Flash 10.1 is expected to be available as a public beta for Google Android and Nokia’s Symbian OS in early 2010. Developer betas of the browser-based runtime will be available for Windows Mobile and Palm webOS later this year. No date was given for BlackBerry devices.

Adobe said that the new mobile version of Flash offers accelerated video and graphics capabilities while conserving battery life. The new player offers streaming video in HD and browser-based Web applications.

“With Flash Player moving to new mobile platforms, users will be able to experience virtually all Flash technology based Web content and applications wherever they are,” said David Wadhwani, general manager and vice president, Platform Business Unit at Adobe. “We are excited about the broad collaboration of close to 50 industry leaders in the Open Screen Project and the ongoing collaboration with 19 out of the top 20 handset manufacturers worldwide. It will be great to see first devices ship with full Flash Player in the first half of next year.”

Of course the obvious missing 1 of “19 of 20 top handset manufacturers worldwide”  is Apple’s iPhone, left from this announcement.

[via Engadget ↓]

Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together? You betcha. After catching an up close and personal glimpse at ASUS’ dual panel touchscreen concept at CeBIT this past March, we soon forgot Asus even had such a beast in the R&D lab. Just over a week ago, however, all those fond memories came rushing back with an off-the-wall rumor that the company just might push out an Eee-book-reader later this year. Fast forward to today, and the Times Online has it that such a device is very real, and it should be out and about before the year’s end. 

According to president Jerry Shen, the Eee Reader will become the planet’s cheapest e-book reader, though a premium model could also be launched to satisfy those craving higher-end features — probably amenities like inbuilt 3G, a web browser and expandable storage. The dual screen form factor would enable users to read books as books were intended to be read, or they could use the secondary panel to surf the web, type on a virtual keyboard or whatever else ASUS dreams up. We’re told that the firm is aiming for the £100 ($163) mark on its low-end model, and based on the affordability of its Eee PCs, we’d say it’ll probably get awfully close.

[via Engadget ↑]

Posted by: Will | September 3, 2009

AT&T Launches iPhone MMS Sept. 25th

AT&T just told the world that they are planning a launch of MMS capability towards iPhones Sept. 25th. This is a little later than anticipated being AT&T was supposed to enable MMS earlier this summer. AT&T also said they still have ” no set date” for tethering capabilities. The MMS capability will come via an update for the iPhone 3G and 3GS.

“An Update on iPhone MMS for our Mobility Customers

We know many of our iPhone customers are eager for an update on our rollout schedule for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS). We’ve been working for the past several months to prepare our systems and network to ensure the best possible experience with MMS when it launches – and that launch date is: September 25 for iPhone 3G and 3GS customers. MMS will be enabled through a software update on that day.

We know that iPhone users will embrace MMS. The unique capabilities and high usage of the iPhone’s multimedia capabilities required us to work on our network MMS architecture to carry the expected record volumes of MMS traffic and ensure an excellent experience from Day One. We appreciate your patience as we work toward that end.

We’re riding the leading edge of smartphone growth that’s resulted in an explosion of traffic over the AT&T network. Wireless use on our network has grown an average of 350 percent year-over-year for the past two years, and is projected to continue at a rapid pace in 2009 and beyond. The volume of smartphone data traffic the AT&T network is handling is unmatched in the wireless industry. We want you to know that we’re working relentlessly to innovate and invest in our network to anticipate this growth in usage and to stay ahead of the anticipated growth in data demand, new devices and applications for years to come.

We thank you for your business and look forward to keeping you updated on our initiatives.”

(Source PC Magazine http://bit.ly/YLnvx ↓)

Apple has approved an app for Vonage’s VOIP technology, Vonage announced on Tuesday.

In a tersely worded statement, Vonage said that its mobile application had been approved for the iPhone as well as the iPod touch.

“Vonage is currently conducting a beta test and general availability will be announced at a later date,” the company said.

Vonage did not disclose what the app will actually do. Apple has rejected apps before that compete with its own services, but has approved VOIP apps that place calls on Wi-Fi.

Vonage already provides voicemail transcription with some plans, and will email audio recordings of voice mails to a selected email address. It wasn’t clear if the app will simply perform these functions, or allow users to place calls.

Voange has experimented before with peripherals that allow users to take calls on the road. Amazon.com, for example, still sells the Vonage V-Phone, a USB drive that gives a laptop or PC VOIP functionality. But the V-Phone has largely disappeared from the Vonage Web site, as has Vonage Talk, a click-to-call functionality that integrated with Microsoft Outlook.

IBM’s Hot Chips presentation on its forthcoming 45nm POWER7 server processor had a wealth of information on the chip, which, at 1.2 billion transistors and 567mm2, is actually quite svelte considering what it offers. The secret is the first use of a special cache technology that IBM has been touting since 2007, but more on that in a moment.

POWER7 will come in 4-, 6-, and 8-core varieties, with the default presumably being the 8-core and the lower-core variants being offered to improve yields. Each core features 4-way simultaneous multithreading, which means that the 8-core will support a total of 32 simultaneous threads per socket. POWER7 is designed for multisocket systems that scale up to 32 sockets, which means that a full 32-socket system of 8-core parts would support 1024 threads.

Feeding eight cores in a single socket is quite a challenge, which is why each POWER7 has a pair of four-channel DDR3 controllers that can support up to 100GB/s of sustained memory bandwidth. Also helping the situation is a whopping 32MB of on-die L3 cache—IBM was able to cram this much cache on there by using a special embedded DRAM (eDRAM) design that cuts the transistor cost of its large cache pool roughly in half.

To see how dramatic the transistor savings are this eDRAM cache scheme, compare the 8-core, 32MB-cache POWER7’s 1.2 billion transistor count with the 2 billion transistor count of the 4-core, 30MB-cache “Tukwila” Itanium from Intel. Sure, POWER7’s eDRAM is almost certainly a bit slower than Tukwila’s SRAM, but in today’s power-sensitive age that level of transistor savings is impressive. Also consider how POWER7 stacks up to the eight core Nehelem EX, which has 24MB of cache and weighs in at over 2.2 billion transistors; again, IBM did more with less.

power7_ars.jpg

Note that the four-way SMT design is another trick that helps with problem of feeding all that hardware by acting as a latency-hiding mechanism for each core’s back end. If one thread stalls waiting on memory, the core can (ideally) find instructions from another running thread to feed to the execution units in order to keep them busy. This bandwidth issue is probably one reason behind IBM’s decision to go with such a high level of SMT.

Speaking of a POWER7 core’s back end, each core contains a very robust suite of execution resources. There are 12 execution units in total, broken down as follows:

  • 2 integer units
  • 2 load-store units
  • 4 double-precision floating-point units
  • 1 branch unit
  • 1 condition register unit
  • 1 vector unit
  • 1 decimal floating-point unit

Those of you who’ve read my past microprocessor articles or my book will know what most of the above units are for, with the possible exceptions of the PPC-specific condition register unit (that was present on the 970) and the decimal floating-point unit, which accelerates math functions commonly found on mainframe workloads.

My only real comment about the above is that four DP floating-point units is a lot of floating-point power. This makes sustained streaming bandwidth from memory critically important for POWER7’s FP performance, so it’s a good thing that it has plenty of it.

I’m told that the POWER7 continues the “group dispatch” scheme that has been a part of the POWER line since the POWER4 days. I described in detail how this works in my first article on the PowerPC 970 (a.k.a., G5)—in a nutshell, it cuts down on the amount of bookkeeping logic needed to track in-flight instructions by dispatching and tracking the instructions in bundles. On the POWER4 and 970, instructions dispatched from the instruction queue to the back end in bundles of 5 each, but the dispatch groups have now been widened to 6 slots.

In all, IBM has produced a very impressive 32-thread monster of a chip with a ton of cache and plenty of memory bandwidth, and done so with half the transistors of the competition. This is quite an achievement, and it reiterates just how strong IBM remains in the very lucrative mainframe market.

Posted by: Will | September 1, 2009

Ebay Said To Have Deal To Sell Skype

According to NYtimes and Mashable, Ebay is said to have acquired a deal with private investors to sell its VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol)  service Skype. The investment group is known as Andreessen Horowitz venture Capital Firm, co-founded by Netscape’s founder Marc Andreessen. The deal terms are not yet disclosed. eBay has said it wants around $2 billion for Skype, which is on track to take in more than $600 million in revenue this year.

eBay acquired Skype in 2005 , outbidding Google and Yahoo in a deal that is viewed as one of the worst technology transactions of the decade. eBay later wrote down $900 million of Skype’s value, after it became clear that the company was bit a good fit with eBay’s main e-commerce and online business.

Lat month, eBay had negotiated with Google over buying Skype, according to a person who was briefed on those discussions. But Google finally walked away from the deal worrying that continued litigation could leave it vulnerable to immense damages.

Google also feared that owning Skype mat also alienate wireless carriers, which offer their customers phones running Google’s Android Software.

In an investors report, Gene Munster, senior research analyst with Piper Jaffray, takes on 14 “unanswered questions” that surround Apple. These questions concern the future of Apple’s agreement with AT&T and Apple’s history with other wireless carriers around the world, supporting only one in each country. These questions also concern the future of iTunes, and the marketplace.

“For various reasons the company moved from an exclusive relationship with French wireless carrier Orange to a multi-carrier model,” Munster said. “In France, the company now enjoys dramatically higher market share (in the 40 percent range vs. about 15 percent in ROW) than in countries with exclusive carrier agreements (such as AT&T in the U.S. where the iPhone has market share in the mid-teens). We believe Apple is seeing the increased unit sell-through more than offset the slightly (~10 percent) deteriorated economics per unit involved in non-exclusive agreements.”

With the iPhone 3GS running low on stock because of demand,  The Piper Jaffray report states that the new iteration of the iPhone “seems to have exceeded Apple’s internal expectations.” Additionally, Munster does not believe Apple will offer another model below the $99 iPhone 3G with a cheap, mass-market device. Noting that $10 basic phone models dominate markets like India, he said Apple would likely pass on that segment of the market.

Many believe that Apple may abandon the AT&T only deal, being currently iPhone sales “mid-teens” market share in the US. Others say that Apple will look towards Verizon in the future, since Verizon is currently setting up their own 4G network, and plans for a launch of early 2010.

Although the fields on this map may seem minuscule, a better perspective: the largest field in the US IS larger than Long Island, NY; another perspective, the length of this field is almost equivalent to  the distance between SF and LA in California.

Resellers of Apple iPods have apparently run low on stock, and have been told to discontinue all selling of  current generation iPods. This has been seen in the past, being seen right before an Apple music event. Supposedly (normally occurs), this is where the next generation of iPods will be announced with cameras Wed. September 9th.

ipodcamera

Posted by: Will | August 28, 2009

Dual Screen Laptops, The Pros and Cons

Very recently, a rumor has been hitting the internet by storm, but soon enough it was confirmed by credible sources, dual screen laptops in the making. (Credible Sources Include, Gizmodo, Arstechnica, Technorati, Digg)

One of the first photos of the gScreen Spacebook

At first this seems like a very cool concept. Having a larger workspace on the go is a major +1, and being able to fold the screens into one and other when you don’t need them both is also an advantage. But just thinking a little how this could be possible, here is where the cons are. Having two 15.4″ Monitors, both active will add a considerable amount of weight to the computer, possible double the normal standard weight of laptop computing. Another almost obvious con is power consumption between the two monitors. While both of these are active, they will suck up a blaring amount of energy and destroy the batteries considerably fast.

But there is a way around the battery problem, but it comes with a “heavier” price, larger batteries = more weight. At this point the laptop can barely be considered portable, and a huge monstrosity to bear. At some point in time we will be able engineer better batteries, more lightweight, for these type of laptops, but for now it is just inconvenient. When this time comes, we will see a considerable increase in the abundance of this machine, and maybe accompanied by stronger hardware within.

Although all of the cons, this monster isn’t cheap…it has an estimated price tag of $3000 (£1,835)

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