.

IC Insights believes a combination of factors—including the growing high dollar value of major chip merger agreements, complexities in combining large businesses together, and greater scrutiny of governments protecting their domestic base of suppliers—will stifle ever-larger mega-transactions in the semiconductor industry in the foreseeable future.  Figure 1 ranks the 10 largest semiconductor merger and acquisition announcements and underscores the growth in size of these M&A transactions.  Eight of the 10 largest announcements occurred in the last three years with only the biggest deal (Qualcomm buying NXP) failing to be completed.

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What Alexa can and cannot do on a PC

What Alexa can and cannot do on a PC | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Review Among the many vectors for talking to Alexa today, there are differences both glaring and subtle. Alexa in personal computers comes with advantages and drawbacks. Here’s a closer look at what Alexa can and cannot do on an Acer Spin 5, the first laptop with Alexa inside.
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Whatever happened to the days of Alexa just being known as a black cylindrical speaker? Since the introduction of the first Echo in fall 2014, Amazon’s AI assistant has been embedded in a number of places, including car infotainment systems, Alexa smartphone apps, wireless headphones, Echo Show and Fire tablets, Fire TV Cube for TV control, the Echo Look with an AI-powered fashion assistant, and, in recent weeks, personal computers.

Select computers from HP, Acer, and others now make Alexa available to work seamlessly alongside Microsoft’s Cortana well ahead of the Alexa-Cortana partnership for Echo speakers and Windows 10 devices, a project that still has no launch date.

Among the many surfaces that can be used to talk to Alexa today, there are differences both glaring and subtle. Alexa in wireless earbuds, for example, cannot do things like set timers or send messages, and the Echo Show can display visuals when you ask a question.

Alexa in personal computers comes with a set of advantages — like the ability to talk with Alexa hands-free — and drawbacks.

Here’s a closer look at what Alexa can and cannot do on an Acer Spin 5, the first laptop with Alexa inside, made available in June.

What Alexa can do on a PC

Just like wireless earbuds or smart speakers, Alexa on a personal computer can control smart home devices. As of May, Amazon’s Alexa can control more than 12,000 devices from 2,000 manufacturers.

Alexa in the Acer Spin 5 is also able to speak with more than 40,000 Alexa skills to let you play games like Jeopardy! or the Spongebob Challenge, or hear bedtime stories.

And just like the AI assistant is able to do in other devices, Alexa on a PC can tell jokes, show personality, and search Wikipedia for answers to your factual questions about the world.

Alexa on Acer Spin 5 is also able to achieve the imperative task of being able to respond to hands-free voice commands, utilizing four microphones to pick up the sound of your voice from across the room.

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Elon Musk Sends Tesla Board Into Damage Control Mode

Elon Musk Sends Tesla Board Into Damage Control Mode | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Tesla’s board of directors has hired multiple outside law firms, and a number of board members and Tesla employees have urged Mr. Musk to stop posting on Twitter.
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According to reporting from the New York Times - Members of Tesla’s board are scrambling to control a chief executive who some directors think is out of control. Elon Musk, the electric-car maker’s co-founder and chief executive, stirred up a public storm by announcing on Twitter last week that he wanted to turn Tesla into a private company. In recent days, according to people familiar with the matter, some of his fellow board members delivered a stern message: Stop tweeting. Mr. Musk hasn’t heeded that advice. He has continued to post messages on Twitter, publicly plotting the company’s strategy and in some cases making assertions of dubious accuracy. That has only added to the chaos engulfing the struggling company.  Tesla’s board members are also racing to inoculate themselves from the possible fallout from Mr. Musk’s public statements. While it’s standard for boards to retain lawyers to counsel them on complicated matters, Tesla’s outside directors have hired two law firms to represent them. The independent directors retained Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison to help deal with a Securities and Exchange Commission inquiry related to the posts, which is at an early stage but which directors expect could intensify into a full-blown investigation, one person said. And three of those directors have separately hired the law firm Latham & Watkins to advise them as they consider any proposal by Mr. Musk to take the company private.

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Integrated circuit scaling to 10 nm and beyond - Mark Bohr, Intel Senior Fellow

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Scaling transistors and following Moore’s Law have served our industry well for more than 50 years in providing integrated circuits that are denser, cheaper, higher performance, and lower power. Despite occasional reports of its demise, Moore’s Law is alive and well. We’ve continually invented new materials and new device structures to deliver the expected benefits of scaling, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future. This presentation describes Intel’s latest 10 nm logic technology and some of the device options being explored in research for future scaling. Presented on January 25, 2018, by alumnus Mark Bohr (MSEE '78), Intel Senior Fellow and Director of Process Architecture and Integration, at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign as part of the 2018 Distinguished Colloquium series.

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Analysts Confirm Half a Billion Zigbee Chipsets Sold

Analysts Confirm Half a Billion Zigbee Chipsets Sold | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
ON World confirmed that half a billion Zigbee chipsets have been sold to date.
Richard Platt's insight:

The Zigbee Alliance, an organization of hundreds of companies creating, maintaining and delivering open, global standards for the internet of things (IoT), reports findings from market research firm ON World project a favorable market for connected devices leveraging Zigbee Alliance technologies over the next five years.  ON World confirmed that half a billion Zigbee chipsets have been sold to date. Their analysts predict that 802.15.4 mesh chipset sales will skyrocket to 4.5 billion by 2023, with the majority of those being based on Zigbee Alliance technology standards.

Estimates state Zigbee Alliance technologies will account for 3.8 billion (85%) of the 4.5 billion IEEE 802.15.4 units projected to ship by 2023.  “ON World findings indicate Zigbee leads the wireless mesh sensor network market and will continue to do so.”

Key points and projections from the report include:

  • half a billion Zigbee chips have been sold to date;
  • by 2023, 1 billion Zigbee chips will ship annually worldwide;
  • by 2023, 4.5 billion cumulative IEEE 802.15.4 mesh devices will be sold worldwide—and 85% of those will use Zigbee Alliance standards; and
  • Zigbee makes up more than one-third of the smart home Wireless Sensor Network (WSN) chipset market.
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Why Starbucks Failed In Australia

Starbucks can be found all over the world, from Shanghai to Guantanamo Bay. But there is one continent that was uninterested in the coffee giant
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Starbucks can be found all over the world, from Shanghai to Guantanamo Bay. But there is one continent that was uninterested in the coffee giant. Australians largely rejected Starbucks' attempted takeover, which led to an embarrassing retreat for the brand.

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Boeing Invests in Another Metal 3D Printing Company

Boeing Invests in Another Metal 3D Printing Company | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Boeing HorizonX Ventures invests in Digital Alloys, creator of Joule Printing.
Richard Platt's insight:

Boeing made another investment in metal additive manufacturing, with the intent of producing higher volume of multi-metal parts faster.  Boeing HorizonX Ventures invested an undisclosed amount in Digital Alloys, which created Joule Printing, a metal additive manufacturing technology that uses metal in wire form and high deposition rates to produce the parts. The investment was part of a $12.9 million Series B financing led by G20 Ventures and included other companies. Boeing and Digital Alloys did not disclose the exact investment but Boeing said it “was a minority investor in this round.”  Digital Alloys holds two patents for Joule Printing, which can use multiple metals into a single part. This could enable new parts designs and improved thermal, electric and mechanical properties. This printing process is “similar to resistive welding and does not result in fully melting the material through external energy sources like lasers, e-beams, or electric arcs. As such, it has the potential to print alloys that have been a challenge with existing printing techniques, but with less energy and a lower machine complexity,” says Boeing. Joule Printing solves “three big problems that are gating the use of metal printing and production:” production costs, printing speeds and complexity, says Duncan McCallum, Digital Alloy’s CEO.

The lower costs are possible due to less raw material wasted because “virtually all of the wire used goes into the part,” says McCallum.   Unlike thermal time constraints with power-based additive manufacturing, with Joule, “We’re touching the wire to the part and we’re melting the wire by putting current through the part, so it’s like a coil in a toaster. The benefit of that approach is that the current is inside the wire so it’s heating the wire from within,” says McCallum. This allows the process to be faster.  The company’s goal by the end of the year is to print at a rate of 5-10 kg per hour, depending on the metal. It’s printing titanium at 0.5 kg per hour and tool steel at about 1 kg per hour.  In addition to Digital Alloys, this year Boeing also has invested in Morf3D, another metal-based additive company, and launched a five-year collaboration with Oerlikon to create standard titanium additive manufacturing processes. Boeing says these activities “will ultimately help us build and scale our capabilities to print metal aerospace parts that meet Boeing’s stringent safety requirements.”

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Google Next 2018: A deeper dive on AI and machine learning advances

Google Next 2018: A deeper dive on AI and machine learning advances | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
Google Cloud announcements bring deep learning and big data analytics beyond data scientists, but enterprises will want more.
Richard Platt's insight:

If last week's Google Next 2018 event is any indication, Google Cloud is growing quickly. Registrations for the July 23 to July 26 event topped 25,000, and actual attendance easily doubled the 10,000 at Google Next 2017. That's good, but if this public cloud is going to catch up with also-fast-growing rivals Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure, Google is going to have to play to its strengths.  From my perspective, Google's biggest appeals to big businesses are its deep learning (DL), machine learning (ML), and data platform capabilities (though I'm biased and my Constellation colleagues who follow G Suite and the rest of Google Cloud Platform (GCP) cloud infrastructure might see it otherwise). Among the many announcements at Google Next 18, the biggest steps forward -- and the ones I see as most likely to accelerate growth -- were those aimed at expanding the use of Google's DL, ML, and data platform capabilities. Here's a closer look.

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AMD's 12 Core 1920X Gets Insane Price Cut Down to $249 - Inventory Runs Out Within Hours

AMD's 12 Core 1920X Gets Insane Price Cut Down to $249 - Inventory Runs Out Within Hours | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
AMD appears to have taken an axe to the price of its 1st generation 1920X Threadripper CPU, delivering the most insane CPU clearance deal we have ever seen, no doubt in preparation for the impending arrival of its 2nd generation Threadripper processors next Monday. AMD’s 12 Core Ryzen Threadripper 1920X Leads Amazon’s Best Sellers List …
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AMD appears to have taken an axe to the price of its 1st generation 1920X Threadripper CPU, delivering the most insane CPU clearance deal we have ever seen, no doubt in preparation for the impending arrival of its 2nd generation Threadripper processors next Monday.

AMD’s 12 Core Ryzen Threadripper 1920X Leads Amazon’s Best Sellers List Momentarily as Insane $249 Clearance Deal Takes Effect

The 1920X took the number one spot on Amazon’s best sellers list in the processors category just yesterday as it saw its price drop by more than half in perhaps the craziest CPU clearance deal we have ever seen.  If you told anyone last year that they would be able to buy a brand new 12 core CPU for less than $250 they would’ve nodded politely and taken you to a psychiatrist, thinking you were absolutely bonkers. But no, you’re not crazy and it actually happened. Inventory in fact didn’t last more than a day, but does that really surprise you?

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Intel sold $1 Bln of Artificial Intelligence chips in 2017

Intel sold $1 Bln of Artificial Intelligence chips in 2017 | Internet of Things - Company and Research Focus | Scoop.it
SANTA CLARA, Aug 8- Intel Corp on Wednesday said it sold $1 billion of artificial intelligence processor chips in 2017, the first time the world's.
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Intel Corp on Wednesday said it sold $1 billion of artificial intelligence processor chips in 2017, the first time the world's second-largest chipmaker disclosed revenue from the fast-growing computing segment that has fueled sales expansions at rivals such as Nvidia Corp.  As PC sales have stagnated, Intel has increasingly been depending on its sales to data centers, which provide behind-the-scenes computing power for mobile and web-based apps. Those apps, in turn, rely on artificial intelligence for features like photo and speech recognition.  At an event for Wall Street analysts at Intel'sSanta Clara, California headquarters to explain its strategy, Navin Shenoy, its data center chief, said the company has been able to modify its CPUs to become more than 200 times better at artificial intelligence training over the past several years. This resulted in $1 billion in sales of its Xeon processors for such work in 2017, when the company's overall revenue was $62.8 billion.  "The step-function increase in performance led to a meaningful business impact for us," Shenoy told the audience.  Naveen Rao, head of Intel's artificial intelligence products group, said the $1 billion estimate was derived from customers that told Intel they were buying chips for artificial intelligence and from calculations of how much of a customer's data center is dedicated to such work. "Honestly, it's probably a lot higher. We left a lot on the table because we wanted to be conservative," Rao told Reuters in an interview.

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