Apple to look at launching larger iPads next year

Article

Report: Apple to Launch Huge 12.9-Inch iPad Next Year | Mashable

My Comments

As people see competing manufacturers offer larger mobile devices, Apple is finding it difficult to keep their fanbois loyal to their brand and wanting to flock to their stores at midnight on the day that an iOS product is launched.

They are doing this by showing intent to launch iPhones with larger screens but now they have to achieve this same goal with the iPad. Here, the rumour mills are starting to come alive with talk of a 12.9” iPad which would be close to the size of a small laptop. Part of the game is to court the enterprise market by working with IBM to provide line-of-business apps on devices that are delivered in to large organisations as corporate-owned fleet devices.

Personally, I could see this behaviour replicating what had happened in the early 90s when Apple deprecated the Apple II platform and focused on the Macintosh platform. Here, they could put more energy in to the iOS mobile platform by courting the enterprise market with the “sealed-secure-device” angle that this platform stands for.

It is difficult to determine what role Apple will have for the Macintosh desktop platform as they add larger screens, and improved processing to the iPad to give it some “desktop” abilities and users pair up their iPads with Bluetooth keyboards. This also is true and is symptomatic of a trend where IT device manufacturers “blend” regular-computing and mobile computing abilities in their current and future computing-device designs such as through dual-boot laptops and tablets that run Android or Windows or the race to provide highly-strung processors and graphics chipsets on mobile devices.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

Intel Broadwell to provide real computing power in the size of an iPad

Article

Intel’s Broadwell Chips Will Make Full-Fledged PCs As Tiny As Tablets | Gizmodo

My Comments

Intel Broadwell chipset compared to current Haswell chipset - Press image courtesy of Intel

Intel Broadwell chipset compared to current Haswell chipset

Intel is marching on with chipsets and processors that effectively put a pint in to a teapot when it comes to computing power.

They had done it with the Sandy Bridge, Ivy Bridge and Haswell chipsets based around the Core I series of CPUs and are increasing the power density and ability with the Broadwell Core M series of processors. The goal they are achieving now is to work on a 9mm-thick fanless portable computer design that has the lower power needs and the ability to run cool for a long time without needing a fan while also having improved battery runtime. This is without sacrificing real computing power. These goals have been satisfied using a new microarchitecture along with newer manufacturing processes and is although the fanless goal has been achieved with the Bay Trail and other tablet-specific processors.

9mm fanless tablet concept with regular computing power - Press image courtesy of Intel

9mm fanless tablet concept with regular computing power

This activity is shown up with the latest crop of mobile workstations and gaming laptops like the Dell Precision mobile workstations and the Lenovo ThinkPad W Series mobile workstations, or the Razer Blade and the Alienware gaming laptop that can handle intense graphics, multimedia and gaming tasks, that wouldn’t be traditionally associated with a laptop.

This could effectively mainstream the concept of the ultraportable such as the convertible or detachable tablet and have it as being fit for a lot more computing tasks. Even product classes like the larger Adaptive All-In-One tablets can also benefit from having effectively “more grunt” and those portable computers that are engineered from the outset for performance like mobile workstations or gaming laptops may become lighter or be able to run longer on their own batteries.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

In some areas, a court case may be necessary to encourage innovation

Article

US judge makes Avaya give access to maintenance commands on some PBXes | PC World

My Comments

A recent US District Court (New Jersey) ruling was handed down requiring Avaya to expose maintenance commands for their business phone systems after the jury who heard an antitrust case concerning this company found that they unlawfully prevented maintenance access to these systems for their owners or independent third-party service contractors.

This case was about who can perform repair or maintenance work on IT systems especially where they are becoming more software-defined. The article even mentioned that this is heading out beyond the IT scene towards the maintenance of cars, “white-goods” and similar products especially as more of them have their functionality driven by software.

For example, I know of two friends who have had technicians look at their 30-plus-year-old ovens and the technicians have preferred to keep them going rather than replace them with newer ovens. This is because of issues like continual availability of parts for these stoves and the way that they can be repaired.

Here, it was about who can continue to perform service on the equipment concerned and the availability of the equipment’s owner to gain access to independent experts to keep it going. I see this also opening up doors for third-parties to continue to offer innovative software or other solutions that enhance the equipment or shape it to a user’s needs. This will extend to encouraging the implementation of “open-frame” designs for hardware and software which will push forward a culture of a level playing field and, in some cases, a longer service life for equipment.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

SanDisk raises the bar in small-footprint storage with the 128Gb microSD card

Article

SanDisk unleashes world’s first 128GB microSD card – storage, sandisk, Personal storage peripherals – Computerworld

From the horse’s mouth

SanDisk

Press Release

Product Page

My Comments

128Gb microSD card - courtesy of SanDiskSanDisk has raised the bar with flash-memory storage by releasing the ultra-small 128Gb microSD card at the Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona, Spain. This is seen as providing increased removable secondary-storage for Android or Windows phones and tablets due to its small footprint and is something I would see as important if we carry high-grade music and video files or complicated games on these devices and value the ability to “swap them out” as we see fit.

HP Envy X2 Detachable-Keyboard Hybrid Tablet

Tablets and Ultrabooks could also benefit from increased solid-state storage capacity

But I also see this as being suitable for more than the smartphone or tablet. This capacity is very much equivalent to what is available as a baseline all-SSD storage capacity for Ultrabooks and similar low-profile ultraportable notebook computers which typically run a full Windows deployment. Here, I could see this capacity appeal for smaller Wi-Fi portable NAS devices or it could be an encouragement to increase storage capacity in most dedicated-function devices like printers due to its small size and high capacity. This factor will be underscored for anyone who is working towards an extremely-low-profile design for a device rich in functionality such as the idea of a desktop multifunction printer having the same level of document control as a freestanding enterprise-grade multifunction printer.

Sony WG-C20 mobile NAS - press image courtesy of Sony

Could raise the capacity of these low-profile NAS units very significantly

It also shows that the storage density for flash-based storage applications is increasing which could be a benefit for both fixed and removeable solid-state storage applications. For example, an Ultrabook or tablet could be ending up with 512Gb storage capacity furnished by flash memory rather than the mechanical hard disk as a product option. Or the low-profile Wi-Fi portable “media server” NAS that you take with you could carry your media library with you and serve it to your tablet, Ultrabook or car stereo from a 512Gb solid-state storage.

I would expect a lot more for high-capacity ultra-quick solid-state storage to become the norm for “there-and-then” data storage applications.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

The classes of computers to be blurred–is this the trend?

Article

A dual Windows-Android machine: PC industry savior or non-starter? | Mobile – CNET News

My Comments

Sony VAIO Duo 11 slider-convertible tablet

A computer that slides to become a tablet or laptop

Previously, a computer with a screen greater than 11”, having a physical QWERTY keyboard and running a desktop operating system like Windows, MacOS X or Linux was a separate class of computer from something that had a smaller screen, no physical keyboard and running a mobile operating system.

Now we are starting to see these classes become blurred by the arrival of 7” and 10” tablets running Windows 8.1 on Intel x86 microarchitecture, along with a plethora of ultra-portable laptops with integrated physical keyboards that convert to tablets whether by folding the keyboard under the screen or detaching the keyboard. This is now augmented with a new trend where computers can boot between Windows 8.1 and Android or run both operating systems concurrently; and Android is being ported to work on the classic Intel microarchitecture.

HP Envy X2 Detachable-Keyboard Hybrid Tablet

The HP X2 family – showcasing the trend for a detachable-keyboard tablet computer

What is happening for both consumers and business users is that they will find it hard to determine which kind of computer is exactly the right one for them to use for their needs. Operating systems and baseline hardware configurations may lose their position as a factor for determining a computer’s suitability to a particular task.

Rather I see factors like the screen size which typically affects the computer’s size and form factor; the graphics or audio chipsets; the existence of a physical keyboard and its actual size; as well as the unit’s connectivity, primary RAM and secondary-storage capacity along with the presence and runtime of an integrated battery being what determines the computer’s suitability for particular tasks and operating conditions that a user may put it to.

Sony VAIO Fit 15e on dining table

The 15″ mainstream laptop will still earn its keep as an option for one’s “digital hub”

For example, if you are creating a lot of documents and other textual content, a full-sized physical keyboard would be considered important. Similarly the size of the screen along with the computer’s form factor and the battery integrated in the computer would also affect its portability and suitability to certain tasks.

In a lot of cases, you may end up with multiple devices where each device suits a particular task or activity. For example a 7”-8” tablet that you can stuff in to a coat pocket may come in to its own when you want something that has material you refer to when you are on the road. This is while you keep a 10”-14” ultraportable computer for when you are “doing a bit more” like taking notes or creating content “on the road”; or you may keep a 15”-17” laptop or a larger-screen desktop computer as your “main digital hub”.

Desktops of a sessile nature like traditional 3-piece desktops and “all-in-one” desktops will typically end up just for applications where the computer is used in one place only. Whereas the “adaptive all-in-one” computers of the Sony VAIO Tap 20 ilk, along with 15”-17” high-end laptops will end up for those situations where the computer will be shifted as required.

What will become of this is to look at particular features and the size and form-factor of a computer to rate its suitability for a task you are targeting it at rather than thinking that one computer would suit all your needs.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

USB Type-C to be a no-worries device connection

Articles

Upcoming USB Type-C connector won’t have “right” and “wrong” sides | Gizmag

From the horse’s mouth

USB Promoters’ Group

Press Release (PDF)

My Comments

USB data cable

USB data / power cable to be eventually replaced with the USB Type-C data / power cable with the same plug each end

A new USB equipment connector is in the process of being designed and will be called by the USB Promoters’ Group by the middle of 2014. This is to cater for technology equipment that is becoming smaller and thinner while also allowing for quick worry-free connections.

This connection will be the same size as the existing USB Micro-B connector used on most smartphones or the Apple Lightning Connector that Apple uses on their latest iDevices. This will cater for devices that are acquiring an increasingly-low profile such as the smartphones, tablets or Ultrabooks or even peripherals like some external hard disks and keyboards.

The socket will be designed so that you don’t worry about which way you plug it in and the patch-cords will have the same connection on each end so you don’t have to worry about which end of the cable you are using, in a similar vein to the RCA connections used on most stereo equipment.

Of course, the standard will also define the patch cables that allow you to connect equipment that has the USB Type-C socket on it to equipment that has commonly-available USB connections like the Type A found on computers and USB power supply equipment or Micro-B connections found on the smartphones or USB hard disks.

As we are seeing the USB connection become the universal power-supply connection for many different gadgets. Here, the USB Type-C connection will also allow for scaleable power-supply and charging situations and to provide further support for improved USB bus performance. A commonly-raised question that could surface is the power-supply performance for particular USB patch cables especially as we find smartphones not charging as quickly with some cables compared to others given the same power-supply equipment.

Of course, this will cause a requirement for power-supply standards for mobile devices to be revised because of the current standard supporting only the Micro-B connection on the mobile equipment and Type-A on the power-supply equipment. As well, we will be ending up with USB Type-A to Micro-B and USB Type-A to Type-C as power/data cables for most of our gadgets in the near term.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

Bluetooth 4.1 to support Internet Of Things

Article

Bluetooth 4.1 Will Offer Better Connections | Tom’s Hardware

Bluetooth 4.1 prepares headsets and more to connect to the ‘Net | PC World

From the horse’s mouth

Bluetooth SIG

Press Release

Specification Guide

My Commenbts

Sony VAIO Duo 11 slider-convertible tablet

Sony VAIO Duo 11 with Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity that can be upgraded to Bluetooth 4.1 through a software update

Recently, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group have released the Bluetooth 4.1 specification which is intended to capitalise on the low-power devices application that Bluetooth 4.0 was known for, but improve on useability and reliability.

With Bluetooth 4.0, it allowed the development of low-powered “Bluetooth Smart” devices that work with a “Bluetooth Smart Ready” device like a smartphone or tablet that serves as a hub for these devices.

This is intended to be a software-based upgrade so that an operating system, device firmware or driver software update could bring a Bluetooth 4.0 device up to date to this newer standard. It is compared to previous Bluetooth standards which affected the silicon that was installed in the device.

But what are the improvements?

Reliability

Kwikset Kevo cylindrical deadbolt in use - Kwikset press image

This Bluetooth 4.0-capable smart deadbolt can work with “hub” devices that are updated to Bluetooth 4.1 specification

A Bluetooth 4.1 subsystem can co-exist with an LTE cellular connection used for mobile broadband services without suffering or causing near-band interference which could ruin the user experience. This is catering to the increased rollout of the LTE-based 4G mobile-broadband services by many cellular-telephony carriers, the integration of LTE-based 4G modems in well-bred smartphones and tablets and the popularity of these services amongst users.

This is also augmented by use of longer time windows for inter-device handshaking so that there is less risk of the connections between devices being “dumped” and requiring users to manually pair the devices to each other again. The devices also connect with each other when they are in proximity to each other without extra user intervention beyond just powering-on devices that were powered off.

Functionality

One ability that Bluetooth 4.1 adds to Bluetooth Low Power devices is to support bulk data transfer in this class of device. One commonly highlighted application is for a sensor device to capture data while away from a “hub” device for an amount of time then upload it to the hub device. The situation that is described is someone who uses a heart-rate monitor during a physical activity, especially swimming. Then, after they have completed that activity, they upload the data to their smartphone or tablet which has the fitness-tracking ap.

I also see this as being useful for updating a Bluetooth Smart device’s firmware without the need to connect the device to a computer for this purpose. This could be to add functionality to a device like a smartwatch or improve on a device’s reliability and security.

A smartphone like this one here that has Bluetooth 4.0 hardware support can head towards Bluetooth 4.1 through a software update

A smartphone like this one here that has Bluetooth 4.0 hardware support can head towards Bluetooth 4.1 through a software update

Another ability would be for a device to be both a Bluetooth Smart peripheral device and a Bluetooth Smart Ready hub device. This is obviously targeted at the smartwatches which are effectively the descendents of those 1980s-era many-function digital watches. Here, these devices could serve as an extra display for a smartphone or be a display and data-capture unit for a health monitor or another “key fob” device for the Kwikset Kevo deadbolt.

To the same extent, this functionality could allow for peer-to-peer setup with Bluetooth Smart Ready devices such as a “smartphone and tablet” or “smartphone and laptop” setup; or a quick data share setup between smartphones or tablets to work taking advantage of what Bluetooth Low Energy has to offer. This would lead to increased battery runtime for devices used in these setups.

Extra functionality has been added to the core Bluetooth 4.1 specification to support IP-based high-level data transfer especially to the IPv6 standard. This is essential for integrating Bluetooth devices in the “Internet Of Things” which is about devices beyond regular and mobile computing devices benefiting from the same kind of communication advantages that the Internet has offered.

This is becoming more important where we are seeing sensor and controller devices being part of personal health and wellbeing; and a convenient secure and energy-efficient lifestyle.

Conclusion

Bluetooth 4.1 could be a path for the Bluetooth specification to mature its role in the support of low-power devices whether they integrate with each other or with other so-called full-powered devices especially as the concept of the “Internet Of Things” matures.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

Is the Motorola Project Ara to do to smartphones what the IBM PC did for desktop computers?

Articles

Motorola unveils Project Ara, customizable smartphone effort | CNET

Motorola’s ‘Project Ara’ modular smartphone setup switches out hardware like apps  | Engadget

Project Ara: Motorola Wants to Make Your Smartphone Modular | Mashable

My Comments

The IBM PC of 1981 had not just become the standard for a business-class desktop computer as far as software was concerned but epitonised the concept of a highly-modular hardware design. This was highly evident in the way the computer’s system unit was designed where there were user-upgradeable parts, a concept that was so heavily underscored with the PC/AT “second-generation” design.

Here these computers had a continuous update and upgrade lifecycle where one could install faster microprocessors, highly-capable graphics cards, hard disks of increasing capacity, increased RAM, newer secondary-storage media like backup tapes, 3.5” disks and CD-ROMs  along with various communications devices like modems and network cards. This capability evolved with the ATX form factor along with newer smaller form-factors such as microITX.

In my experience with desktop computers since the early 1990s, I kept “dragging through”components from a previous chassis to a newer chassis to keep them useful and valid while being able to, in some cases, junk dud components like power supplies with nearly-worn-out fans and replace them myself. This has allowed me to maintain a longer service life for my desktop computing experience.and achieve this goal with minimal expense.

Similarly, I have seen most offices equipped with computers that have the “right mix” of software and hardware but where most of the componentry is affordable and the only expensive aspects of the system are components that suit a particular job. For that matter, this modularity opened up the business desktop-computing boom in the late 1980s.

Now Google’s Motorola smartphone arm is bringing this concept to the smartphone in the form of “click-together” components that snap on to a “skeleton” which is similar to a PC’s motherboard. Google wanted to achieve a platform for the hardware like what Android has done for the software. The goal with the Ara platform would be to have user-replaceable processors, displays, keyboards and the like that also allow these phones to work to newer technologies or work to specific needs.

For example, a higher-capacity flash storage could be planted in these phones or a Bluetooth module compliant to the latest Bluetooth specification could come in to play here. Similarly, the cracked screen could be easily replaced with something newer and brighter or an extra switch array could come in to place for one-touch access to functions. A newer sensor could come in to place to allow the phone to measure newer quantities as a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi radio links the phone to the networks.

Of course this will lead to the longer service life for these phones as people “spin them out” further to their ever-changing needs and as technology marches onwards.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

Microsoft takes a snap at Apple in the DJ market with a mixing keyboard for the Surface 2

Article

Surface Remix Project shows a different way to Click In | Tablets – CNET Reviews

Microsoft reveals Surface Music Cover, gives DJs and producers more musical tools (updated) | Engadget

My Comments

When Microsoft presented the next generation of the Surface detachable-keyboard tablets, they presented a large swathe of accessories for these computers.

But they presented an interesting alternative accessory for these computers to make them appeal beyond the business life. Here, they showed a special keyboard which has controls relevant to DJing and audio production where there are sliders for bringing in and out audio tracks as well as a 16-button area for “dropping in” samples in to the mix. This is similar to the special USB keyboards that are sold to various vertical-industry groups but present themselves as USB Human-Interface-Device device-types.

They were showing the concept of what could be done if you had alternative task-specific keyboard layouts for this class of computer such as a piano keyboard for composing and arranging or simply a “hot-button” keyboard for gamers. The concept could be pitched at other detachable-keyboard tablet computers where special-purpose keyboards could be provided as accessories for these computers when they are used for particular tasks.

I also see this as Microsoft’s own effort to make the Windows 8.1 platform, particularly the Surface computers, more legitimate in the fashion-conscious area that is the DJ’s booth or table at the nightclub or bar. But personally, I would like to see Microsoft work with other brands that are “heavyweights” in the DJ scene like Pioneer, Technics and Denon as well as the “big-time” dance-music artists and DJs to raise Windows 8.1’s profile in the dance-music scene, thus working hard to put Apple on notice as the computer brand to be seen with.

It is also showing up that the current generation of small portable computers that run the Windows platform are being considered as highly-capable “pocket-rocket” computers that can suit many different tasks beyond Web browsing, e-mail reading and document creation.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post

At last large-screen OLED displays come to a reasonable price level

Article

Samsung slashes price of curved OLED TV to $8,999 | TV and Home Theater – CNET Reviews

My Comments

Most of you who have a Samsung, LG, HTC or Sony smartphone will be looking at an OLED display as you use these phones. These are self-illuminating solid-state displays that are known to have a wide viewing angle and a very high contrast ratio. Some devices like the Denon CEOL music systems, the Revo Domino Internet radio and some of the high-end broadband routers use a monochrome variant as a display which reminds me of the fluorescent displays commonly used on home-theatre receivers.

But these displays were too costly to implement for a screen area that would typically represent anything from a “coat-pocket” 7” tablet upwards. This would mean that a television based on this technology would be ridiculously expensive to buy.

Now LG and Samsung have increased the manufacturing yield for OLED displays of this area and this has lead to a reduction in the price of these sets that are based on this technology. For example, a Samsung 55” curved OLED “main-lounge-area” TV which was sold at US$14,999 is now selling at US$8,999.

What I see of this is that Samsung, LG and others could also start selling tablets, Ultrabooks, televisions, monitors and similar large-screen devices implementing this kind of technology. Even for that matter, it could also lead to more devices being equipped with the smaller-display-area OLED displays thus making the OLED display become highly ubiquitous.

Send to Kindle

Print This Post Print This Post
Page 1 of 41234»
 
Recent Comments Tags

Sponsors

HomeNetworking01.Info

Latest PDF issue
Homenetworking01.info website reputation